One of the biggest sticking points of opponents to lifting Takoma Park's ban on selling carry-out beer and wine is the loss of local control. Montgomery County's Board of License Commissioners gives alcohol licenses to restaurants, and if Takoma Park's ban goes, so does its ability to keep out bad businesses.
But when the Takoma Park City Council voted in September to ask Maryland to lift the city's carry-out alcohol sales ban for restaurants with a special request that the city have some say in who gets licenses, it was done a certain measure of skepticism as to whether the request would be heeded. (Alcohol laws in Maryland are codified in state law, so any such change has to get state house approval).
This is what the bill says:
An applicant for a Class B (on– and off–sale) beer and light wine, hotel and restaurant license shall be approved by the City of Takoma Park Council before the applicant may be issued the license by the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners.
That means if the bill is approved and a restaurant wants to sell carry-out beer and wine in Takoma Park, it first has to get approval from the Takoma Park City Council before it even gets to go before the county liquor board. Such a set-up could potentially prevent a battle (mostly of words, really) between the city and county over a bad business, and it could also ease many fears residents have voiced.
A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec. 6 at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. You can sign up to testify here.