73°Mostly Cloudy

by Borderstan.com May 23, 2013 at 8:00 am 4 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

14th and U Moratorium Meeting at ABRA. (David McAuley)

How much significance can you put into questions and remarks by government officials at a public hearing?

That’s the big question as DC’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board held its public hearing about the proposed 14th and U Liquor License Moratorium yesterday afternoon, May 22, at the stifling and sweaty Reeves Center (14th and U Streets NW).

The familiar forces repeated their arguments for and against the proposal, with moratorium petitioner Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance joined by its friends and supporters on one side, and representatives of the four Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) that had voted against the moratorium, and their supporters, on the other.

Members of the ABC Board posed questions and made statements to local residents testifying about the proposed moratorium. Like reporters observing Supreme Court Justices questioning lawyers about Obamacare, observers were left to wonder how much the Board members’ questions foreshadowed its future decision.

ABC Board chair Ruthanne Miller and Board member Mike Silverstein are representatives of Wards 3 and 2, respectively, on the seven-member board. Questions and statements made by these members indicated they were not immediately ready to approve a new moratorium. However, the two other attending members of the board — Donald Brooks (Ward 1) and Nick Alberti (Ward 6) — did not participate as actively in the discussions, giving no clue to their inclinations.

Skeptical on Non-liquor Business Crowd-Out

For example, several supporters of the moratorium said the proliferation of bars and restaurants in the U Street area was driving out other types of business. In reply, Miller said she knew the neighborhood had furniture stores, pharmacies, and many other types of businesses.

“Lots of your neighbors would love to have what you have,” Miller said.

Addressing the same point, Silverstein said, “There are going to be economic dislocations no matter what you do.”

ABC Board Improvements

During testimony, a moratorium advocate remarked ANC 2B/Dupont‘s anti-moratorium resolution had criticized the ABC Board’s administrative branch, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Agency, and called for greater transparency. This seemed an attempt to place moratorium advocates and the ABC Board on the same sides of the argument, arrayed against ANC 2B and moratorium opponents.

Miller had the resolution found and the relevant portions read.

At the end, she said, “Is that all? I’d like to see ways in which the ABC can be improved.”

Silverstein: Popular on Twitter

At another time, according to Twitter, Silverstein said the U Street neighborhood had said the moratorium “seems to come out of the factory of bad ideas”.

Another Twitter post noted that Silverstein had called U Street “a place the US President can take the President of France” for a chili dog. In the same breath, however, Silverstein also characterized U Street as a place where someone can throw up on your shoes, according to another Twitter post.

Last Chance for Public Comment

There is still time to submit written comments according to an ABC Board announcement:

“If you are unable to testify and wish to comment, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements must be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, D.C. 20009, no later than 4 pm on Friday, May 24, 2013.”

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

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.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com May 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 2B Meeting on May 8. David McAuley)

At its regular monthly meeting last night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont became the last of four ANCs inside the boundaries of the proposed 14th and U liquor license moratorium to condemn it. The vote was 6 to 1 in favor of a resolution against the moratorium; there was one abstention.

Commissioner Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, was the lone vote against the resolution. Commissioner Leo Dwyer, 2B-07, abstained. Commissioner Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, recused himself from the vote. Silverstein recuses himself from all ANC 2B alcohol licensing matters as he also serves on the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.

ANC 6E/Shaw, ANC 2F/Logan Circle and ANC 1B/U Street have already voted against the proposed moratorium. ANCs are advisory in nature; they cannot approve or reject legislation or rules. The DC Council and city agencies are to give their opinions strong consideration.

The moratorium will be the subject of a public hearing by DC’s Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration on May 22 at 1:30 pm at the Reeves Municipal Building, northwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. The hearing will take place in the Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor South. The Board is accepting email comment through Friday, May 17.

Next Up: East Dupont Circle Moratorium

The meeting gave one final chance for members and supporters of moratorium petition originator, Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), to repeat their case. Former and current leadership of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association also spoke in support of the SDCA’s petition. A few other members of the community also gave input, and some commissioners spoke about the rationale for their votes.

Abigail Nichols had recently suggested delaying the vote, but she did not propose a motion to do so at the meeting.

