Frequently Asked Questions


These are ABC's most frequently asked questions about:

Q. 40. May any person protest the issuance of a license?

A. Yes. Any person may protest the issuance of a license. The protestant must file a written protest within 30 days of either: whichever is later.
If a retail license application has been protested and the Department has recommended approval of the license, ABC may issue an Interim Operating Permit upon the applicant's written request.
If an application is withdrawn because of a protest being filed, an applicant may not refile an application at the same premises for one year, and all protests remain valid for one year against any subsequent applications filed by other persons at the premises.
(Sections 24013, 24013.1, 24013.2, and 24014)

Q. 41. What are some grounds for protest or denial?

A. Some grounds for protest or denial of a license are:

  • (a) Applicant is not qualified. For example, the applicant falsified his application, has a disqualifying police record, has a record of chronic insobriety, is not the true owner, or is not at least 21 years of age, and/or
  • (b) Premises is not suitable. For example the premises is too close to a school, church, hospital, playground, nonprofit youth facility or residence and would disturb the facility or resident; the premises is located in a high-crime area and does not serve public convenience or necessity; the applicant does not have legal tenancy; the license would create a public nuisance; zoning is improper for alcohol sales.

License conditions are special restrictions placed on a license. Conditions may limit the hours of alcohol sales, the type of entertainment allowed or other aspects of the business. Conditions may eliminate the need to deny a license or may cause a protestant to withdraw his protest.
(Sections 23958, 23958.4, 23790 and 23800)

Q. 42. Must a protest from a city council or board of supervisors or local public official state a legal ground for denying an application?

A. Yes. ABC's policy is one of cooperating fully with local officials, but the law requires legal reasons for requesting a denial.
(Section 23988 and Government Code Section 11504)

Q. 43. When may a protest be made?

A. At any time within 30 days of any of the following:

  • The first date of posting the premises with the notice of intention to sell alcoholic beverages.
  • The first date of posting the premises with the notice of application for ownership change.
  • The date of mailing the notice of application to residents within 500 feet of the proposed premises. (Section 24013)

Q. 44. If a valid protest is made to the issuance of a license, will a hearing be held and, if so, where?

A. Ordinarily a protest hearing will be held. It will be held in the county seat of the county in which the premises is located. However, if an official protest is made by the governing body of a city, the hearing shall be held within such city.
(Section 24300 and Government Code Section 11508)

Q. 45. If my application is protested, how long will it take for me to open my business ?

A. Protested applications can take up to 95 days or longer. However, if ABC has recommended approval of the license, the applicant may petition for an Interim Retail Permit. This allows the business to operate pending the protest hearing and any appeal. The fee for the permit is $100. It is good for up to 120 days subject to renewals. There is no property right in the permit.
(Section 24044.5)