A Bethesda church's Christmas tree lot has been shut down by Montgomery County, reports the The Washington Post.
North Bethesda United Methodist Church has operated a Christmas tree lot on its grounds at Lone Oak Drive and Old Georgetown Road the past six years. Every year, it opened closely following Thanksgiving. The money all went to a good cause: helping fund church programs and missions.
This year, the church opened the lot on Nov. 29, and three days later, a county inspector showed up putting a halt to their fund raising sales, the Post reported. Turns out the church was in violation of a law enacted more than 30 years ago making it illegal to see Christmas trees in Montgomery County before Dec. 5. Anyone caught selling trees prior to that date is subject to a $500 fine.
The newspaper reported that the inspector also found the church in violation of another county code: their signage along a fence was a bit to big. Although their tree sales were stopped, the church was not fined for either infraction.
It's not known who tattled on the church and County officials aren't saying who. It appears Montgomery County is the only county in the area with this law and, now that it has been brought to their attention, several council members are looking into changing it.
And if you're wondering, the church got the green light to start selling trees again.