A remonstrance is the opportunity for the public to voice a formal objection to either a new liquor permit application or the renewal of an existing liquor permit within their town. A remonstrance requires the submission of a petition to Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division. If the petition meets the standards required by statute (discussed in detail below), a hearing before the Liquor Control Commission is scheduled. The remonstrants may testify and submit evidence demonstrating why the permit application or renewal should be denied. After the hearing, the Commission will write a decision that explains their determination of whether to grant the remonstrance or grant the permit.
To trigger the remonstrance process, one person must decide to be the “agent” and organize the petition. The petition must be submitted in writing. It must state the business address and the name of the business or permittee. It must explain why either: (1) the person applying for the permit or currently holding the permit is unsuitable to have a liquor permit and/or (2) why the proposed or existing location is unsuitable for a liquor permit.
The agent must obtain the signatures of a minimum of 10 residents of the town where the proposed or existing liquor premise is located. These residents must be at least 18 years of age. The residents must include their name, address, age, telephone number, and signature. The remonstrance agent should also include their name, address, email address, and telephone number so that the Department can communicate about the status of the petition.
IMPORTANT: The signatures must be on the same page or otherwise immediately adjacent to the business information and reasons for the remonstrance. In other words, each page containing signatures must state the location and reasons for the objection. The signatures cannot be on a separate page that is then attached to the petition. You may submit as many pages of your petition as you need. Here is an example format:
The remonstrance petition must be submitted on-line. You will upload a scanned or photographed copy of your written petition as part of the online submittal. You may follow these instructions to submit online and email DCP.LiquorControl@ct.gov with any questions.
Reasons for a Petition
As described above, the remonstrance must describe how the business’ location or permittee are unsuitable for a permit. Examples of such reasons, except for grocery store beer permits, may include:
- Premise is located close to churches, schools, or charitable institutions and will have a negative impact on their operations;
- Premise will have a negative impact on a neighborhood;
- The number of other permitted premises in the area is such that adding an additional permit is detrimental to the public interest;
- The business has been conducted in a lewd, disorderly or disruptive manner;
- The business does not have a right to operate in the premise; or
- Any other reason as described by state or federal law that justifies refusal of a permit.
For new applications, the public is made aware of the application and date to submit a remonstrance by the mandatory public announcement in the local newspaper and the placard posted outside the premises during the application process. Note that the date to submit a remonstrance is longer than the time that the placard must be posted.
For renewal applications, there is no public notice. Liquor permits are renewed annually and the remonstrance objecting to the renewal can be filed at any time up to at least 21 days prior to the permit renewal date. (For example, if the permit expires on January 31st, the petition should be filed by January 9th.) The public may check the expiration date of any permit by visiting https://www.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx.
After receiving a remonstrance petition, a Liquor Control Agent will call at least 10 of the people who signed the petition and verify that they intended to support the remonstrance. Once 10 signatures are verified, the agent will prepare a short report that describes the licensing history of the business that is the subject of the remonstrance and briefly summarize the concerns raised by the remonstrance. The Liquor Control Agent will not take a position about whether or not the remonstrance should be granted.
The report will be forwarded to the Department’s Legal Division for the scheduling of a hearing before the Liquor Control Commission. The Legal Division will communicate with the remonstrance agent about the hearing and provide full information about the hearing. The hearing will be held electronically via the Microsoft Teams platform. The remonstrance agent is responsible for logging into the hearing and coordinating any evidence and testimony. The remonstrance agent may share the link to the hearing with whoever is interested in watching or participating in the hearing.
At any time prior to the Liquor Control Commission issuing a decision, a remonstrance may be withdrawn by the remonstrance agent. At that point, the Department may cancel the hearing or take steps to withdraw the case.
Recent Remonstrance Decisions by the Liquor Control Commission
Memoranda are listed in descending order, with most recent decisions listed first.