Bill Limiting the Sale and Location of Tobacco Products in 2nd Reading (PGC Council)
At yesterday's Prince George's County Council meeting, the Council had the second reading on CB-80-2022. As written, this bill would amend the County's zoning ordinance to clarify the definition of "convenience store" to exclude primarily selling tobacco, tobacco-related products, and electronic cigarette products for on or off-site consumption. The bill also adds a minimum distance requirement between convenience stores selling tobacco or tobacco accessories to guard against use saturation. If enacted, CB-80-2022. will affect 109 convenience stores in the County, of which 41 are within one mile of another convenience store.
The full list of store affected can be found below:
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) staff, in their letter to the Council Chair regarding CB-80-2022 cited a number of concerns about this bill. The N-NCPPC believes that the proposed legislation could be difficult to enforce. There were questions about how a determination would be made about sales within the convenience store related to tobacco, tobacco products or accessories, electronic cigarettes, or other electronic devices. Regarding the enforcement of this prohibition, the M-NCPPC was also unsure who will measure and enforce the proposed distance criteria to other convenience stores.
When the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED) next met to discuss CB-80-2022, they developed an updated draft to incorporate language to address some of the Planning Commission staff's concerns as well as comments from residents who testified about the bill. The updated draft moved away from a percentage-based limit on sales to limiting the size of the area selling tobacco products. In addition, based on the comments from the public during the PHED's public hearing on this bill, the second draft made the change from 2,000 feet to one mile. The committee also added a Principal Use regulation to the ordinance. "Principal use," for those unfamiliar, means the use of a zoning lot which is among the uses allowed as a "matter of right" under the zoning classification. In Tuesday's hearing, it was stated that the County's Principal Use tables would be included as well to show readers that the addition to the ordinance has regulations to accompany it.
If you would like more information, such as the timing of a final vote, please contact the bill's sponsor, Council Member Jonathan Medlock. He can be reached via email at CouncilDistrict6@co.pg.md.us or contact his office at (301) 952-3426. The changes to the County's Zoning ordinance can be found below.
Proposed changes to the County's Zoning Ordinance: