Virtual Public Hearings
The OABCC will be conducting virtual hearings on violations of Delaware alcohol rules and laws as well as protested licensee applications. The Commissioner holds hearings and issues written decisions on applications for liquor licenses that are protested by at least 10 persons who reside on or own property within 1 mile of the premises. They are final and conclusive unless, within 30 days from the date of the Commissioner’s decision, a party to the hearing files a written appeal in the Office of the Commissioner.
If you wish to provide testimony at a protest hearing, you must pre-register on the OABCC website no later than noon on the day before the hearing to be added to the list of persons who will be recognized to testify during the hearing.
OABCC protest hearings permit the public to hear the details of applications for a liquor license and to hear testimony in favor of, or in opposition to the application for a liquor license. All OABCC public hearings are virtual hearings, unless otherwise noted.
Public Hearing Protocols
The Office of the Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner (OABCC) invites public input through testimony on matters brought before the Commissioner in OABCC protest hearings.
To ensure order, fairness, and efficiency, OABCC hearings will be governed by the following protocol:
- Verbal testimony during the hearing, which is subject to questions from the opposing side, is the preferred method to offer testimony during a protest hearing.
- If written testimony is submitted, it must be submitted at least 24 hours before the start of the hearing.
- Written testimony provided in advance of the hearing will be provided to the opposing side and will be subject to questions from the opposing side during the hearing.
- Written comments will not be accepted after the conclusion of the hearing unless approved by the Commissioner due to exceptional circumstances.
- Testimony must be limited solely to the subject matter of the hearing (i.e., pending liquor license application).
It is important to remember that no decision has been made by the OABCC in any matter prior to the public hearing. No decision may be made at the conclusion of the public hearing because the Commissioner may choose to reserve decision. The purpose of the hearing is to provide a formal platform for the public to hear the details of specific matters and to provide testimony as part of the formal hearing record.
The Commissioner will be making the final decision.
Those wishing to offer testimony during the public hearing must pre-register on the OABCC website no later than noon on the day before the hearing to be added to the list of persons who will be recognized to speak during the hearing.
Each person who will testify will be asked to formally identify themselves for the record, and to make their testimony as concisely as possible.
If a person has already submitted written testimony to the OABCC prior to the hearing, it is not necessary to offer the same testimony verbally at the hearing, but please be prepared for questions from the opposing side. The written testimony and any questions and answers directed to that written testimony will become part of the hearing record.
In order treat everyone equally and impartially at all OABCC public hearings, each person will be allotted three minutes of time to testify.
The time limit will be strictly enforced, to ensure that everyone is treated equally, and that all who want to testify have an opportunity to do so. To help speakers time their comments, a visual timer will be displayed.
There is no video feed of those who testify while they speak, comments will be audio only.
Those persons who testify will be recognized by OABCC staff in an order based on their registration for the hearing. When called upon, the person will be taken off mute for three minutes. At the end of that time-period, the system will automatically place the person on mute for the remainder of the hearing.
A registered commenter may read into the hearing record the comments of another person, provided they fully identify that person. The three-minute time limit applies to the person speaking on another’s behalf. No one will be granted three minutes to provide their comments in addition to the three minutes they are given to provide someone else’s comments.
There will be no “Question and Answer” sessions with the OABCC staff. An OABCC hearing is a formal hearing at which an applicant for a liquor license and their counsel (if any) have an opportunity to present their case for a license which may include presenting evidence in support of the application, for valid protestants and their counsel (if any) to ask questions of the applicant and question their evidence, to present testimony why the license should not be granted, and for the applicant to ask questions of the protestants and to question their evidence.. Unlike informal meetings (which are not part of the formal hearing record), OABCC protest hearings are formal hearings for the public to offer testimony specifically related to the subject matter of that hearing, ultimately for the Commissioner’s consideration prior to making a final decision.
Written testimony submitted in accordance with the rules above should be submitted as follows:
- Via email to email@example.com;
- Through the US postal service at the below address;
Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner
Carvel State Building
820 North French Street, 3rd Floor
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Written testimony to OABCC may not be submitted, and will not be considered, using social media platforms, such as Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, or text messaging.