Montgomery County Task Force Considers Proposals to Enhance Nightlife Offerings

Montgomery County’s Nighttime Economy Task Force, which has been studying ways to make the county more competitive as an after-hours destination, is considering proposals to loosen regulations on how and when alcohol can be consumed in the county.  From a Washington Post article:

The 19-member task force, drawn by County Executive Isiah Leggett from land use law firms, businesses and the arts and entertainment sectors, is expected to finalize its recommendations in October after a series of hearings. Loosening regulations on where, when and how alcohol is consumed is likely to be a major focus.

The panel is looking at proposals to extend bar hours to match those in the District, where closing time is 2 a.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday; 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. In Montgomery, weekday and Sunday hours currently end at 1 a.m.; 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Task Force is also examining noise ordinances and other regulations dealing with food trucks, cafes, and outdoor movies.  A Washington Post article published prior to the Task Force being appointed describes County Executive Leggett’s vision for the group.

County Executive Isiah Leggett wants to make Montgomery more competitive with the District and Arlington County for the coveted millennial demographic, or “Generation Y” — roughly defined as those between ages 18 and 34. Plans include a revised set of policies that officials hope will spawn the next U Street corridor, Adams Morgan or Clarendon — dynamic, walkable communities where the young will not only play but also live and work.

“You have to make the county more appealing,” Leggett said. “You have to make sure that sense of vitality is there.”

This is similar to the theory of change promoted for the past decade by University of Toronto urbanist Richard Florida, who says cities can regenerate economically by attracting a robust “creative class.” That means young professionals in technology fields along with musicians, artists, gay people, writers and creative elites he calls “high bohemians.”

MACo’s summer conference keynote speaker, Jason Broadwater, referred to this theory during his session titled, “How Talent and Culture Create Jobs.” During his comments, Mr. Broadwater emphasized that recruiting talent lies in culture, education, experience and opportunity.  He said that talent wants to contribute, to buy in and to revitalize communities.  He also offered suggestions for engaging millennials in urban districts and main street communities.

Jason Broadwater Keynote Presentation