After its vote on the 14th and U moratorium, ANC 2B will turn its attention to the East Dupont Circle liquor license moratorium. This moratorium covers most of 17th Street between P and S Streets, and will expire on September 23.

ANC 2B will hold two listening sessions to hear citizen comment on the East Dupont Circle moratorium. The first listening session will be on Tuesday, May 21, at 7 pm, at the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th Street NW). This is a change from a previously-announced date of Monday, May 20.

There will be another listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. ANC 2B then plans to role out a draft presentation on the East Dupont Circle moratorium at its liquor licensing affairs committee meeting on Wednesday, August 7. The matter will then be considered by the full ANC at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

Garrison Elementary, Stead Park Battle for DC Funds

ANC2B joined ANC2F/Logan Circle in unanimously passing a resolution in support of accelerated funding for the renovation of Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street). The resolution calls for $16 million in funding for the renovation to be moved from the 2015 DC budget to the 2014 DC budget.

The co-chairs of the ANC 2F Education Committee, Commissioner Matt Connelly, 2F-08, and Evelyn Boyd Simmons, appeared at the meeting in support of the resolution. They brought the fresh news. DC Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) had just told a community meeting at Garrison the Council had found $8 million in the 2014 budget to begin the renovation.

At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Kishan Putta, 2B-04, announced that, after a local show of support and testimony by concerned citizens, the DC Council Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs had recommended $1.6 million for the renovation of Stead Park (1625 P Street) be moved to the 2014 budget. Putta pledged to work to get the recommendation included in the budget when it appears before the full DC Council on May 22.

Hotel Palomar: Valet Parking Problems

The ANC unanimously passed a resolution noting unsafe valet parking practices by the Hotel Palomar (2121 P Street). The Commission noted photographs showing the hotel parking vans and customer cars on the sidewalk of the 2100 block of P Street, and that the ANC and local residents have asked the hotel to stop. Still, the practice continues.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) asked ANC 2B to produce a document specifying the complaints against the Hotel Palomar, so they can move ahead on enforcement. The resolution is the result.

Food Truck Resolution

ANC 2B unanimously passed a resolution advising the DC Council to reject proposed rulemaking on food trucks and send the matter back to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for review. Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, said the rules as currently written have no procedure for the community. through ANCs, to weigh in on this public space matter. Use of public space is ordinarily an area of ANC input.

There were too many action items for the three-hour meeting time, so ANC2B has scheduled an “Overflow Special Meeting” next Monday, May 13, 7 pm, at the Dupont Circle Hotel (1500 New Hampshire Avenue). Most of the items on the agenda concern Historic Preservation Review Board applications to change or renovate local properties.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com May 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

"moratorium"

The boundaries of the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Streets NW.

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

In a long comment posted on the website of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont, Commissioner Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, said she opposes ANC 2B’s resolution against the 14th and U liquor license moratorium and wants to postpone the vote until the following week.

ANC 2B will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 7 pm at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, for its regular monthly meeting. A vote on the resolution is on the agenda.

Nichols writes: “I recommend the ANC give this its best attention by beginning discussion May 8 and continuing to a vote at the special meeting that has been already been called for May 13, 2013, for other reasons. I believe there would be time on the agenda May 13, 2013, to include more on the moratorium petition.”

Nichols also writes about touring the U Street area in the early hours of a recent Sunday morning. She saw pools of vomit, screaming and drug dealing, although police were present. Abigail said her tour on showed “the tip of the iceberg.”

Nichols criticizes the resolution as written, saying: “The proposed resolution objects to the moratorium law itself but could include more information that would indicate whether existing law applies in this case.”

She also calls the resolution “too optimistic about the ability of alternative tools that deal with individual alcohol establishments to preserve the peace, order, and quiet of residential neighborhoods.”

ANC 2B heard public comment on the liquor license moratorium at the March multi-ANC listening session as well as at a separate listening session for ANC 2B residentsANC 6E/ShawANC 2F/Logan Circle and ANC 1B/U Street have already voted against the proposed moratorium. The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration is required to take serious consideration of the opinions of ANCs before it decides whether to send the moratorium to the DC Council.

Nichols was elected to serve on ANC 2B in a special election in March.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 18, 2013 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 2B/Dupont held an additional listening session on 14th and U liquor license moratorium on April 17. (David McAuley)

The liquor licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont held an additional listening session on the proposed 14th and U liquor license moratorium yesterday evening, April 17. About 20 people attended.

