Horse Track Run 800 by 1600 ANOTHER PUBLIC INPUT MEETING before the Maryland Racing Commission regarding the OTB application at the Timonium Fairgrounds is MANDATORY
On February 11, the Maryland Racing Commission held the required Public Input meeting for Timonium Fairgrounds’ and Maryland Jockey Club’s application for a OTB venue at the Timonium Fairgrounds.    The Racing Commission did not adequately plan for the meeting.  Hundreds more citizens came than there was space for them in the building.  Many were required to stand outside in 22 degree temperature.  Due to the inadequate facility, not all citizens, who wanted to speak, were allowed to sign up and/or speak.
The Chair of the Maryland Racing Commission announced that the vote on the OTB proposal will be held THIS week (Tuesday at 12:30pm in Laurel, MD).   This despite the fact that many of the witnesses were not heard.  This is totally unacceptable!  Another Public Input meeting must be held in Timonium prior to any vote of the Commission.
I did have an opportunity to testify and brought up another issue which needs to be resolved before the Board votes on this OTB application.   According to the Baltimore County Council attorneys, the zoning on the Timonium Fairgrounds property only allows OTB to occur during the ten days horse racing  is held.   It will be necessary for a change to be made to the current zoning in order to allow OTB beyond the current ten days.  This issue must be resolved before any vote of the Racing Commission is held.
It is imperative that this weeks plan for the Maryland Racing Commission to vote on the OTB application be postponed.   Another Public Input meeting must be held and the zoning issue resolved before the vote takes place.  
I ask this in the name of openness and transparency.   We have a new Administration in Annapolis, one which welcomes public involvement and has won the confidence of the people of this State.  To delay this vote, will serve to solidify the Governor’s reputation of being inclusive.
– The meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, 2016 is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC according to the Maryland Racing Commission website. You can preview the AGENDA here. The permit for this facility is scheduled to be considered second on the agenda, so show up early if you plan to attend.
– Councilmen Kach & Marks have introduced new legislation to the County Council that would make the operation of this facility illegal. You can view the details of the Bill: Bill 4-16 Mercantile Exposition Overlay District, at the Pending Legislation page on the county website. We ask that you contact council members to encourage their support for this critical piece of legislation. Contact information can be found here.
– The meeting to vote on approving the permit for thie OTB facility is being held at the following location:
Laurel Park
3600 Ft. Meade Road
Laurel, Maryland 20725
Telephone: 301-725-0400
Fax: 301-301-5697
– Despite having held the recent meeting, the minutes have not been posted publicly for your review, yet another example of a lack of transparency in the Maryland bureaucracy, and particularly as it relates to this sensitive and divisive issue for our community. As of the time of this post, the Maryland Racing Commission had failed to respond to a request for a copy of the minutes, so that we might make them publicly available to our community. The minutes page can be viewed here, should they post them eventually.


– You can contact the following individuals Tuesday morning to express your concerns regarding this issue:

Michael Hopkins – Executive Director Maryland Racing Commission

Call his office at: 410-296-9682

Email him here: Mike.hopkins@maryland.gov

Governor Larry Hogan

Call his office at: 410-974-3901

Email him via the following link: CONTACT GOVERNOR HOGAN

Kelly M. Schultz – Secretary, Maryland State Dept. of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation

Call her office here: 410-230-6388

Email her here: kelly.schultz@maryland.gov