After a summer's layoff, a panel of business leaders and lawmakers is hoping to resolve a sensitive economic development issue: a proposed change in the Anne Arundel County liquor laws that would clear the way for restaurant chains.
Current laws allowing only one liquor license per restaurant -- no matter how many locations the restaurant has -- are strangling development in fast-growing parts of the county, some lawmakers argue. But small-business owners fear large corporations and chains will cut into their profits and drive them out of business.
Members of the Multiple Liquor License Study Group, which meets again Sept. 28 in Annapolis, said they are confident they can satisfy both sides.
"I'd like to see a situation where the county can benefit from growth, and it doesn't have to be divisive or destructive," said Rob Beall, vice president of Ledo Pizza Systems, which has two restaurants in the county, one of which can serve beer.
The study group was started in June with hopes that the panel could form a consensus, and legislators could take the proposals to Annapolis for the session in January. Each county regulates liquor licenses differently, but liquor laws fall within state jurisdiction.
Pub Date: 9/08/99