If you subtract ANC Commissioners, citizen members of ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee, members and supporters of moratorium petition originator Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), former commissioners, spouses of commissioners, and Borderstan, the total number of citizens who got listened to was less than eight.

The meeting was co-chaired Commissioners Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, and Noah Smith, 2B-09. O’Connor is the head of ANC 2B’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Committee, which handles liquor licensing affairs. Smith’s district partly falls inside the proposed moratorium zone.

At its May 8 meeting, ANC 2B will decide if it will join three other ANCs in voting against the moratorium petition.

Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance Presentation

  • The SDCA was given a chance to lay out its case once more. Joan Sterling, SDCA president, repeated her contention, made at the March 20 town-hall-style listening session on the moratorium and elsewhere, that DC law has changed in regards to how many liquor licensees in an area constitutes an “overconcentration.”
  • It was formally 18, Sterling said, and now the law merely says “several.” This interpretation of DC law has been disputed by moratorium opponents.

Anti-Moratorium Voices

  • One of the citizens who was listened to confessed that he no longer lives in ANC 2B. He has moved from ANC 2B to the corner of 14th and Belmont, in ANC 1B. “When a moratorium happens, here’s what happens. Fifty to 250 thousand dollars goes into the pockets of current liquor licensees,” he said. He called instituting a liquor license moratorium “rewarding bad behavior. To legislate this is to me really unhealthy. It’s not the way a free society should be doing these things,” he said.
  • An ANC 2B resident from the 1800 block of Corcoran Street spoke against the moratorium. “A moratorium is too drastic a step to take,” he said. “It doesn’t make a distinction between good and bad players.”
  • Later, another man, identifying himself as a 12-year resident, also recommended that ANC 2B vote against the moratorium. Speaking about the two other liquor license moratoriums now in place in the Dupont Circle area, he said: “The moratoriums have been a factor in displacing the gay community.”

Not the Tool to Fight Crime, Noise

  • Later, speaking about the crime and noise associated with a concentration of taverns and restaurants, Smith said: “A moratorium is not the tool to fix these problems.” He then asked, “What will happen the day after the moratorium?”
  • SDCA Secretary Elwyn Ferris replied, “I don’t know if it will alleviate the problem, but it will not aggravate the situation.”

Pro-Moratorium Voices

  • A woman with a baby said that neighboring ANC 1B was at fault. “I’m totally for the moratorium. ANC 1B is very dysfunctional, not like [ANC2B] Dupont Circle. There is only one tool left to put a break on what is going on. There are lot of new families on the U Street corridor who have the same opinion as myself.”
  • A former ANC 2B vommissioner said about the moratorium: “It’s a safety net thing. It can just be there and not be a force for good or bad. A moratorium is protective of individual rights.”
  • Another former commissioner said: “People who are affected by noise need our protection. This is a tool whose time has come.”

Everyone Agrees: Enforcement is a Problem

  • Partisans of both sides seemed to agree that troubles getting effective law enforcement on existing rules is a big part of the problem.
  • One person complained that, when there is a concentration of liquor licensees near one another, police will not act on noise complaints because they say that they cannot determine who is the offending party.
  • There was a discussion of another example of ineffective law enforcement, concerning the rules governing the Uptown Arts-Mixed Use (ARTS) Overlay District, which say that more than 50 percent of the frontage in any block in the U Street area cannot be liquor licensees.
  • Enforcing these rules requires coordinated action between multiple DC agencies. This does not occur frequently. (See 14th & U: Approval for More Bars, Restaurants Expected.)

Next Steps

O’Connor closed the meeting by saying there would be no vote that evening. He said that he might try to convene a liquor licensing affairs committee meeting before May 8. This is the date of the meeting when ANC 2B will decide if it will join three other ANCs in voting against the moratorium petition.

Other ANC 2B commissioners in attendance were Stephanie Maltz, 2B-03; Kishan Putta, 2B-04; Abigail Nichols, 2B-05; and Chair Will Stephens, 2B-08.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 16, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

"moratorium"

The area of the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U area.

The ANC 2B/Dupont liquor licensing affairs subcommittee will host a listening session Wednesday evening, April 17, on the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium. The location of the forum is the Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom, 1701 16th Street NW. Time is 7 to 9 pm.

