Liquor board limits number of new licenses granted 51 regulations adopted

most clarify existing rules

September 18, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County liquor board yesterday adopted 51 regulations, including a provision that limits licenses for liquor stores to one for every 5,000 people in a county election district.

Some of the regulations are new rules, but most clarify existing language to better conform with state liquor laws, board attorney Isaac Menasche said at a public hearing, attended by the owners of three liquor stores who hold Class A liquor licenses.

For the owners, the most significant change involves the Class A license. The previous standard allowed one license for every 3,000 people.

The measure will apply to new businesses and will not affect existing liquor stores.

Bill Rowe, owner of Carrolltowne Discount Liquors in Eldersburg and president of the Carroll County Package Goods Association, proposed the change to limit the number of new licenses granted by the board.

The old regulation greatly limited the number of potential customers, he said, noting that one-third of the county population is under 21 and can't legally purchase alcohol and that another third is growing older and drinking less.

"The cost of doing business is going up," Pete Sanios, owner of Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, said in support of the new regulation.

Owners of package goods stores have to pay higher wages to hire the kind of people who will understand board regulations and help us enforce them, he said.

Fran Schmitz, owner of Mount Airy Liquors, called the 5,000 limit a move in the right direction. "But I would have liked it to be 8,000," he said.

Board members Romeo Valianti, Russell Mayer and Jerry Gooding also adopted the following changes, which will take effect Oct. 1:

A waiting period previously requiring restaurant owners to be in operation for 90 days before obtaining a Class B license to serve alcohol with food has been eliminated.

Waiters and waitresses who are 18 to 20 may sell as well as serve alcohol in conjunction with serving food.

Bars and other establishments that sell alcohol may not remain open after-hours.

"Formerly, they could stay open but not serve alcohol after-hours," Menasche said.

The board may sanction licensees who allow illegal activity at their establishments with a fine, suspension or revocation of a license.

The board has always had that authority, Menasche said. To obtain a liquor license, an applicant had to be a "fit and proper person."

"Where, before, the board's authority was implied, the new rule now clearly expresses it," he said.

Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said he proposed the "no illegal conduct" regulation to keep licensees from flouting laws, especially gaming regulations.

Some licensees have openly defied authorities by allowing illegal payoffs at their establishments for various types of slot machines, including the "for amusement only" video poker machines, Barnes said.

"Dealing with these types of misdemeanors gives the board much greater leverage than what the state or the court has," he said.

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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