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1B Becomes Third ANC to Vote Down Liquor License Moratorium

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

ANC 1B Also says no to 14 and U Streets moratorium. (David McAuley)

ANC 1B joins ANCs 6E and 2F in opposing the proposed moratorium for the 14th and U area. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B officially joined the ranks of the opposition to the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, April 4. The vote was 10-0. Commissioners Juan Lopez, 1B-07, and E. Gail Anderson Holness, 1B-11, were absent and did not vote. ANC 1B includes the U Street area.

ANC 1B is now the third ANC to vote against the moratorium. It joins ANC 6E, which voted in February, and ANC 2F, which unanimously condemned the moratorium in a strongly worded resolution the previous evening, April 3. The remaining ANC within the borders of the proposed moratorium, ANC 2B, plans to vote at its May 8 monthly meeting.

ANC 1B Commissioner Jeremy Leffler, 1B-02, placed the resolution to oppose the moratorium in front of the full ANC. Leffler is the chair of ANC 1B’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee. He told the commission that the text of the resolution was very similar to ANC 2F’s resolution of the previous evening.

The vote came about two-thirds of the way through a marathon four-hour meeting. It was attended by more than 60 members of the public, most of whom were especially interested in the outcome of the moratorium vote.

"moratorium"

SDCA’s proposed liquor license moratorium zone for 14th and U NW area.

Attempts to Delay Vote

The resolution weathered two attempts to delay the vote. This first was by Joan Sterling, President of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), during her presentation in support of the petition.

The SDCA has been the driving force behind the petition and the only group remaining with standing to officially present it to DC’s ABC Board at its May 22 hearing.

“I’m surprised we’re taking a vote today — there’s still time,” Sterling said.

The second attempt to delay the vote was by Commissioner Ricardo Reinoso, 1B-05. During the commission debate on the resolution, Reinoso proposed a motion to table the vote until the next ANC1B meeting in May. The motion died when there was no second from the commission.

Norman Questions SDCA’s Approach

After Sterling presented to the committee, Chair Tony Norman, 1B-10, questioned Sterling about the SDCA’s approach.

“Before you filed this, why didn’t you approach the commissioners?” Norman asked. “It would have been respectful to approach us before.”

Sterling said she was waiting for the petition to be accepted by the ABC Board.

“We don’t have to wait for acceptance from a board for neighbors to talk to each other,” Norman replied.

Local Opposition Cited

In a presentation about the March 20 townhall-style listening session on the moratorium, Commissioner Leffler noted that 135 people had signed in for the session. Of the listening-session speakers who identified themselves as 1B residents, he said 81 percent were opposed. In addition, Leffler said he had a petition signed by 87 1B residents against the moratorium. Finally, Leffler entered the online anti-moratorium petition from change.org into the record. This petition contained more than 1,200 signatures, Leffler said.

Presentation on Possible Zoning Law Changes

The vote on the moratorium was only a small part of ANC 1B’s marathon session. The evening started out with a presentation from the DC Office of Planning. This office is spearheading a major rewrite of DC zoning laws citywide. At the urging of ANC 1B Chair Norman, Deputy Director Joel Lawson’s presentation took only a fraction of the time that his boss, Director Harriet Tregoning, used to cover the same material at the previous evening’s ANC 2F meeting.

“This is the fastest I’ve ever given this presentation,” Lawson said.

Lawson noted two potential impacts of the zoning rewrite on the U Street area. The first was the creation of transit zones along the major thoroughfares of the district, including the Georgia Avenue, Florida Avenue, U Street and 14th Street corridors. New buildings in these zones would no longer be required to include parking spaces in their design and construction.

The second potential impact may be new rules facilitating the opening of corner stores in residential neighborhoods. Lawson mentioned the intersections of 13th and 11th Streets and Sherman Avenue with Harvard, Fairmont, Euclid and Clifton Streets as possible places that might benefit from this change in zoning rules.

Compass Rose Settlement Agreement Approved

Well into its third hour, ANC 1B heard presentations by aspiring liquor licensees in search of ANC endorsement. ANC 1B unanimously approved the settlement agreement for Compass Rose. This agreement was the subject of a lengthy discussion at the previous meeting of ANC1B’s ABC committee on April 2.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 65 posts on Borderstan.

McAuley currently teaches English as a Second Language at the International Center for Language Studies in south Borderstan. He has been a Foreign Service husband for 27 years. He lived in Bulgaria, Thailand, Laos, Moldova, Romania, England, and exotic Arlington, Virginia, before moving to Borderstan in 2012. Make his day by liking his book reviews on Goodreads. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

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5 Responses to “1B Becomes Third ANC to Vote Down Liquor License Moratorium”

  1. Jihadist says:

    Whew, if it wasn’t for the ninety to one opposition this could have been close. One never knows if a “jihad” will be effective especially when someone with the stature of a “Chairman Emeritus” lines up against it. Gee, if only this Sterling broad and her cohorts had worked building process and consensus over the years instead of relying on last minute poses of desperation maybe they wouldn’t have been so publicly embarrassed. Step one might be to have their ANC appoint a chair to the ABRA committee who actually shows up to the meetings.

    If what Logan Res says is true then it would seem Sterling has become drunk on power. I too am a Logan res and we are glad to have gotten these creepy people off our backs. We need to be vigilant though it would appear. Sterling likes to humbly play Miss Homespun Simpleton but she her behavior belies her nature. Keep your act on Wallach Place Joan, you are not ready for a road show.

    • T Street says:

      Here’s the thing. They’re not embarrassed, not at all, because they really don’t care what the rest of us think.

  2. Logan Res says:

    SDCA has been active for a very long time opposing anything and everything planned for the neighborhood. They’ve attempted to block new buildings and have demanded that they be downsized which means less residents for the neighborhood. More residents means more demand for retail which is exactly what SDSC claims they want. Attempts to work with them have failed. Joan Sterling is now bombarding the DCRA’s Zoning office with requests for the square footage of every single building on every block in the entire overlay district to try to find one block that may be at or near the 50% food/beverage rule. She is costing the city tens of thousands of wasted tax dollars in her attempt to block small businesses from opening.

  3. Bob says:

    Perhaps SDCA can triple or quadruple the size of their proposed moratorium zone? That would give them some additional ANCs to play with. Of course, it’s doubtful they would increase the boundaries for THEIR club membership. The way SDCA drew its membership boundaries was such a blatant ploy to limit the club to a few handpicked people that it has backfired on them. Guess they thought no one would notice.

    Do they know about Facebook, Twitter and online news sites? These are probably the same people who only read print newspapers and watch the 7 pm nightly news on a network. It just never occurred to them that people would catch on and call them out. Of course, their tactics worked well for decades, so what the hell, they thought it was worth one more try.

  4. 1B resident says:

    This is very good to see. I’m hoping that the SDCA will read the writing on the wall, accept that the overwhelming majority of their neighbors are opposed to this, and work with instead of against the rest of us towards an acceptable, middle ground, solution.

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