Liquor panel wants to ban drive-through sales

January 20, 1995|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Drive-through windows at package goods stores will become a faint memory in Carroll County if the General Assembly passes legislation proposed by the county liquor board.

"We think it's not a good idea to be able to pull up or walk up to a window," said Russell Mayer, chairman of the Carroll County Board of License Commissioners. "We feel they should come inside so they can be observed."

Otherwise, it may be difficult for a liquor store clerk to determine whether the customer is the person pictured on the identification presented, he said.

Carroll County had one drive-through window, which recently closed, Mr. Mayer said. In other cases, board members have not approved package goods store designs that included such a window.

However, the liquor board may not act on its own to ban the drive-through windows because state law requires that all liquor legislation be approved by the General Assembly, Mr. Mayer said.

"The courts have ruled that the county cannot just put in this type of legislation without putting it through the state," he said. "One county has already tried to do that."

The proposed law is one of several to be considered during a public hearing tomorrow in Room 007 of the Carroll County Office Building on Center Street.

Members of the county's General Assembly delegation expect to take comments on those and other bills requested by county officials from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"I wasn't too particularly keen on allowing the drive-through windows," said County Commissioner Richard T. Yates.

Mr. Mayer said liquor board officials also are requesting legislation that would permit restaurants with liquor licenses to close one day a week. Current law says that restaurants should serve at least two meals a day Monday through Friday and one meal on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

"The way the law is written, it appears restaurants have to be open seven days a week," Mr. Mayer said. "A lot of places want to close one day a week for repairs, cleaning or to give them a day off. We see no harm in that."

Proposed legislation also would permit restaurants with beer and light wine licenses to serve on Sundays. Current rules allow only restaurants with beer, wine and liquor licenses to serve on Sunday, Mr. Mayer said.

Five restaurants, primarily pizza places, have beer and light wine licenses in the county, he said.

"We'll probably end up losing some [beer, wine and liquor] licenses," Mr. Mayer said. "Some of them have it, but don't stock the alcohol. They just have it so they can serve the customers on Sunday."

Other proposed legislation would allow the liquor board to raise its application fees for the first time in 12 years and permit members to set their fees.

Board members also would like the ability to request criminal background checks for people applying for liquor licenses. A final proposal would allow restaurants to serve alcohol at a bar or counter on Sunday.

"When people go into a restaurant and the table is not ready, they like to walk into the bar and have a drink while they get the table ready," Mr. Mayer said. "The law on the books says no alcohol at a bar or counter on Sundays.

"A lot of counties don't have that, and we'd like the section not to apply to Carroll County."

Mr. Yates said he didn't have much of a problem with the liquor board's requests.

"If people are going to consume alcohol, they are going to regardless of if whether it's allowed in Carroll County," he said. "If it's not allowed, people are going to go to Pennsylvania or Baltimore County or some other county.

"I'd rather the local businesses reap the benefit and that the county reap the benefit in taxes."

The delegation also is scheduled to receive public comment on legislation submitted by the county commissioners that would:

* Require the county to contribute to volunteer fire departments' pension programs, known as the Length of Service Award Program.

* Amend legislation dealing with criminal background checks of county employees to include any prospective employee who would handle money. The proposal would require such employees to submit a complete set of fingerprints, so the county will comply with FBI standards.

Background checks already are required for employees working in the courts, the state's attorney's office, sheriff's department and other areas where safety of people or documents is a concern.

* Allow the commissioners to delegate any duties the commissioners deem appropriate to the Carroll County Planning Commission.

County officials have said such legislation is necessary in light of a recent court decision stating that a government cannot assign duties to a Board of Zoning Appeals unless the duties are spelled out in state law.

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