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Options on alcohol use policy considered

Sarah Harrington

(12/16) Thurmont’s Board of Commissioners is considering three options in order to restrict alcohol consumption in town owned properties. The town’s current policy holds that alcohol should not be consumed on town owned properties, this includes the town parks, town owned, and leased properties. The lack of clarity on the current policy was highlighted, however, after it was brought to the board’s attention that there was wine served at the Think Pink Paint Night event held at the new Main Street Center.

At the December 3rd town meeting, Mayor Kinnaird presented the board with three potential alternative approaches that the town might use to address alcohol consumption on town owned properties.

The first approach would be to allow the consumption of beer and wine at town owned properties – again with formal approval on a case-by-case basis - as long as the occupants follow the guidelines agreed upon by the board. These guidelines specifically include prohibiting hard liquor and spirits from being served under any circumstances, occupants must obtain liability insurance, beer and wine may only be served during receptions, open houses, and other events where there is no charge for admittance. No event may be held where guests bring their own alcohol. Beer and wine may not be served at any event that would normally require a license from the Frederick County liquor board unless a license is obtained.

The second option proposed by the mayor would be to allow beer and wine to be consumed at the Main Street Center and the Senior Center , without prior approval of the Board, as long as the organizations follow the proposed guidelines. However, alcohol use at all other events or activities on town property would need to be approved prior to an event.

The third policy approach would be to simply reject outright alcohol use on town owned properties.

Commissioner Burns voiced concerns about the right of the town to restrict alcohol use on leased properties, in particular the Senior Center. Burns noted that he was not sure the town had the right to tell leasees what can and cannot be done on their own property if it is not found in the original lease. Burns pointed out that if the lease currently written up for the property does not indicate that alcohol shouldn’t be served on the property, then it can be served. The Board’s questions regarding leased properties will be taken to the town’s lawyer to be reviewed.

The board agreed that the second option, which includes exception for the Main Street Center and the Senior Center would cause issues and needs to be thought over more.

Given the complexity of the issue the board agreed to provide more time for the options to be reviewed more thoroughly and allow public comment on the subject at a later date before making a final decision.

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