In High Spirits

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(In High Spirits)

City Council decision waives costly liquor license fees for veterans’ organizations

On Tuesday, at Hemet City Council Chambers, council members approved to waive conditional use permitting (CUP) process fees, simplifying the process for bonafide, nationally recognized Veterans organizations in obtaining a liquor license for on-site sales.

For the past two years, Joe Males, Commander for the American Legion Post 53, in Hemet, has been an active voice at city council meetings on behalf of the Legion. He and other members seek to meet Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) requirements that will enable the Post to sell beer, wine and liquor on site, but processing fees run skywards from $5,200, a bill the non-profit simply cannot flip.

Post 53 has been requesting to have a licensed bar within their building to facilitate in fund raising event opportunities and provide service to generate more revenue for their operations and veteran services.

ABC requires the city to approve what is called a type 52 license – a liquor license pertaining to Veterans groups recognized by congress – that of which the American Legion falls under. The application for such license requires a CUP and its costly fees.

“It’s too expensive when you’re struggling,” says Males, regarding the fees. “During the Summer our electricity bill is over $1,000 . . . to keep the doors open and to help our veterans as needed, we have to have some type of income – our bingo game, hall rentals and Friday night dinners are great, but we still struggle.”

(In High Spirits)

City Council voted unanimously in favor of waiving fees. This action will pertain to all nationally recognized veterans’ organizations who seek a type 52 ABC license. Though fees are waived, the organizations are not exempt from the process of obtaining the CUP and must have said permits attached to the operation of their licensed bar, giving the city the enforcement to deal with potential violations.

The American Legion Post 53, until recent years, was only open once a month for meetings. Their doors are now open daily, which creates the need for generating more revenue – something a liquor license would help with. The process takes time and the organization looks to be serving up drinks within the next 3 to 4 months.

“We’d like to thank City Council for voting yes on it,” says Male. “We appreciate their willingness to help us . . . we’re really happy . . . our whole outlook towards what we do is even better knowing the city is there to back us.”

For upcoming events at the American Legion Post 53, visit www.alpost53.com

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