Baltimore’s District 13: Non Conforming Liquor Outlets

Update: 9.26.2013:

At a Berea Community Association meeting on September 26th, Councilman Branch, CPHA, The Baltimore City Health Department, and the Baltimore City Department of Planning discussed the upcoming portion of the zoning legislation to reduce alcohol outlet density. At the end of the meeting, the association voted unanimously for Councilman Branch to support the legislation. CPHA already has letters of support from CARE, New Broadway East, and McElderry Park. We have shown to Mr. Branch that his constituency supports the legislation so we now suggest he support the legislation as well and not add amendments to gut it or to compensate liquor store owners. 

Update 8.26.2013:

CPHA is pleased to report that Councilman Branch kindly reached out to CPHA. Not only is he in favor of the portion of zoning legislation that ensures taverns start acting like taverns but he will also support reducing density of Class A alcohol stores in his district, as part of the zoning legislation, as long as he knows his constituency is supportive.  CPHA has discussed the legislation with nearly all the community associations in his district at length and has found broad support for reducing alcohol outlet density in District 13. We will be collecting letters of community association and resident support in the weeks to come.

Original Article from 8.22.2013:

Last week CPHA held our first Task Force meeting on Alcohol Outlet Density Reduction and shared with over 50 Citizens and numerous Community Association leaders where the Land Use and Transportation Committee stands on a critical portion of the zoning legislation.

Constituents in District 13 were surprised to learn that their Councilman, Warren Branch, is not currently supportive of this portion of the legislation–especially given the extreme number of alcohol stores impacting the health and development of his district. Councilman Branch has not yet accepted an offer to sit down with CPHA (we have called and requested to meet numerous times). However, at a recent CARE community Association meeting,the councilman publicly stated he was not currently supporting this portion of the legislation and argued that the problem with liquor stores in his neighborhoods was simply that we need a better Baltimore Liquor License Board (BLLC).

Councilman Branch is correct to suggest the BLLC needs reform (it’s a disaster). But does he really not think the number of liquor stores in his community is disconcerting? District 13 has 13 packaged good stores operating on residential streets; the 4th highest of the 14 City Council Districts. That number (and map below) doesn’t even account for all the  packaged goods stores operating on commercial streets in his district or the roughly 30 taverns active in his district–many of which operate as pseudo taverns and are simply packaged good stores with the wrong license.

district_13_onlineThe portion of the zoning legislation in question seeks to reduce the number of alcohol stores in District 13 and make sure the taverns in District 13 start acting like real taverns.

CPHA has found broad resident support for legislation to reduce alcohol outlet density in Councilman Branch’s District, especially at our recent East Baltimore Leadership Academy.

CPHA is supportive of reforming the BLLC but zoning regulates how land is used (the BLLC only regulates the license). These are two separate pieces of reform, both are needed to improve the health of District 13, and no council member should use one as an excuse to avoid the other.

Moreover, District 13 has a need and opportunity for neighborhood amenities exactly where there are liquor stores operating on residential streets. In fact, CPHA found nearly half of District 13 packaged goods stores are operating in areas currently considered city food deserts:

district13_FoodDeserts

We hope Councilman Branch will change his mind and support the wishes and health of his constituency and not individual liquor proprietors.

Contact Councilman Branch and ask him to support this portion of the zoning legislation as it goes the Land Use and Transportation Committee this September.

District 13: Warren Branch

410-396-4829
410-347-0534 (fax)
Room 505, City Hall
Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov

On Thursday, October 3rd at 6:30pm, CPHA is encouraging all citizens to attend the public hearing on Alcohol Outlet Density Reduction at the Towanda Community Center. You can learn more about this critical portion of the zoning legislation here.

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Michael Snidal

Michael Snidal

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