Louis J. Terminello, Esq.
There are many types of alcohol vendor licenses available from the State of Florida. Some of these license types, referred to as “specialty licenses”, require the applicant to meet specific criteria to hold one. A hotel or motel license, known as an “S” license by nomenclature is one such license type.
To hold an “S” license a hotel must have, among other things, a minimum number of rooms located on a single parcel of land under the possession of the licensed entity. There have been cases where a hotel has not met this requirement. Instances have arisen where a multi-building hotel (owned by the same entity) has had less than 100 rooms in one building but a sufficient number of rooms in all buildings combined with each building resting on separate non-contiguous parcels. Under these circumstances, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages (DABT) has refused to grant a beverage license in the past.
Enter the Plunge Hotel represented by Greenspoon Marder.
The Plunge Hotel applied for an “S” license with DABT. The hotel configuration is as described above-there are two buildings, separated by a road with each building having less than the required number of rooms but when combined meet the statutorily required room count. DABT initially denied licensure arguing that the public road which bisected the property broke the contiguous parcel configuration, required by law.
In the instant case, attorneys from the Hospitality, Alcohol & Leisure Industry Group at Greenspoon Marder effectively argued that the dividing road was an easement. Under Florida law, they argued, the granting of an easement (in this case to Broward County) does not convey a possessory interest to the easement holder.
Most interesting, the firm argued that since the road was a mere easement, the Plunge Hotel was entitled to the presumption under Florida law that the property line for each of the parcels extends to the common centerline of the dividing road, making the two parcels “contiguous.” In fact, they continued, the adjacency created a single parcel entitling the hotel to the issuance of the “S” license and that DABT had no legal “grounds” (pardon the intended pun) for denial.
On May 8
th the Division of Alcoholic Beverages, apparently realizing that efficacy and sufficiency of Greenspoon’s argument, unilaterally issued an Order of Dismissal of its Notice of Intent to Deny License and two days later granted the Plunge Hotel its “S” license.
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