It  will be an additional opportunity for commissioners to hear community opinion from 2B residents before the full ANC votes on the moratorium at its next meeting on May 8. The subcommittee will formulate a recommendation to the full ANC after this listening session.

The session is scheduled from 7 to 9 pm at the Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom, 1701 16th Street NW. The website of Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, has more information.

Of the four ANCs within the proposed moratorium zone, three have already voted against it. DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Board is currently soliciting direct public comment in writing and inviting the public to testify at a hearing on May 22.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 11, 2013 at 11:32 am 2 Comments

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

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B, at its monthly meeting last night, April 10, unanimously supported a request by the Embassy of Indonesia to erect a statue of a Hindu goddess on public space on Massachusetts Avenue NW. It also unanimously called on DC’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to improve its operating procedures and communication both with ANCs and with the public.

"ANC"

An edited photo showing how the sculpture will appear in place on Massachusetts Avenue NW. (David McAuley)

Statue of Saraswati on Public Space

The Commission heard a presentation by Heru Subolo, Minister-Counselor for Press and Information Affairs of the Embassy of Indonesia, asking for ANC support for a proposed statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science, to be erected on a public space next to the grounds of the Embassy at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Subolo told the committee that the statue had been approved by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions. Subolo also said that the planned site for the statue had been moved, at the request of the DC government’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO), from its original planned location at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 21st Street (also adjacent to the Embassy), to a location next to the sidewalk further west along Massachusetts.

The location is currently fenced in. Subolo said that the fence would be removed to make the statue accessible to the public.

“I’m really happy to open up a fenced space,” said Kevin O’Connor, ANC commissioner for district 2B-02.

“This is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood and to our nation’s capital. Hindus across DC and around the world are ecstatic about this beautiful statue of Saraswati. It is so fitting that it will be installed just a stone’s throw from the also magnificent statue of Mahatma Gandhi — the only statue of a Hindu in DC,” said Kishan Putta, ANC 2B-04 commissioner.

The ANC voted 9-0 in favor.

Resolution on Historic Preservation Office

The DC Historic Preservation Office (HPO) has a new draft plan for the next four years and is soliciting comment. ANC 2B took the opportunity to approve a resolution outlining the ways it believes that the HPO and its parent organization, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), could work more effectively with ANCs and the public.

The resolution noted the following problems, among others:

  • Effective Enforcement: “…Frequently, violators pay a limited fine, sometimes as little as $500, but are not forced thereafter to actually correct the offending construction or work….”
  • Notice to ANCs: “…The HPO/HPRB is the only regulatory board that does not currently send a notice document directly to ANCs for each application within the respective ANC that will be on the board’s agenda. This is contrary to the practice of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the District Department of Transportation Public Space Committee, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, and the Zoning Commission….”
  • Ensuring Timely and Fair Staff Reports: “…The HPO needs to release draft staff reports in time for relevant ANCs to weigh in and respond, before the HPRB hearing on the matter….In addition, the HPRB needs to ensure that staff reports are fair and cite all relevant precedent….”
  • Fair Appeals Process: “The plan should address the process for appealing an HPRB decision, which can be costly and slow….”

The ANC vote was 9-0.

1412 T Street New Construction

The Commission approved a resolution calling for a one-month delay in a new construction project at 1412 T Street. The proposed construction is a two-unit residential structure on a vacant lot. Both T Street neighbors adjacent to the location spoke last night.

“We totally welcome a new building,” one said. “But this is a total aberration on the block.”

“This is not in the context of the block,” the other agreed. “But I’d love to see a property there.”

The Commission agreed that the height and depth as proposed were not appropriate. It requested additional information from the developer’s representative and referred the matter back to the Zoning, Preservation, & Development Committee for reconsideration at its next meeting on May 7.

Liquor License Moratoriums

Commissioner O’Connor said that the ANC 2B Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Policy Committee would hold an additional listening session about the proposed 14th and U Street liquor license moratorium next Wednesday, April 17, at a location to be determined. The hearing will focus on ANC district 2B-09, which falls within the boundaries of the proposed moratorium.

