Fell’s Point Community Organization votes to oppose liquor license transfers from outside

The Fell’s Point Community Organization at its last meeting voted to oppose liquor licenses coming in from outside of Fell’s Point, said Joanne Masopust, FPCO’s president.

“FPCO believes that Fell’s Point already has too many liquor licenses,” Masopust said, adding that restaurants serving liquor would be handled on a “case-by-case basis.”

By law, a liquor license can be transferred from anywhere within the legislative district, but when neighborhood groups object, the transfer can become more challenging.

“Current law allows a transfer from anywhere in the 46th,” Masopust acknowledges, “but we’re trying to get the law changed,” she said.

Masopust says FPCO is not anti-bar, but believes that Fell’s Point needs more retail business–particularly retail that “serves the neighborhood.”

“We used to have drug store and food store nearby, within walking distance. We don’t anymore,” she said.

The Fresh Foods Market at 517 S. Broadway burned in June of last year. The shell of the building, supported by steel beams, remains standing, but no business activity has been visually apparent over the last 13 months.

FPCO is not the only neighborhood association considering opposing transfers of liquor licenses into Fell’s Point.The Fell’s Point Residents Association is also contemplating the future of licenses being transferred into Fell’s Point from outside of the neighborhood.

“Are we going to have a policy to oppose opening a new bar in Fell’s Point with a license from outside of Fell’s?” Arthur Perschetz, president of FPRA, asked the membership at its July meeting.

“We tabled the outside liquor license issue until September,” wrote Daniel Atzmon, a board member of FPRA, in an email.

“As it’s a complicated issue, we thought it best to present a clear proposal in writing, which would make it easier for an informed vote.”

In O’Donnell Square, legislation was adopted in 2003 to prevent any transfers of outside liquor licenses into the square, and also preventing liquor licenses from transferring within the square. The “church rule”—O’Donnell Square has a Catholic church at one end and a Lutheran church at the other—keeps licenses from transferring within 300 feet of a church or other place of worship.

Legislation was adopted this year that allows establishments inside O’Donnell Square to move to other locations within the square, but outside liquor licenses may still not be transferred in.

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