By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
6:40 PM EST, November 15, 2011
Baltimore County should eventually issue liquor licenses to restaurants based on public need and accommodation, rather than on population, according to a task force set up to review the county's license laws.
The county now limits the number of liquor licenses based on the population of each of its 15 election districts. The task force — formed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz earlier this year — came up with several proposals to phase out that system and make the licenses countywide. For instance, one proposal would eliminate the population restrictions by 2018; another would do so by 2023.
The task force's 12 members did not agree on all the proposals, with representatives of current licensees voting against many of the recommendations.
The group also offered suggestions for transferring licenses out of the eastern part of the county, which has an abundance of licenses.
A report by the task force was due to Kamenetz on Tuesday, but the group now plans to submit the document by early next week, said Mike Mohler, co-chairman of the task force and administrator of the county liquor board.
After Kamenetz reviews the report, state lawmakers would have to approve any changes.
The task force's other recommendations include: Creating a new, limited type of service bar license for restaurants; eliminating the requirement that a license holder live in Baltimore County; and doubling the number of licenses a person or corporation can hold, from six to 12.
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