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Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium Listening Session Tonight

by Borderstan.com May 21, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

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

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont will listen to local residents’ comments about the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium tonight, May 21, at 7 pm. Members of ANC 2B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Adminstration (ABRA) Policy Committee is sponsoring the meeting. It will be in the ground-floor ballroom of the Chastleton (1701 16th Street NW, between R and S Streets).

There is currently a moratorium on new liquor licenses on 17th Street NW. (Photo: Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.)

There is currently a moratorium on new liquor licenses on 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This moratorium zone includes most of 17th Street between P and S Streets, and will expire on September 23.

After public hearings, ANC 2B will make a recommendation to DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board concerning the further extension of the moratorium zone. The ABC Board will then make the final decision. The ABC Board is legally required to give the ANC’s recommendations “great weight,” which often includes addressing an ANC’s concerns in writing in the Board’s final decisions.

ANC 2B may shape its recommendation to the ABC Board in a number of ways. For example, it may recommend that the moratorium be abolished altogether, or that the shape of the zone be changed, or that the number of certain (or all) categories of liquor licenses (e.g., taverns, restaurants) be increased or decreased, or that a certain number of current liquor licensees be given or denied permission to expand their businesses, among other possibilities.

About the Dupont East Moratorium

Some facts about the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium:

  • “[I]t is the Board’s position that moratoriums are not meant to be in place indefinitely. The existing East Dupont Circle moratorium has been in place for over eighteen (18) years and there has been a great deal of change in the neighborhood it is intended to preserve.” This quotation is from the September 24, 2010, “Notice of Final Rulemaking” of DC’s ABC Board. This officially documents the most recent extension of the Dupont East Moratorium zone. It is Notice ID 530510 of the DC Register.
  • The above document is not available on the ABRA web page about DC liquor license moratoriums. The link on this page purporting to connect to this document instead leads you to a transcript of a March 29, 2009, ABC Board fact-finding hearing granting a 30-day extension of the existing moratorium to allow time for administrative processing.
  • There are five liquor license moratoriums in DC. The others are Dupont West, Adams Morgan, Glover Park and Georgetown.
  • ABRA Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman said in March that no DC liquor license moratorium, once enacted, has ever been repealed.
  • The previous extensions of the Dupont East Moratorium zone were championed by the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association.
  • Before its latest extension in 2010, the Dupont East Moratorium zone was extended in 2005-6 (see document here). At the times of both the 2005-6 and the 2009-10 extensions, short-term moratorium extensions were necessary to ensure continuity. This was seemingly due to the slow and laborious process of public hearings, document preparation, voting, appeals, etc., on the full extension. The need to, at the same time, go through the paperwork for temporary extensions resulted in further patchwork of public hearings, documents, etc. This time, ANC 2B appears to be making an effort to have a decision about the long-term future of the moratorium ready for ABC Board consideration before the expiration of the current moratorium in September. If they can do it, it will be a savings in taxpayer money, as well as time and aggravation for everyone involved.

Local residents will have another chance to comment at a second listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. On Wednesday, August 7, ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee will publicly present its a draft proposal for the first time. The full ANC will consider the committee’s proposal at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee can also be contacted by email at abra[at]dupontcircleanc.net.

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