Twp. Committee Approves Third Liquor License
Could take several months to send the license out for bid.
The Chatham Township Committee unanimously approved an ordinance creating a third liquor license on final reading Thursday.
By state statute, municipalities can create and bid one consumption liquor license per 3,000 residents. The township currently has a population of about 10,000 people and two consumption licenses.
"We have vacancies up in Hickory Tree [Shopping Center]," Township Mayor Nicole Hagner said. "This is just one additional thing [to help] support local businesses."
Township Attorney Carl Woodward said the township can draw up specifications for bidders before the license goes out for public bid, including necessary qualifications for the business such as minimal distances from schools and places of worship.
Woodward said it could take up to several months before the license is ready for public auction.
The committee can also determine a minimum bid amount for potential bidders. Woodward said "several hundred thousand dollars" was not unusual, and he had seen licenses sell for as much as $1 million.
Should the committee not like any of those who bid on the license, Woodward said they "can always reject all bids and put the license out to auction again. ... You reserve that right."
Also by state statute, the township is allowed to raise the annual cost of each liquor license by 20 percent, up to $2,500, according to Township Clerk Greg LaConte.
The ordinance amendment included an increase in the annual fees for both consumption and distribution (retail) liquor licenses, from $1,596 to $1.915 for consumption licenses and from $600 to $630 for retail licenses.