(May 3, 2019) The continued commercial growth in West Ocean City won’t necessarily mean a corresponding increase in liquor licenses, the number of which seems to fluctuate minimally from year to year.
April Payne, county liquor license administrator, said the number of licenses issued annually vary by single digits at most.
“They never plummet and they never skyrocket,” she said.
At present, Payne said Worcester County has roughly 320 active liquor licenses issued.
“Licenses typically fall out in March [and] people come in to replace those expiring,” she said.
Payne said the Board of License Commissioners, which approves issuance and renewal, holds public hearings to consider transferals and new applications.
“We get new resident agent applications all the time,” she said.
The three-member Board of License Commissioners, which is appointed by Maryland’s governor, also fields complaints from residents or law enforcement officials regarding currently licensed establishments and conducts annual reviews for renewals.
The board is also charged with overseeing that all state taxes owed by license holders are paid in full.
Payne said the past few months have seen a few new issuances and transfers of existing licenses in West Ocean City.
On April 16, the new Flagship Premium Theaters in the White Marlin Mall, which is slated to open this month, received approval from the Board of License Commissioners for a Class “B” beer/wine 7-day license.
“They have to prove their property offers something else the community is not offered,” she said.
Payne also noted on March 6 the board approved a Class “B” beer/wine and liquor seven-day license transfer for a new Dough Roller location in West Ocean City.
“Applebee’s turned in their license and now we have a Dough Roller,” she said.
The Applebee’s on Ocean Gateway closed in November 2018.
“Licenses in the county are granted based on public need [and] all the license holders have to prove public need,” she said.