Citizens may protest the issuance of a new license, a transfer of location, a transfer of ownership of an establishment closed due to creditors' actions or closed over 90 days or the expansion of an existing license in the following ways:
- By individual letter giving the name and address of the establishment and basis for protest
- By petition signed by residents, property owners and other affected individuals setting forth name and address of establishment and basis for protest
- By personal appearance before the Board at the public hearing concerning the proposed application
- Protestants may invoke Alcoholic Beverages Artcile 12-1508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland which provides that if more than 50 percent of the real property owners and certain tenants object to the issuance of the license in a very precise manner, the Board must deny the application. Although the requirements of this section are difficult to fulfill, there have been denials under this provision. An attorney or someone well versed in legal proceedings may be helpful if protestants wish to object under this specific provision of the law.
Protest Of Renewal
All permanent licenses issued by the Board are annual licenses and are valid from May 1st through April 30th of each year. Licensees must file renewal applications during the month of March to renew the license for the next year. There is no application fee to file a renewal but late renewal filings are subject to a $50 per day penalty which the Board may impose.
Under Alcoholic Beverages Article 4-406, if ten or more residents and/or property owners in the immediate vicinity in which the licensed place of business is located object to the renewal of the license based on specific complaints, as per Alcoholic Beverages Article 12-185, to the licensees' establishment during the past license year, the Board may not renew the license until a public hearing has been held. Such protest of renewal hearing must take place during the month of April. At the hearing, it is necessary that the protestants appear to substantiate the basis of their complaints.
Under the same law, the Board, on its own initiative, may protest the renewal of a licensed premises based on specific complaints. If the Board protests the renewal of a licensed premises without input from the community, testimony at the protest of renewal hearing by community residents would be limited to the specific complaints set forth by the Board in its notice to the licensee(s).
If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please feel free to contact the Liquor Board office at (410) 396-4377 or 396-4378.