Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

Rules and Regulations Committee #4

Written by Becky Witt

Rules & Regulations Committee Meeting #4

The fourth Rules and Regulations Committee Meeting to recommend updates to the BLLC Rules and Regulations convened on September 9.

Commissioner Douglas Trotter was present at the meeting and told the committee members that he was glad that they are taking on this task and that the rules need to be updated. He said that the new commissioners have only been in place for eight weeks and are just getting their feet wet. As the businessman on the Board, Trotter said that his job is to “streamline the operations” and “modernize the department.” Trotter is looking forward to working with communities and the city in general. Though his office is outside the city, he owns “a couple” businesses in the city, so he is “very conscious of the city and what has to be done.” He has been a resident of Baltimore City for his entire life. He said that he will be focusing particularly on underage drinking as an issue.

Mr. Fine, as the chair of the committee, then suggested that the group finalize its recommendations on Section 1 of the proposed rules. Most of the suggestions remaining to be discussed were minor wording and grammatical changes.

Rule 1.10(b)(iv)License extensions: License extensions occur when a current licensee at an establishment requests special permission to expand their licensed premises to include, for example, a parking lot or a sidewalk where they are normally not allowed to sell alcohol. License extensions came up during the recent Craigs/Favorites Pub hearings; other establishments that regularly apply for extensions include Pickles Pub on Orioles game days and licensees at Belvedere Square during their Friday night concert events. Michelle Wirzberger had submitted suggested revisions to the license extension provision, which would have provided opponents with the ability to protest an extension of a license. Her suggestions extended the time by which the licensees must submit their application to extend their license and provided an avenue for protest. Mr. Kodenski, attorney for licensees, argued that a community protest wouldn’t work, because there might not be time to have a hearing, even if the licensee submits their application 20 days before the event. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth agreed with Kodenski that the timeline would be difficult, administratively, if community members wanted to protest. Sometimes Baltimore City agencies are late getting information (like permits) to the BLLC, which makes a 20-day deadline difficult for licensees. Mr. Abraham Hurdle, another attorney for licensees, argued that this issue would be better addressed at renewal time each year. The agency staff explained that extensions have been given as a matter of right if the licensees apply in a timely fashion. Mr. Fine, an attorney who represents licensees, said that a protest process would be too burdensome and that, instead, the Board could just refuse future one-day extensions, in the staff’s discretion, if they receive community complaints.

One Day/Temporary Licenses: The same issue was raised for one-day licenses. One-day licenses are for nonprofit organizations who are not licensees, who need licenses for special events like dinners, fundraisers, and festivals. The committee seemed more inclined to set up a protest process for these licenses, because there aren’t other ways to regulate these groups, because they are not licensees. The timeline is also longer for temporary licenses, especially for bigger events. The committee decided to consider making two categories of events, based on the number of people expected, and allow some way to submit a protest for the larger events (e.g., over 500 people).

Chapter 2, continued

Rule 2.02(f) Substitution of a Contract Purchaser: If a person, corporation, or partnership submits a substitute application for the purposes of being named a Contract Purchaser applies such application shall include: (i) A notarized copy of the signed contract, which must contain the specific terms of the agreement of sale of the license and/or business, between the licensee and the Contract Purchaser applicant; and (ii) Signed and notarized transfer authorization and bulk transfer affidavits.

(g) Substitution in cases of Death of a Licensee for Executor or Administrator of Licensee’s Estate: As per Art. 2B §10-506(a), upon the death of a holder of a license, the executor/administrator of the deceased’s estate can apply for a certificate of permission, which will allow the executor or administrator eighteen (18) months from the date of issuance to transfer the license, while the affairs of the estate are disposed. The total fee for the certificate of permission is one dollar ($1.00). To be issued the certificate of permission the executor or administrator’s application shall include: (i) A copy of an official death certificate of the deceased licensee; and (ii) A certified copy of the filing of the will with the Register of Wills of the jurisdiction of the deceased; and/or (iii) A certified copy of the letters of administration as authorized by the Register of Wills of the jurisdiction of the deceased (iv) Sufficient proof of identification of the applicant so as to allow the Board to determine that the applicant is the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

(h) Substitution in cases of Death of a Licensee for Surviving Spouse or Partner: As per Art. 2B §10-506(b), upon the death of a holder of a license, the surviving spouse, the surviving partners for the benefit of the partnership, or the senior surviving officer for the benefit of the corporation may apply for the issuance of a license through the substitution application. The license shall be issued only for the remainder of the license year. Such an application must include: (i) A copy of an official death certificate of the deceased licensee; and (ii) A certified copy of the filing of the will with the Register of Wills of the jurisdiction of the deceased; and/or (iii) A certified copy of the letters of administration as authorized by the Register of Wills of the jurisdiction of the deceased (iv) Sufficient proof of identification of the applicant so as to allow the Board to determine that the applicant is the surviving spouse, the surviving partners for the benefit of the partnership, or the senior surviving officer for the benefit of the corporation of the deceased. (i) Any new persons named to the license as a result of a substitution must meet all of the requirements outlined in and are subject to the provisions of Article 2B, Section 10-103. (j) The Board’s administrative staff may interview and conditionally approve any person who is proposed by the licensee as the new resident applicant on an existing license, subject to final approval by the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Becky Witt, staff attorney at Community Law Center, wondered whether the Board should create a deadline by which the deceased licensee’s estate should have to submit their certificate of permission. Article 2B states that the estate is allowed 18 months to transfer the license to a new owner after the certificate of permission is obtained, but gives no deadline by which the certificate of permission must be filed. This means that a license could be kept alive indefinitely if the estate never files its certificate of permission. Mr. Fine said that the Board should not create a deadline, because estates can be time-intensive to untangle.

Rule 2.04 – Renewals

This section was left essentially the same, as the text of the rule had been pulled directly from Article 2B.

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