The Nighttime Economy Task Force met on October 21st, 2013 for their final meeting to discuss, finalize and approve their recommendations. Though the recommendations were submitted by committee, they appear under the county department that would be tasked with implementation if approved by the County Executive. The full report explaining each recommendation can be found here.
Department of Economic Development
- Create a concierge service that promotes positive customer service, assists with streamlining the planning and permitting process, and facilitates working relationships with multiple departments for the business consumer.
- Develop a targeted strategic plan for attracting new companies to the County, fostering entrepreneurship, and growing our existing businesses based upon the target markets.
- Create, develop, and implement a marketing program for the County.
- Charge the Department of Economic Development with making information and resources available to property owners and artists in Arts & Entertainment Districts.
- Develop and implement a program to publicly recognize and promote venues that pay musicians to perform, and create a sunsetting tax credit to encourage small venues to support musicians by paying them a reasonable wage and becoming part of this program.
Department of Environmental Protection
- Amend the County’s noise ordinance to allow for the establishment of Urban Noise Areas around appropriate locations (e.g., Rockville’s Town Square, Silver Spring’s Veterans Plaza and downtown); increase the allowable noise levels for qualifying arts and entertainment activities in these areas to 85 dBA (measured at 100 feet from stage, PA, or other center of the performance); increase the time allowed for these levels to midnight; and ensure that nearby residents are informed prior to moving in of the possibility of event-related noise.
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
- Encourage more housing options
Department of Liquor Control
- Develop an educational Patron Responsibility Program
- Utilize the Alcohol Beverage Advisory Board (ABAB) to study and make recommendations regarding special orders, product placement, and customer service for the Department of Liquor Control.
- Formalize the Department of Liquor Control Early Assistance Team and County Safety Alliance.
- Expedite completion and implementation of the Department of Liquor Control Warehouse Management system in order to effect immediate improvements to selection, ordering, and delivery processes.
- Support an Office of Legislative Oversight study, in conjunction with CountySTAT and other agencies as appropriate, to better understand how the Department of Liquor Control can improve its services and efficiencies in support of our nighttime economy.
- Extend the hours of operation for venues with beer/wine/liquor licenses to 2 am on Sundays through Thursdays, and to 3 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and the Sundays before Monday federal holidays.
- Expedite the creation of a social venue license, and modify the current alcohol to food ratio under the Class B beer/wine/liquor license from 50/50 to 60/40, to reflect the change in increased demand for higher quality, higher priced alcoholic beverages and to encourage establishment and operation of venues that host live music and other events.
Department of Permitting Services
Simplify and streamline the process businesses must go through in order to open an arts and entertainment venue or hold an arts and entertainment event.
Department of Transportation
- Allow food trucks to operate in designated areas beginning at 10 pm until bars close for the evening.
- Improve awareness of parking options.
- Increase the number of taxi stands.
- Improve/expand the circulator service in focus areas.
- Expand the frequency and reach of late-night transit service.
- Enhance pedestrian and bicycle access.
Office of Management and Budget
- Support dedicated public safety resources for the nighttime economy in high density urban centers.
- Create Urban Parks Guidelines to activate public space through design elements, enhance the greater community, and foster multiple uses to appeal to a range of demographics at different times.
- Explore alternative, more attractive incentives for developers to include suitable, affordable performance spaces for small and emerging arts groups.
- Amend zoning standards to provide flexibility in meeting public use space and open space requirements.
- Support additional density in the County’s urban areas to foster a vibrant nighttime economy.
- Reduce opportunity for crime in urban areas by incorporating Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) techniques.
- To address concerns about possible increases in drunk driving incidents, expand the “Safe Ride” program to all weekends (Friday evening through early Sunday morning).
- Professionally manage and maintain public spaces through the private sector or through public-private partnerships (similar to the Bethesda Urban Partnership).
- Build capacity with a dedicated revenue stream to effectively manage marketing and execution of large-scale, public, free, hospitality zone-wide events and initiatives.
- Develop and implement a busker program to provide entertainment in urban areas.
- Increase funding for Business Improvement Districts and Urban Districts.