County Executive Announces Initiatives To Help Local Craft Beverage Industry

One would make it easier to apply for outdoor activity permits.

Frederick, Md (KM)  Frederick  County’s  breweries, wineries and distilleries are one of the fastest growing local businesses. But County Executive Jan Gardner says many feel stymied. “We’ve heard that securing permits for serving food and hosting events can pretty complicated,” she said. “It requires people to navigate not just the county process, but the state regulations as well. And that can be frustrating.”

During her public information briefing on Tuesday, Gardner said one example would be a craft beverage maker holding a wine tasting, but wanted food trucks set up so patrons can have something to eat. As a result, Gardner said she’s forming a work group to identify and address the needs of this industry, specifically related to food trucks. “I’m asking the group to convene over the next few months to identify obstacles to food truck operations and to present recommendations to me by March 15th,” she said.

The work group will be chaired by Katie Albaugh, the County’s Agricultural Business Development Specialist. “Food trucks  have been a hot topic in Frederick County this year. They involve working with state, county and local partners,” Albaugh said. “The goals of this work group are to see what the regulations are currently, and to see what changes need to be made.”

The work group, which will have representatives from the Health Department and the Division of Planning and Permitting, will meet with food truck vendors and the craft beverage industry.

Also on Tuesday, Gardner said the County Division of Planning and Permitting will be offering a Seasonal Outdoor Activity Permit. She says in the past, anyone who wanted to have several outdoor activities during the summer would need to apply for multiple permits. “By allowing bundling in one permit  that could be used for multiple events that are  held over the course of several months, we thought that would help to streamline that process and make it easier, quite frankly,  for everybody in the industry, and for us as well,” she said.

Planning and Permitting Director Steve Horn said the seasonal permit would still require the vendors to provide information  on contractors who are looking out after the health and safety of those persons attending their events. “For example, vendors who are subcontracted to provide things like sanitary facilities, traffic control, or food services will need those to be identified in the permit application,” he said.

But this new permitting process is expected to make things easier for the applicants. “By bundling a number of these events under one permit, our goal will be to reduce the permit fees that are required. We want to increase the process efficiency and we also want to cut down on the red tape,” he said.

Horn said the application for a Seasonal Outdoor Activity Permit is available on line.

In other developments, County Executive Jan Gardner handed out commemorative plaques and certificates to two TransIT drivers. Jeffrey Raines was honored as “Fixed Route Driver of the Year,” and Madylen Hayward was recognized as “Paratransit Driver of the Year.”

TransIT also received recognition from the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition for putting five refurbished all-electric buses into service, and installing two charging stations.

By Kevin McManus