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Single-event permits still an issue for liquor commission

Published: Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:37 p.m. MDT

Cindy White (left) and Walter Schwemmer (right) dance to the Bavarian musical group Alpiners USA as part of the Oktoberfest celebration at Snowbird Mountain Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah Sunday, Sept., 6, 2009. State liquor commissioners continued Tuesday to grapple with what the requirements should be for issuing single-event permits after a recent controversy over how the rules applied to an annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — State liquor commissioners continued Tuesday to grapple with what the requirements should be for issuing single-event permits after a recent controversy over how the rules applied to an annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Snowbird has since been issued a permit for its upcoming Oktoberfest event, but the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control continues to work on new language to clarify its rules.

At Tuesday's meeting, commissioners heard an update but said there's still more to do.

Commissioner John T. Nielsen said he agreed with a proposal to have local communities weigh in on whether events in their jurisdiction meet the standards for a permit.

"It's important to hear from them," Nielsen said.

But it's also important to have the Legislature involved in the rules update, he said, reminding commissioners he testified before lawmakers about the Snowbird issue last month.

The Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee took no action on the issue in June after Nielsen said the DABC would tackle the controversy over whether the rules give preference to charitable organizations over for-profit entities.

The new rules, which are also expected to increase the time the permitting process takes and spell out what controls are required, are intended to prevent single-event permits from being misused to circumvent regular licensing.

Also Tuesday, commissioners decided to tell catering company owner Kelly Lake she'll need a contract with organizers of the Association of Volleyball Professionals tournament in Liberty Park in August before a permit could be issued for the event.

The Salt Lake stop on the nationally televised AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tour received a permit last year. Lake said the association now has hired an events organizer that is using her company to provide food and alcohol.

But DABC Commission Chairman David Gladwell said state law spells out that the permit application must come from the organization putting on the event. Gladwell said a contract would make it clear who is ultimately responsible for any problems.

He said the law views the ability to sell alcohol through a single-event permit as an "ancillary party of a community event, not as the primary reason" for holding the event.

Assistant Attorney General Sheila Page was also concerned.

"This is all very loosey-goosey," Page said. "Should there be a real problem, we don't want to have to go back and start sorting through all this."

Lake, who initially told the commission she doesn't "do contracts," said she and the national company serving as an events organizer will come up with a written agreement.

"We're willing to do whatever it takes to be in compliance and ensure a successful event," she said.

The four-day tournament is scheduled to begin Aug. 7. Salt Lake is one of seven cities nationwide hosting the beach volleyball competitions.

The final decision about a permit for the event will be left up to DABC Director Sal Petilos.

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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