February 17, 2007

Liquor Licences

The issue with the Liquor Licenses, as I understand it, has to do with Baltimore County, and it's Archaic, Protective Treatment of the Licenses.

First of all to obtain a liquor License in Baltimore County you must either buy an existing one ( Which usually sell for $100,000. +) or Build a shopping Center over 25,000sf or a Hotel, in which cases you are awarded one.

These Licenses cannot be transferred between districts, so one from (for example) Randallstown may not be able to be bought and transferred to Catonsville.

Another Caveat to the law is, you must be 300 feet from the nearest Church. It makes no difference if the Church and its members are supportive of the Restaurant's pursuit of a Licence.
Of Course when these law were written existing Bars, Liquor Stores and Other Holders of Liquor Licences were exempt. It appears that a small Tavern can expand it business as much as it would like and even permit outdoor drinking, thus completely reinventing itself, no matter how close it is to a church, If it already held a Licence when the Laws were written.

I think that these Laws were written to satisfy the Licenced Beverage Association and it's members, by restricting competition. They were definitely not written to give the Residents of Baltimore County the opportunity we deserve to have more and varied dining choices.

The Choice we have is, patronize one of the existing businesses in town or drive to Ellicott City, Canton etc.

Catonsville is in the Process of Revitalizing Itself. The County Executive is encouraging Businesses to relocate here.

The question is: Do we want "Revitalize" Catonsville by Attracting Customers and Businesses from our Neighbors in Ellicott City or Irvington?


Anonymous said...


I share your love of Catonsville, your concerns for the future of downtown and your bewilderment of the County liquor license laws.

I applaud your efforts and wish you the very best.


Anonymous said...

there is also a law about the number of bars that can be in an area based on population. you will have a hard time getting a lisc. to sell alcohol, because steve whalen has 12 of them tied up for his project, that won't be built for 10 years, if at all. maybe he can help you. please don't give up. you have a great vision and we will support it.

Craig W. said...

I have spoken with Steve Whalen about his project several times. I do know that he has acquired all of the availble Licenses in the area. And that as a matter of right he will be granted maybe 2 more. I don't believe that he has 12 though. What do you think about his project? Craig Witzke

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