Running Hare Vineyard Unable To Host Hospice Fundraiser Due To Calvert County Government Ruling

UPDATE – Hospice Of The Chesapeake’s Calvert County Culinary Event Moves To New Venue

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Running Hare Vineyard released the following update on Monday, May 8, 2023:

We regret to inform you all that we will be unable to host the Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Annual Culinary Event scheduled for this Friday, May 12th, due to a ruling from the Calvert County Government.

While we have hosted this event for the past 8 years, having helped Calvert Hospice (now Hospice of the Chesapeake), raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, we will be unable to do so this year. We are being told that charitable events are classified as public events, which we are currently unable to host due to a ruling from the Calvert County Government. We were previously told that charitable events were not classified as public events, and as such, would be allowed. We would not have scheduled this event if we did not believe we had the proper zoning to do so. We are currently permitted to host private events in our fully permitted Tuscan Villa which has no outstanding zoning issues.

We reached out to the current Board of County Commissioners for help regarding this zoning interpretation for this specific event. While we have not received any feedback from any members of the board directly, we were happy to learn and would like to thank Commissioner Todd Ireland for taking the initiative to bring this issue before the board for a vote. Unfortunately, our understanding is that other members of the board ultimately voted to not allow this Hospice fundraiser to occur on our premise. While this decision certainly resides within their rights, we feel it ignores the importance of what Hospice means to this community, ignores the fact that the event was to occur in a fully permitted building with no zoning issues, and lacks sufficient rationale to justify the forcing of Hospice to find a new venue.

We are frustrated on a number of fronts.

We are first and foremost frustrated that Hospice has to deal with the ramifications of this decision. They do not deserve to be dealing with the challenge of finding a new venue less than a week before their scheduled event.

We are frustrated that we learned of this vote and its decisions not from the Board of County Commissioners, but indirectly.

We are frustrated that we have been able to host this event for the past 8 years, but now we are unable to support Hospice by hosting this event.

We are frustrated that businesses in Calvert County are limited or excluded from participating in fundraising endeavors, rather than being allowed and encouraged to help, simply due to outdated zoning laws. This decision will certainly limit our ability to participate in fundraising events in the future. Other Calvert County venues have had to turn away Hospice from hosting their event due to similar zoning issues.

We are frustrated that the Zoning Ordinance of Calvert County has some flawed rationale as it pertains to the true purpose of any zoning ordinance which is the preservation of the land itself. This is due to a structural issue within the Zoning Ordinance of Calvert County that needs to be addressed. While properties in the Calvert County Agricultural Preservation program can host an unlimited number of private events per year once their facility is approved, they are only allowed to host two public events per year. Because of our current zoning dispute with Calvert County, we are unable to host even one public event. The sad irony of this entire situation is that while we are not permitted to donate our space and assist in raising money for Hospice, we can hold a wedding for the same number of people, but because weddings are considered private events, they are allowed. It does not make sense that some types of events are ok and others are not in a fully licensed facility. We were told that this legislation would change to allow many more public events when we opened in 2008. Fifteen years later, it remains the same.

We hope to come to a resolution which will allow us and other venues and agritourism businesses to continue to support charities in Calvert County. We look forward to continuing to work with the Calvert County Government in order to get these issues resolved and to help make a Calvert County a better place to live and work.

If you would like to support Hospice of the Chesapeake, please click the link below.

Join the Conversation


  1. If you were a firehouse hosted a has-been country artist they would have approved it no problem.

  2. Thank you Mike Hart. Maybe if it was a golf course they outcome would be different. Vote that rat face out Calvert!

    1. Vote Ireland out also he’s no better, not sure how he got in in the first place. Tyrant.

  3. Just another example of “government” not being able to step back, look at things and make decisions for the better of it’s people.

  4. I find the lack of common sense ridiculous. I bet if the Commissioners needed a fundraiser for a family members event, it would be approved, no questions asked! BS!

  5. Funny how these backwoods government officials are hell bent in flexing their government reach over everyone they can strong arm even if it means hurting charities, yet I bet they go out and complain about federal government size and over regulation… kettle meet the pot.

  6. Funny how these backwoods governments will impose their reach as far as they can even when it hurts charities and makes zero sense, yet when out talking to folks will complain about big government being a problem with this country… kettle, meet the pot.

  7. This seems to be a bad decision on the county’s part. Why is our local media not doing an unbiased investigative report on this? What’s the story here? I have heard a little of the ‘Other’ side of the story but it’s all hear-say. It would be nice to know what the County’s position is so we as voters know what to do in the next election.

  8. According to your Facebook page, you knew, in March, that you were banned from public events until you were back in compliance. You also knew that you were in violation of zoning laws since 2020. Maybe if you took responsibility instead of blaming the county for enforcing the ban you got a month ago, instead of lying to us about being allowed to host charity events, Hospice of the Chesapeake wouldn’t be forced to find a new venue last minute.

  9. Funny how this article written by Running Hare is being written as if it’s legitimate journalism instead of what it is: a grumpy rant by a business that knows they’re out of compliance with local laws and (seemingly) refuse to resolve the issues. Instead, they place the blame on the county when Running Hare is the one trying to bend or break laws so they can host events without paying appropriate taxes.

  10. They should really investigate how most Calvert County employees are cheating on their time with new time sheet software. Heard most do shady stuff taking lunches in mornings so can come in late or clocking out for lunch at end of day. Bad enough half of them sleep in trucks all day parked. Want to save tax payers money why so many doing nothing but driving big F350 trucks with nothing in them I guess gas cheap or County!

  11. Seems as if Running Hare feels entitled to make their own rules and cry like a spoiled child when they don’t get their way. Simply meet the zoning requirements and help Hospice.

    1. Exactly Joe, when you (Running Hare) follow the rules and comply with the zoning ordinances, then you too can hold your events. I am not saying they are easy to deal with, but when you comply and do the right thing, things flow smoothly and are approved.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *