Updated (11:12 a.m.)—County restaurants and other businesses that don't have liquor licenses but allow customers to bring their own beer and wine may soon need a license to continue the practice.
Councilman Todd Huff, a Timonium Republican, introduced a bill Monday night that would create a "BYOB License" for restaurants and some other businesses that do not already have a license to sell alcohol to patrons.
"There is no law governing BYOB," said Huff. "We looked."
Currently, businesses such as restaurants and cigar shops are technically allowed to offer "BYOB by right," Huff said.
Many restaurants already do, the councilman said.
The problem, according to Huff, is that some businesses that allow customers to consume alcohol also allow under-age drinking and are open past 2 a.m., the time when most bars close.
Huff said his work with the Towson Chamber of Commerce brought the issue to his attention when members complained about problems related to a Towson-area hookah lounge.
"Police can cite the under-age drinkers but they can't really punish the owners," said Huff. "This would put some teeth into the law."
Restaurants and other establishments would be required to purchase an annual license from the county. Huff said the fee should be around $25 to $50 a year.
"I'm a very business-friendly person," Huff said. "It's a minimal fee and it will help put some teeth into the problems and disruption that some businesses bring into the community."
The license holder would be required to stop allowing alcohol to be consumed on the premises between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.—the same as a bar license in the county.
License holders would also be subject to inspections by the county and could lose their licenses if the county found evidence of underage drinking or other problems, Huff said.
The bill is scheduled for a May 29 work session and a final vote on June 4.
In other council news:
Nearly 100 cycling enthusiasts attended a May 1 council work session to show their support for the bill.
County Attorney Michael Field, in a written opinion, told the council that the county law, if passed, could not be enforced on the city, which owns the reservoir.
Marks before a Monday night vote.
"If the bill came to a vote, I don't think I have the support to pass it," Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, wrote in an email response. "I've talked with the leaders of the mountain biking community, and they believe our efforts have put the responsibility squarely with the City Council to deal with what is the city's property."
• The council unanimously approved a bill that prohibits panhandle lots and driveways in the Carney-Cub Hill—Parkville community plan area established in 2010.
• Approved adding the National Green Building Standard to a list of two other previously approved standards used to determine eligibility for the county's high performance home property tax credit.
Under the standard, homes can be eligible for a between 40 and 100 percent tax credit. The county offers $1 million in such tax credits annually.