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A Deemed Approved Ordinance (or non-conforming business license) is a local ordinance that requires alcohol retailers (liquor stores, markets, restaurants, bars and nightclubs) to maintain their businesses in a lawful manner, one that does not foster crime and nuisance-related activities that negatively impact the surrounding community. This policy tool can be used by municipalities to ensure that older, grandfathered retailers have to operate under the same set of rules as new establishments.

Local control of high risk businesses can be accomplished through ordinances that place conditions on the businesses, such as increased lighting or extra security precautions. The purpose of these conditions is to prohibit illegal activity such as drug use, public drunkenness, harassment, and thefts.

While a Conditional Use Permit places conditions on new business licenses, DAOs bring existing businesses into compliance with community standards.