City Council to Consider Liquor Legislation October 3rd

The public review process for City Council Bill #12-0152, known as “TransForm Baltimore”, is officially scheduled to continue this  September. The Land Use and Transportation Committee will hold a series of hearings on various zoning topics across various neighborhoods.

On Thursday, October 3rd, the committee will discuss one portion of the zoning legislation that seeks to improve community health by decreasing the number of packaged good stores on our residential blocks and ensuring sham taverns start acting as real taverns. CPHA is encouraging all citizens to attend this meeting and to call on their council representatives to support the portion of the legislation–“Alcohol Outlet Density Reduction” –that will reduce the extreme number of alcohol establishments we have in many of our neighborhoods. You can learn more about this critical portion of the zoning legislation here

So where do Council Members on the Land Use and Transportation Committee currently stand on this portion of the legislation?

Edward Reisinger (Chair) – Edward.Reisinger@baltimorecity.gov: CPHA has not yet confirmed Councilman Reisenger’s position. It is unclear if the Chair can vote on amendments specific to alcohol outlet density given his ties to the tavern “Good Times” in Morrell Park.

Update: 9/4/2013: CPHA confirmed with Councilman Reisinger that he has severed his ties to a tavern in Morrell Park and will vote on amendments specific to alcohol outlet density reduction. To read more on his position and his district click here

James B. Kraft (Vice Chair) – James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov: In CPHA’s last conversation, Councilman Kraft suggested he was not supporting the legislation but was very receptive to continued conversation. Councilman Kraft’s district (1) is hardly affected by the legislation; he has only 3 non-conforming establishments and (in CPHA’s best opinion) the taverns in his district already act as real taverns and will continue to operate as usual.

Update: 9/15/2013: CPHA confirmed with a representative from Coucnilman Kraft’s office at a Fells Prospect Community Association that Councilman Kraft is still not currently supportive of Alcohol Outlet Density Reduction. Its very unclear why given he has only three establishments operating on non-conforming streets. 

Warren Branch – Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov: At a recent CARE community Association meeting, Councilman Branch said he was not supporting the legislation. CPHA has found broad resident support for legislation to reduce alcohol outlet density in his District  (13), especially at our recent East Baltimore Leadership Academy. Community support in Branch”s District isn’t surprising given the extreme number of alcohol stores operating on non-conforming streets in District 13. We hope councilman Branch will change his mind and support the wishes and health of his constituency and not individual liquor proprietors.

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.

Mary Pat Clarke – MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov: Councilwoman Clarke has confirmed with CPHA that she supports the portion of the legislation specific to reducing alcohol outlet density.

Bill Henry – Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov:  Councilman Henry has confirmed with CPHA that he supports reducing alcohol outlet density. The councilman would like to see other ways to improve Baltimore taverns through the zoning code including, possibly,  setting guidelines to increase the number of on duty employees at taverns.

Sharon Green Middleton – Sharon.Middleton@baltimorecity.gov: Councilwoman Middleton has confirmed that she is very supportive of this portion of the legislation.

Rochelle “Rikki” Spector – Rochelle.Spector@baltimorecity.gov: in our last conversation, Councilwoman Spector was not supportive of the legislation. However the councilwoman has only one non-conforming packaged goods establishment in her entire district (5) that would be affected. We hope she will take a stroll through another District, say District 7,  see how critical this legislation is for improving both the health and business environment in Baltimore, and reconsider.

The Land Use and Transportation meetings are as follows:

Tuesday, September 24th
5:15 pm
Topics: Introductory matters, Definitions, Code Administration & Zoning Districts.
Location: Check City Council website for location updates.

Saturday, September 28th, 10:00 am
10:00 am
Topics: Open Space & Environmental Districts; Detached & Semi-Detached Residential Districts
Check City Council website for location updates.

Thursday October 3rd
6:30 pm
Topics: Non-Conforming Liquor Stores; Use Standards for Liquor Stores and Taverns
Location: Towanda Community Center of Park Heights

Wednesday, October 9th
5:15 pm
Topics: Commercial Districts; Special Purpose Districts. Location: University of Maryland-Bio Park
Location: University of Maryland-Bio Park

Tuesday, October 15th
5:15 pm
Topics: Planned Unit Developments, Off Street Parking & Loading
Location: Check City Council website for location updates

Tuesday, October 22nd
6:30 pm
Topics: Rowhouse & Multi-Family Residential Districts
Location: Christo Rey Jesuit High School (pending). Check City Council website for location updates.

Monday, October 28th
5:15 pm
Topic: Industrial Districts
Location: Location: Benjamin Franklin at Masonville Cove High School

Thursday, November 7th
6:30 pm
Topics: Use Standards; Site Development Standards
Location: Check City Council website for location updates

Wednesday, November 13th
5:00 pm
Topics: Development Reviews; Applications & Authorizations; Non-Conformities; Enforcement & Appeals
Location: City Hall – 4th Floor City Council Chambers (Will be televised)

Wednesday, November 20th
2:00 pm
Topics: All Text, Maps, Tables & Figures
Location: City Hall – 4th Floor City Council Chambers

Check the the City Council Website here to confirm dates, times, and locations

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Michael Snidal

Michael Snidal

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