A system of liquor licenses once called archaic by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz could be phased out over 20 years.
A plan being considered this morning by a could eventually change some population restrictions that limit the number of licenses in each of the county's 15 districts.
The proposal includes:
- Allowing the transfer of liquor licenses out of the Essex and Middle River area, where there is a glut of licenses, over the next three fiscal years. The change would allow the transfer of three licenses per district per year to any other district and lift the population restrictions on licenses. That would allow areas to have as many as 25 percent more licenses than allowed under the current law. The change could permit the transfer of as many as 47 licenses over three years to site specific projects.
- in each of the next three fiscal years beginning in July 2012. The licenses would be restricted to revitalization districts with a cap on one per district. License holders would be required to make 70 percent of their money on the sale of food, have seating for 12 to 100 people and sell only bottled beer and wine.
- Between 2015 and 2021, the county would systematically decrease the popultion requirements on licenses, allowing for the creation of more licenses. Existing license holders would still be allowed to transfer their licenses.
- Beginning in 2012 and running through 2031, the county would continue to phase out population requirements, making them countywide rather than based on individual election districts. Existing license holders would be able to transfer their licenses any where in the county.
He cautioned that though these points were developed in consultation with the county Licensed Beverage Association, the two sides were not in complete agreement.
A point agreed with by Jack Milani, who is representing the interest of license holders on the task force.
The group is expected to hold a lengthy discussion on the plan this morning in an effort to develop a draft report containing the task force's recommendations.
That report is due to Kamenetz by Nov. 15 and could be the blueprint for legislative action in Annapolis in January.
Any changes to county liquor license law requires the approval of the General Assembly and governor.