AN URGENT PLEA FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE...

The proposed Zoning Text Amendment to allow a microbrewery to exist in the Commercial District in Kent County, Maryland will have a Public Hearing in the County Commissioner's meeting room at 400 High Street, Chestertown, MD on August 27th, 2013 at 6pm.

The text of the Zoning Text Amendment can be found on the Kent County website here.

Anyone interested in having a microbrewery come to Kent County is encouraged to make their views known by writing a letter, sending an email, or testifying in person the evening of the meeting.

Even if you do write a letter or an email, please consider attending so as to demonstrate -- by the sheer number of people in the room -- that the community wants this text amendment change to occur as currently proposed and without modifications. Any additional (locally-imposed) restrictions beyond the current State definition of a microbrewery make Kent County a much less attractive place to establish such a business relative to other locations in Maryland or Delaware.

LETTER OR EMAIL:

Letters/Emails of Support must be received by the County no later than August 22nd.

Please be sure to put "CHR4-2013 Microbrewery Legislation" as the subject of your message, and be sure to provide your full name and address at the end of the letter or email.

If you are not a resident of Kent County, but would be encouraged to visit Kent County if a microbrewery were to open here, feel free to include that in your remarks.

If you are a business owner or otherwise represent an organization, please make sure your letter is printed on your organization's letterhead, or fully identifies the organization that you're representing in the signature line of your email.

Emails can be sent to: kentcounty@kentgov.org

Letters should be addressed to:
Commissioners Ronald H. Fithian, William W. Pickrum, and William A. Short
re: CHR4-2013 Microbrewery Legislation
R. Clayton Mitchell, Jr. Kent County Government Center
400 High Street
Chestertown, MD 21620

Here are some points you may wish to consider when writing a letter or email of support:

- The Kent County Comprehensive Plan specifically mentions promoting development of small, locally-owned businesses, developing year-round attractions, and attracting young people to Kent County.
- Microbreweries are known tourist destinations for beer aficionados, which enhances our existing tourism industry.
- A microbrewery in Kent County could collaborate with others in Delaware and Maryland to encourage regional activities to everyone's benefit ("Ale Trail", anyone?).
- A microbrewery could utilize locally-grown ingredients, such as hops, benefitting our agricultural community.
- A microbrewery could collaborate with our local hotel and B&B community for tour packages or other specials that will benefit their businesses.
- Local restaurants that can serve a locally-made beer will appeal to their patrons.
- The existing Commercial District already allows restaurants as a permitted use.
- Conceptually, the major difference between a restaurant and a microbrewery is that instead of food made/consumed on premises, beverages are made/consumed on premises.
- A Tasting Room in a microbrewery (or a winery) is not the same as a regular "bar." While they may serve beer or wine by the glass, Tasting Rooms usually serve/sell alcoholic beverage products that are made on the premises.

TESTIFYING IN-PERSON:

I will be testifying at the Public Hearing. If you would also like to make remarks that night, you'll need to sign your name on a list that will be at the back door of the meeting room.

Choosing to testify in-person the night of the hearing would be tremendously appreciated and highly effective, as your remarks can build upon (or refute) what prior speakers have said. However, I fully understand that many people may be nervous with public speaking, and want you to make your voice heard however you're most comfortable doing so.

No matter which option you choose, I'll be very grateful for your support of this Zoning Text Amendment.