Perryville proposes to update zoning plans
— Trying to stay one step ahead of the changing business landscape, town officials are looking at a draft of changes to the zoning ordinance.
Mayor Jim Eberhardt and Commissioner Robert Ashby had specific concerns at the town work session where the proposal was discussed. Eberhardt wanted to know if the existing ordinances would guide Perr yville on the location of such things as hookah bars and methadone clinics. Ashby wanted the same information on detoxification clinics.
“There’s a section for clinics and clinic services,” Diana Battaglia, planning
and zoning coordinator, told the board. “There are a lot of conditions.”
Among them, she noted was a clinic’s proximity to schools and houses of worship.
“What is the right location,” the mayor asked. “They are needed, but where do we want them?”
Towns, including Perryville, had similar conversations more than 20 years ago when adult book stores popped up in neighboring Harford County. Towns worked to revise zoning then to have control over where such establishments could be located. Zoning regulations have to allow for any legal business, but zoning codes can decide where they are permitted.
Battaglia said the location and regulation of hookah bars is already established at the state level.
“Wherever cigarettes are sold, you can sell them,” she said, adding hookahs, or water pipes for smoking tobacco products, are considered a cigarette product by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.
“They have hookah bars in Delaware,” Commissioner Michelle Linkey noted.
Ashby countered that wouldn’t be likely in Perr yville.
“In Maryland, you can’t smoke inside,” Ashby said, referring to the 2007 law passed by the Maryland General Assembly.
Hookah bars or lounges were exempted, however, and are now cropping up across the state.
The draft also adds language for farm markets and farm production, which specifically spells out that no farm animals are allowed in town limits in a residential district.
Another revision turns the approval process for events, including outdoor festivals and craft shows, over to the zoning administrator rather than the elected body.
Language was also added to allow for sidewalk cafes and drive- in movie theaters.
Tattoo parlors could also pop up in additional districts if approved, including C- 2 and the CEMUD zones.