Alcoholic Beverage Retail Outlet Nuisance Abatement Program

On May 22, 2018, the County of Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors established the Alcoholic Beverage Retail Outlet Nuisance Abatement Program (County Code Chapter 8.03). This County Code Chapter requires all alcoholic beverage retail outlets to obtain a Local Certification of Responsibility (LCR) based on adherence to performance standards; establishes performance standards and an enforcement process to review violations of those standards in order to protect the general health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the County and to prevent public nuisances associated with alcoholic beverage retail outlets; and creates a financing mechanism to pay for the costs directly related to program operations.

Each year in June the Sheriff’s Office will mail Business Categorization Certification forms to all alcohol retail outlets in the unincorporated area of the County. Invoices will be mailed to alcohol retailers once categorization forms are received and processed. Invoices will detail the amount of the annual Local Certification of Responsibility and will be due within 30 days of the invoice date.

Retailer Resources:

Local Retailer Certification of Responsibility Fee

The Local Certification of Responsibility fee is based on the following four components:

  1. Risk: This component is determined based on the definition for "High-Risk Alcohol Outlet". "High-Risk Alcohol Outlet" is a retail outlet where alcoholic beverages are sold such as a bar, tavern, liquor store, convenience store, nightclub, banquet facility, and/or premises where live entertainment and/or dancing occurs, and/or any on-sale or off-sale alcohol outlet which, as part of its regular operating hours, stays open past midnight on one or more days of the week. This rating will be assigned to your business.
  2. Business Hours: The hours component is determined by the latest hour in which the business sold alcohol on any business day during the previous calendar year.
  3. Purchase Volume: The volume component refers to the dollar volume of a business' wholesale alcohol purchases for the previous calendar year. In the case of a partial year for new businesses, the volume will be based on annualized purchases.
  4. Administrative Fee: This fee is equivalent to 15% of the sum of items 1-3.

Individual outlet fees will vary based on their classification into the various categories within the risk, hours, and volume components. The hours and volume components are divided into 3 categories as displayed in the table below.

Local Certification of Responsibility Category Fees
Category Business Hours Hours Fee Wholesale Alcohol Purchase Volume Vol. Fee Risk Fee
I Business closes no later than 10:00 pm $59.72 Alcohol purchases $0 to $100,000 $153.00 $116.65
II Business closes no later than midnight $179.16 Alcohol purchases $100,001 to $300,000 $459.01  
III Business closes no later than 2:00 am $537.49 Alcohol purchases over $300,000 $1,377.03 $466.61


To illustrate how annual LCR fees will be calculated see the following example:

Fictitious Café closes at 6:00p every day, their annual wholesale alcohol purchases are $89,000 and have been assigned a Category I risk rating.

Fee Component Category Fee
1. Business Hours I $59.72
2. Volume of Alcohol Purchases I $153.00
3. Risk I $116.65
Subtotal (sum of 1+2+3)   $329.37
Admin Fee (15% of subtotal) $49.41
Annual LCR Fee $378.78


Want to Become a Minor Decoy?


  • The Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap Program allows local law enforcement agencies to use male and female volunteers 18 or 19 years of age as decoys to purchase alcoholic beverages from on and off licensed premises. The volunteer decoys will be observed and supervised during each investigation. The volunteers shall not consume alcoholic beverages or carry weapons. The volunteer may be asked to testify in court hearings or administrative hearings. They must possess a valid California Driver’s License or Identification Card. He/she must satisfactorily complete a background check with a minimum time commitment to the program of 6 months.

Learn more about how it works and hear from a minor decoy in this video:

How to apply:




Deputy Damon Hancock