A settlement agreement is a contract between an ABC licensee and other parties that include terms and conditions aimed at addressing concerns of the neighborhood. Settlement agreements are voluntary and may be entered into at any time.
For a settlement agreement to be enforceable, it must be approved by the ABC Board by Board Order. Once approved, the terms of the settlement agreement are attached to the ABC license and remain in effect, unless amended or terminated, for the life of the license. If the license is sold, the new owners are bound by the terms of the settlement agreement.
Access to Settlement Agreements
All ABC Board-approved settlement agreements are published online. To locate an agreement, search by the licensed establishment’s street address.
Additionally, ABC licenses, which must be displayed on- premises, will note if a licensee has a settlement agreement. Agreements must be kept on the licensed premises and must be made available upon request.
Each settlement agreement is unique. Parties are encouraged to consult enforceability guidelines and previously approved agreements which are available online. Although an ABRA attorney cannot provide legal sufficiency on a draft agreement, parties are welcome to contact the legal division to ascertain whether a given term is enforceable. Settlement agreements are ultimately reviewed by the ABC Board on a case by case basis and past adoption of a requirement does not guarantee future approval.
Once the parties have agreed to the terms of the agreement, they must sign and date the document and submit it to the ABC Board for approval.
Before submitting a settlement agreement for ABC Board approval, parties should confirm that the document includes:
- Each parties’ printed name AND signature. Electronic signatures are acceptable.
- Date each party signed the agreement.
- Trade name, address of the establishment, license number, AND license type and class.
- Type of agreement (e.g., new or amendment to an existing agreement).
Executed settlement agreements may be mailed or submitted in-person at ABRA’s office, or scanned as a PDF file and emailed to [email protected].
Settlement agreements that result from a contested case must be received by ABRA no later than the day before the scheduled hearing if the parties desire to be excused from that hearing.
Settlement agreements that are submitted in picture format (JPG, PNG, etc.), do not have the signatures of both parties, or not signed within 90 days by both parties WILL NOT be accepted.
Amending, Terminating, or Replacing
Parties to a settlement agreement can jointly amend, terminate, or enter into a new agreement at any time. If the parties enter into a new agreement, it should unequivocally state the agreement supersedes the parties’y’s previous agreement(s). The aforementioned agreement approval process applies.
Alternately, a licensee can request an amendment or the termination of a settlement agreement—without the consent of the other party—if the agreement has been in effect for at least four years from the date it was approved by the ABC Board. Requests will only be considered during the license renewal cycle and must be submitted with their complete renewal application.
Requests to terminate a settlement agreement must include a:
1. Letter describing:
- Why the amendment or termination will not have an adverse impact on the neighborhood
- Need for the amendment or termination
2. Notarized affidavit affirming that the licensee made diligent efforts (and what those diligent efforts were – words to this effect/can’t say “I made a phone call and it wasn’t returned”) to locate the parties who are signatories to the agreement sought to be amended or terminated, and if the parties are found that:
- Licensee or representative met with the other parties to the Settlement Agreement but did not reach an agreement
- Other parties refused to meet with the licensee or representative
Applications for termination will be reviewed initially by ABRA’s Office of the General Counsel for legal sufficiency regarding the steps outlined above. If a determination is made that the application meets standards, the ABC Board will further review the application and make a determination to placard the application. Any application that fails to meet the standards set forth above will not be approved by the ABC Board for placarding.