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Council To Consider 'BYOB' Licenses

Council votes to prohibit panhandle lots in the Carney-Cub Hill-Parkville community. Bill allowing biking, hiking in Loch Raven Reservoir is withdrawn.

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:

• Councilman David Marks withdrew a bill that he hoped would allow hiking and mountain biking on trails in the Loch Raven Reservoir area.

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.

Tim May 08, 2012 at 12:51 AM
the BYOB is an awesome idea, and we actually go to restaurants in Honeygo Plaza/Village whatever it's called more often because of it. 30 minute wait for a table? No problem! We just go into Honeygo Wine and Beet and pick our dinner's refreshments. Come back, table's ready!
Bart May 08, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Or favorite restaurant is BYOB, and it's great. Do they now pay for a license for this? Will they have to purchase a license in the future? Is the fee new?
Jack May 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM
why is there a licence fee to the restauranteur? Soon you will have to buy a license in order to purchase a license. How ridiculous.
Stiffy McDermott May 08, 2012 at 05:46 PM
The do-gooders never stop. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” —C. S. Lewis
Bart May 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
OK, now I get it! There is some new information here that was not included in this article at 9 this morning. We are now in the business of making regulations where there is really no problem, and charging THEM for it. These BYOB places are usually Mom-and-Pop restaurants that are gnerally less expensive, and casual. Now because the HOOKAH place has problems, everybody should suffer and pay for it? No way, Todd. Who gave you this idea? It's a non-starter.
William Lutostanski Jr May 08, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Soon you will need a license too drink at home ! I thought Republicans were supposed to be for less government not more.
Joe May 09, 2012 at 03:27 PM
The incestuous relationship between county government and local business rears its ugly head again. The only good that anybody involved is worrying about is that of Baltimore County restaurants with existing liquor licenses. The goal is to eliminate competition from BYOB establishments for diners who wish to drink alcohol with their meal. Step one is to enact the regulation, under the radar with a low fee. Step two will occur in the next year or so, where they'll jack the fee up and many BYOB restaurants won't pay. Mission accomplished.
M. Sullivan May 09, 2012 at 08:13 PM
And, some more extorted money for the the County to waste as a bonus!
J Garrett May 31, 2012 at 02:19 AM
No restaurant would choose BYOB over a full liquor license. If they could afford one on the 'market' they would. Regulation of liquor has been going on for a long time and it only brings BYOB establishments in line with full liquor service. If mom and pop can't afford this fee, I'm guessing there are other problems with their restaurant.

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