No challenges were filed in circuit court to test the legality of the election moving Suwannee County to a wet status. Those that may have wanted to file a lawsuit against the election had until close of business at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office in Live Oak, or 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

What happens next for Suwannee County?

Clerk of Circuit Court Barry Baker sent a letter to the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Bureau of Licensing in Tallahassee stating that there were no challenges to the vote. The letter was signed by Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Wesley Wainwright, Baker and Suwannee County Judge William F. “Lin” Williams and sent by certified mail on Wednesday to Division Chief Susan Doherty.

According to Sandi Poreda, director of communications for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, while Suwannee County is now officially wet, alcohol containing more than 6.243 percent of alcohol or more by volume can’t be sold here until the letter is received.

“As soon as the letter is received, we will post a public notice that the restrictions have been lifted,” Poreda wrote in an email Wednesday.

The restrictions Poreda refers to are those printed on the 1APS (for off premises sale of beer only), 1COP (for sale by the package or drink of beer only), 2APS (for off premises sale of beer and wine only) and 2COP (for sale by the package or drink of beer and wine only).

The letter may have been received after our press deadline. To learn if the letter has been received, and thus if the restrictions have been lifted, visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/index.html. Once there, you can learn of the various licenses, what they mean and how to obtain one. Those seeking a quota liquor license must submit an application to any Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco district office. Offices, applications and instructions can be found at the aforementioned website.

Based on Suwannee County’s population, five new quota liquor licenses will be available.

“Persons considered for issuance of these licenses are selected through a double random drawing,” the website states.

According to Poreda, a date has not yet been set on the drawing. Once it has, a notification will be published on the website.

The website describes the process for obtaining a liquor license, as such, “spiritous alcoholic beverages may only be sold by a licensee holding a liquor license. Specialty licenses such as those for restaurants, hotels, golf courses, etc., have specific qualifications which must be met prior to the issuance of these licenses.”  

The price for a quota liquor license doesn’t come cheap. To file an application just to get your name or your business’s name in the drawing is $100 or one quarter of the annual license fee, whichever is greater. If you are chosen from the drawing, you must pay a fee of $10,750 for the new liquor license. The annual fee to maintain the license depends on the license and the county’s population.

Poreda said the next opportunity to apply for a quota license will be sometime in 2012.

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