From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
The liquor licensing (ABRA Policy) committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont will hold a meeting tonight, June 24. Time is 7 pm in the ground-floor ballroom of the Chastleton Cooperative (1701 16th Street NW).
The meeting will be the second of three listening sessions on the possible extension of the East Dupont Circle Moratorium Zone, also known as the 17th Street Moratorium. The ANC asks that members of the public come and let ANC commissioners know their opinion on the moratorium, which is set to expire September 23.
Representatives of the Metropolitan Police Department and DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) have also been invited to attend the meeting.
According to a new blog post on ANC2B’s website, the moratorium was put in place in 1990. It was renewed in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. It currently limits the liquor-selling establishments in the zone to two liquor stories, two grocery stores, 16 restaurants, and two taverns. No nightclub licenses are permitted in the moratorium zone.
There are currently five liquor license moratoriums in DC, including East Dupont Circle. No liquor license moratorium, once in effect, has ever been completely repealed.
After consulting community opinion, the ANC may make a recommendation to DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on this matter. The ANC may recommend continuing the moratorium or modifying it. Under law, the ABC Board must give ANC opinions “great weight,” but it is not obligated to agree with ANC opinion.
ABC Board decisions on liquor license moratoriums are normally approved by the DC Council and signed into law without modification.
At a meeting of ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee meeting on June 19, ANC 2B Committee Chair Kevin O’Connor said, based on his observation of the ANC Board’s reaction to the recent debate on the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium, the Board would be unlikely to agree with a resolution to continue the moratorium without modification.
“An ‘as is’ moratorium would be dead on arrival,” he said.
If the ANC decides to let the moratorium expire, it may simply choose to take no action. However, community groups may independently petition the ABC Board for an extension of the moratorium.
At the previous listening session on May 22, opinion was divided on the moratorium, with nearly equal numbers of speakers for and against. A compromise solution to lift the moratorium on new restaurant liquor licenses only was discussed.
If you can’t make the meeting, the ANC is also encouraging people to send their comments by email to 17thStCommissioners [at] dupontcircleanc dot net.
There will be a final listening session on Wednesday, August 7. It is planned that the committee’s draft proposal will be made public at this meeting. After further public comment, the full ANC will then consider the proposal at its regular monthly meeting the following week, Wednesday, August 14.