By Jill A. Gautreaux

Some exciting news for liquor license holders in the City of New Orleans! Effective August 27, 2018, the City of New Orleans (“City”) has transferred the administration of liquor licenses from the Department of Revenue to the Department of Safety and Permits in an effort to streamline the permitting process.  Years ago, the City created the “One Stop Shop”, which consolidated the permit application process to a single outlet.  Prior to the creation of the “One Stop Shop”, applicants for building or business permits would be required to coordinate between several departments within the City, and often within the Department of Safety and Permits itself, in order to obtain necessary approvals for certain building, zoning, or business applications.  The One Stop Shop created a more user-friendly department wherein applications were submitted for intake, and the City undertook the task of routing the application to the various departments required approval the application.  The creation of the One Stop Shop alleviated some of the frustrations expressed by prospective licensees.  Nevertheless, the Department of Revenue maintained control of the liquor licensing process, requiring applicants to obtain building permits, zoning actions, occupational and other licenses from the Department of Safety and Permits, but work with the Department of Revenue for its liquor licenses.

Last spring, the New Orleans City Council ordered that the liquor licenses be administered by the Department of Safety and Permits instead of the Department of Revenue.  Several City Council members cited complaints from constituents regarding the inefficiencies in the licensing process as the reason for the change.

The Department of Safety and Permits has already revised the liquor license application to provide for an alternative “short form” application that eliminates most information duplicative of the State Alcohol and Tobacco Control application.  The Department of Safety and Permits also plans to promulgate regulations to clarify and document some of the policies previously unwritten yet practiced by the Department of Revenue.  We will provide an update when new regulations are promulgated.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the new licensing process, please do not hesitate to contact me.