ANNAPOLIS — The Frederick County delegation voted to send a letter of support of Del. Dan Cox’s (R-Frederick and Carroll) proposal to add Mount Airy to the state’s urban renewal program, along with other proposals at a meeting Thursday.
Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) was the only delegation member who voted not to support Cox’s bill, as he disagreed with some aspects of that urban renewal law — including eminent domain and the ability of municipalities to set high tax rates on buildings they believe are dilapidated or in disrepair.
But Cox noted that more than 60 municipalities statewide have the law in place to help them deal with run-down property in those jurisdictions.
He added that the law requires municipalities to target buildings in disrepair and that there was a high legal bar to meet when determining if it is a “slum” property, given the state constitution.
The bill would also allow Mount Airy to pursue further grant options to help with such properties and revitalization, Cox said.
“This is important, because a municipality cannot receive federal renewal grants without this law on the books,” Cox said.
The delegation did not support Del. Ken Kerr’s (D-Frederick) bill to include Frederick County in a list of jurisdictions where breweries, distilleries and wineries with tasting rooms or event spaces to apply for a Class L license. That license allows those businesses to sell craft beverages at special events other than the ones those businesses make on the premises.
Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick) said he was worried that change could cause those businesses to essentially become bars. Kerr disagreed, noting the early closing times of many of the businesses his bill would affect.
The Class L proposal was voted down by the delegation, with Kerr and Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick) in support in a 6-2 vote.
The delegation also voted to send letters of support for the following initiatives:
- A bill from Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) that would allow Clustered Spires Golf Club to hold its own alcohol license, instead of the city owning it through a vendor. That passed in a 8-0 vote after lengthy discussion, and members agreed the cutoff for alcohol sales would be 10 p.m.
- Another bill from Krimm that would stipulate how state aid is given locally under the Joseph A. Sellinger program, which offers money to college students statewide. It would prioritize awarding aid to Frederick County high school students who are looking to attend Mount St. Mary’s University or Hood College. That passed in a 8-0 vote.
- A bill from Lewis Young that would give limited voting rights to the student member of the county’s Board of Education. Those would include looking at policy related to students’ responsibilities and rights, but not any control over the budget or personnel matters. That passed 5-3. Hough voiced his opposition, stating that the delegation would be asked to vote on allowing more rights in the coming years like other jurisdictions statewide. Del. Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick and Carroll) also voted no, but noted earlier in the meeting he would sign off on a letter of support, given his duties as delegation chair.