Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Overturns Kingsland Denial No Legal Reason Not to Grant Liquor License, Judge Rules

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Overturns Kingsland Denial No Legal Reason Not to Grant Liquor License, Judge Rules

Article excerpt

WOODBINE -- A superior court judge Thursday ordered Kingsland to

grant a liquor license to the owner of a jazz and comedy club.

Judge E.M. Wilkes III said the city's refusal to grant a

license to Farran Fullilove, owner of Love's Down Town Jazz Club

in Kingsland, was made without any legal basis.

"Mr. Fullilove made his appeals and exhausted all remedies,"

Wilkes said. "Both times, the court finds, there was never a

reason given for denial."

During the 3 1/2-hour trial, city officials said it wasn't

until last Tuesday, when they sent Fullilove a letter by fax

machine, that they indicated they were willing to listen to an

appeal by the businessman.

But Wilkes ruled that Fullilove had made a good-faith attempt

to resolve the issue and that the city's offer was too late.

Fullilove's attorney, Jim Stein, said during the trial that his

client met all the requirements for a license and was rejected

by the council based on "arbitrary language" in the city's

alcohol ordinance. The city's ordinance gives the council the

power to deny a liquor license based on its discretion.

State law requires cities and municipalities to grant an appeal

when a liquor license is denied, Stein said, but when Fullilove

asked to appeal the ruling at a council meeting on March 25, two

weeks after his initial request for a license was rejected,

Mayor Keith Dixon refused.

Dixon testified Thursday he denied Fullilove's request because

he could not make a decision during the work session at a

council meeting.

But Dixon later admitted he could have allowed Fullilove to

make his appeal during the regular council meeting, where

members could have reconsidered the request.

Fullilove testified that city officials told him to complete

repairs and get the structure where his business is located up

to city codes before he could apply for a liquor license. He

said in an earlier interview that for the building and

renovations, he spent nearly $100,000 on the business, which is

located on U.S. 17 near downtown Kingsland. …

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