As written here before, residency requirements can be a significant (or at least annoying) hurdle to obtaining a liquor license in Maryland. Nearly every county requires that at least one of the licensees for any establishment to have been a resident of that county for some defined period prior to the issuance of the license (usually two years).
Prince George’s County is no longer one of those counties.
Effective July 1, 2015, applications for Prince George’s County liquor licenses must only have one applicant to be a resident of the state of Maryland. This change is particularly significant in Prince George’s County because the County’s liquor laws also require the resident applicant to have a substantial ownership interest in the business in question. When, as is often the case, the resident applicant does not have any real involvement in the business, this related ownership requirement creates organizational complications and potential legal vulnerabilities for the actual proprietor of the restaurant. Removing the county residency requirement minimizes these complications and streamlines the application process.
In addition to those benefits, the law change also recognizes that there are many businesspeople who live and operate in other counties (not to mention other states and the District of Columbia) who see Prince George’s County as an underserved jurisdiction with great opportunities for economic growth, but are wary of these county residency and ownership requirements. I know this because many of these businesspeople have been and are my clients, and they have been frustrated by these and other seeming barriers to entry. This change opens the County’s doors and makes it more welcoming to expanding restaurant businesses.
If you are interested in locating a bar or restaurant in Prince George’s County, or if you already hold a Prince George’s County liquor license, and are interested in how this law change may affect you, please do not hesitate to contact us.