New MVA license renewal rule frustrates 21-year-olds, Harford liquor inspector says

A new MVA rule forbidding younger people from renewing their driver's license in person is getting complaints from those just turning 21 who want to have their first drink, Harford County's liquor inspector said.

As of April 1, the MVA requires anyone under 40 who is eligible to renew their license by web, mail or kiosk to do so, inspector Charles Robbins explained at the county's liquor control board meeting Wednesday.

The change is meant "to increase customer service and decrease in-person wait times," according to MVA's website.

Robbins said it can take up to a week to get the new license by mail, causing frustration from residents who want to celebrate their 21st birthday with a drink, legally.

Although they can print out temporary proof of the license application, Robbins said servers are trained to only accept horizontal licenses, issued to those over 21, and automatically reject customers with vertical licenses.

He said he has gotten complaints from Bel Air businesses like Main Street Tower and Looney's about having to reject customers who are technically 21.

Robbins said the negative response even took MVA by surprise.

"People are irate," he said. "MVA's been very quiet, and I don't think it's going to be popular."

"If you are under 40, there's really nothing you can do over-the-counter at MVA," he said.

New licenses

The owner of Bill Bateman's in Bel Air is asking for a license renewal as he continues trying to work out his business management, liquor board administrator Judith Powell said.

El Rodeo, whose license had been suspended, was allowed to serve alcohol again starting April 10.

Robbins said Cops in Shops details are planned for the next two weekends.

Rodgers House Tavern in Havre de Grace got approval for outside serving on Graw Days, in October, and Liberatore's restaurant in Bel Air completed its outside serving area.

One-day beer and wine licenses were granted for the first time to Christina Halliwell, with the Children's Center of North Harford, for a bull and oyster roast; Teresa Reilly for a fundraising event at Main Street Cigar; and new Bel Air Downtown Alliance director Erika Quesenbery for First Fridays.

Serdal Uzun was approved as a new licensee at Lemon N' Ginger Asian Grill in Abingdon, and Jose Fernandez was approved at Pelican Cove in Abingdon.

The board approved one-day beer and wine licenses for an April 27 annual open house for the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, a May 7 trade show for the Harford County Association of Realtors, a May 9 artists' reception for Havre de Grace Main Street, a May 10 wine and cheese reception for the Harford Artists Association and a May 16 art exhibit reception for Havre de Grace Main Street.

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