Elkton Town Hall, June 9, 2010 – A suggestion that the town pass an ordinance to limit the consumption of single serve containers of beer on streets downtown lead to a discussion about how to handle this problem. Concerned about the sale of cans which are then consumed outside, Commissioner Jablonski informed the board that she’d pulled two ordinances other municipalities use to regulate that public behavior. “This has got to stop. That’s what’s hurting our downtown. They can drink them inside,” the commissioner advised.
The proposal created a series of questions. A couple of commissioners thought the ordinance should be for the entire town. To that the assistant town administrator, Kim Kamp, reported that the District of Columbia lost a similar case in court. “If we do it, do it for the entire town. Otherwise it might be discriminatory,” she added. Arguing that the regulation should solely apply to the central business district, Commissioner Jablonski remarked, “But you don’t have people walking on Route 40.” Others countered, “Well they’ll just start walking!”
The town attorney, Norman Wilson, noting that he was also the counselor for the liquor board advised that alcohol regulations were the responsibility of that county board. He suggested the town use laws it already has such as those addressing drinking in public and littering. “Unless they see them consuming something, they can’t do anything,” Commissioner Jablonski countered as she worried about tying up police resources.
As the exchange continued Commissioners Jablonski said, “Do you want people walking around with no shirts, drinking a can of beer in a brown bag, or do you want to eliminate that problem?” Those remarks caused Mayor Fisona to add, “Let’s do two things at once and go with the no shirt thing.” That created more uncertainty as someone quickly asked “What’s a shirt.” The mayor agreed saying, “I don’t want to get into another problem with the ACLU.”
With the pros and cons getting tossed back and forth and members of the board and staff indicating more research was needed on this important matter, Commissioner Jablonski advised, “I’m collecting letters. I have three right now.”