Sec. 3-29. Procedure for handling liquor license applications.

 

(a)   Upon receipt of notification by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission that an application for a liquor license within the City of Norfolk has been applied for, the city clerk shall give notice of hearing as provided for in section 53-134 N.R.S. 1943, as amended, which shall fix the date, time and place of said hearing, and also which shall be sent to applicant by first-class mail along with a copy of this section.  Said notice shall be published in a legal newspaper in or of general circulation in the city, one time not less than seven (7) nor more than fourteen (14) days before the time of the hearing.  Said notice shall include, but not be limited to, a statement that all persons desiring to give evidence before the city council in support of or in protest against the issuance of said license may do so at the time set for the hearing either orally or if by written affidavit, the affidavit is filed with the city clerk at least three (3) business days prior to the date and time set for said hearing.  Said hearing shall be conducted within forty-five (45) days after receipt of the notice from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.

 

(b)   The applicant for a liquor license or his, her, their or its representative shall be required to attend the public hearing on the liquor license application.  At the hearing on the application, the mayor, or in his or her absence the president of the city council, shall act as hearing officer.  The hearing officer may limit testimony where it appears incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious.

 

(c)   The hearing on the application shall be conducted informally.  The intent of the hearing is to inquire into the factual basis for the application and qualifications of the applicant to meet the criteria set forth in section 3-28 of the Official City Code, not to be an adversary action.  Two (2) or more proceedings which are legally or factually related may be heard and considered together unless any party thereto makes a sufficient showing to the mayor and city council that prejudice would result therefrom.  The hearing may be reported by a certified court reporter, at the request of the city council or applicant, whose cost shall be borne by the applicant.  If the hearing is reported by a certified court reporter, a copy of the transcript of the hearing shall be filed with the city clerk by the court reporter as soon as the same is transcribed, and if said hearing is conducted in conjunction with a regular city council meeting, said copy shall become part of the official minutes of said meeting.  Each witness may present his or her testimony in narrative fashion or by question and answer, and shall state his or her name and address prior to commencing his or her testimony for the record.  The mayor and city council shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence in the conduct of the hearing and may admit and give probative effect to evidence which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonably prudent persons.  The burden of proof and persuasion with regard to the application shall be on the applicant.  The mayor or any member of the city council may question any witness, call witnesses or request information. For purposes of obtaining desired information, the hearing officer may authorize the city administrator, city attorney, and/or other agent to act on his or her behalf.

 

(d)   The order of proceedings for the conduct of the hearing is as follows:

 

(1)        Exhibits, if possible, will be marked in advance of the hearing by the city clerk and presented to the hearing officer during the hearing.

 

(2)        Presentation of evidence, witnesses and argument by the applicant.

 

(3)        Testimony of any other citizens in favor of the application.

 

(4)        Questioning of applicant, witnesses or citizens by city attorney, city administrator, governing body, or duly appointed agent.

 

(5)        Questioning of the applicant, witnesses or citizens in favor of the application by anyone in opposition to the license, if any.

 

(6)        Presentation of evidence, witnesses and argument by citizens in opposition to the application, if any.

 

(7)        Presentation of evidence by the city and law enforcement personnel.

 

(8)        Questioning of citizens in opposition, city personnel or law enforcement personnel by the applicant.

 

(9)        Rebuttal evidence by applicant and opposition, if desired.

 

(10)      Summation by applicant and opposition, if desired.

 

(11)      Close of hearing and consideration by mayor and city council.

 

(e)   After the hearing, the mayor and city council shall cause to be spread at large in the minute record of its proceedings a resolution approving or denying the issuance of such license.  Said approval or denial shall be made within forty-five (45) days of the city clerk's receiving a copy of the license application from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.  If the mayor and city council denies the retail or bottle club license within said forty-five-day period, such denial shall be final and shall be subject to review as provided in Sections 25-1901 to 25-1908 N.R.S. 1943, as amended.  The mayor and city council shall by resolution issue the final order of denial to the applicant or licensee in writing and deliver or mail a copy by first-class mail postage prepaid to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission within ten (10) days of the date the application was denied.  If the mayor and city council approve an application by resolution within said forty-five-day period, the mayor and city council shall within ten (10) days of the date the application was approved notify the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission by first-class mail postage prepaid or delivery of the resolution of the action taken.

 

(f)    No license shall be denied by the mayor and city council except after a hearing with reasonable notice to the applicant and an opportunity to appear and present evidence.  Any resolution denying or failing to renew an application or license rendered by the mayor and city council shall be in writing or stated in the record and shall be accompanied by findings.  The findings shall consist of concise statements of the conclusions upon each contested issue.  The applicant or licensee shall be notified of the decision in person or by mail.  A copy of the decision and order and accompanying findings shall be delivered or mailed upon request to the applicant or licensee.

 

Source: Ord. No. 3399, 2-6, 5-5-86; Ord. No. 3469, 1, 4-20-87; Ord. No. 3513, 1, 11-2-87; Ord. No. 3598, 3, 11-7-88; Ord. No. 3654, 5, 7, 6-19-89; Ord. No. 5038, 1, 10-20-08; Ord. No. 5820, 1, 2-6-23;

Subsequently, Ord. No. 3654, 5, adopted June 19, 1989, renumbered 3-28 as 3-29, and 7 of the same ordinance amended the same to read as herein set out.