O’Connor also said that he will present a “game plan” at ANC 2B’s May 8 meeting concerning the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium, which will come up for renewal in September of this year. This moratorium is in effect on 17th Street. O’Connor is the chair of ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee.

New ANC 2B Email Addresses

The Commission announced improvements to its website. On ANC2B’s commissioners and staff page, there are now group addresses which will deliver email to the entire ANC or its subcommittees through a single address. The addresses are:

ANC2B serves the Dupont Circle area.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm 5 Comments

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.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm 0

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 2F rejected the proposed moratorium for 14th and U area. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F voted against the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium in a strongly-worded resolution at its monthly meeting on Wednesday evening, April 3. The vote was 7-0. Commissioner Greg Melcher, ANC 2F-06, was absent and did not vote.

ANC 2F, which covers the Logan Circle area and runs west to 15th Street NW, became the second ANC to recommend that DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board reject the moratorium petition. It joined ANC 6E, which voted in February. ANC 1B will be the third ANC to vote on the moratorium this evening, April 4. The remaining ANC within the borders of the moratorium, ANC 2B, plans to vote on the moratorium at its May 8 monthly meeting.

Wording of Resolution

ANC 2F Chair Matt Raymond (2F-07), wrote the resolution, among which were these three points:

  • WHEREAS, Community sentiment is strongly opposed to the moratorium, as evidenced by comments at the above-referenced meetings, as well as contacts from individual constituents, and an online petition with 1,196 signatures as of April 3, 2013; and
  • WHEREAS, ANC 2F welcomes the presence of liquor-licensed establishments, having endorsed the findings of the ARTS Overlay Review Committee, which stated that “restaurants and bars are an important ingredient in having a vibrant ARTS District: they contribute foot traffic to the arts and retail uses, and play an important role in achieving a vibrant and safe nighttime street environment”; and
  • WHEREAS, The petition advances a number of dubious claims about issues such as crime rates and enforcement of existing zoning regulations under the Uptown ARTS Overlay;

Raymond observed at this ANC 2F meeting was the third in a row that had addressed the moratorium. Debate and comment on the moratorium, both between commissioners as well as between commissioners and the public, was brief and business-like before the vote.

The commission had plenty of other work to do. It voted unanimously to enter into a settlement agreement with the soon-to-open Black Whiskey on 14th Street NW, as well as unanimously supporting a renewal of the liquor license for Rice Restaurant, also on 14th Street.

Another unanimous vote was to continue the exemption for the Whole Foods Market on P Street to the Ward 2 ban on the sale of single containers of beer. The previous exemption for Whole Foods went into effect in May 2007. It was planned as a trial period, to run until October 31, 2007. However, after the trial period, no one remembered to renew the exemption. Any sales by Whole Foods of single beers since October 2007 have been, technically, illegal.

Discussion of Zoning Laws

A large portion of the meeting was given over to a presentation by Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning. This office is spearheading a major rewrite of DC zoning laws city-wide. The zoning code currently in place was adopted in 1958 and contains outdated references to penny arcades and telegraph offices. Since then, it has acquired a patchwork of confusing revisions and updates.

Tregoning addressed three areas of particular interest:

  • Parking: Much of Borderstan will be designated a “transit area”. This is generally defined as a area with easy access to Metro (ten minutes’ walk) or a major bus route (five minutes’ walk), and includes the 14th Street and Massachusetts Avenue corridors. Car parking requirements for new apartment buildings and offices within this area would be eliminated entirely. Bike parking requirements will no longer be linked to the number of car parking spaces in a building.
  • Accessory dwellings: Proposed city-wide changes will make it easier for many single-family homeowners who live in their house to convert part of their property into a single “granny flat” if they wish. However, Tregoning said this change will not effect the ANC 2F area greatly, since much of the area does not fall into zoning categories that will benefit from this change.
  • Corner stores: Proposed city-wide changes will allow new corner stores to set up. Under the current zoning rules, new corner stores are not allowed – only existing corner stores may continue operating. New corner stores will be subject to many conditions, including size, working hours, alcohol sales, signage, and others. But, like the changes concerning accessory dwellings, the zone categories most prevalent in ANC 2F will not be effected by this change. Tregoning said only a small section of 13th Street qualifies under current rules. This section is occupied by multi-story apartment buildings, which would not be convertable under the proposed rules.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com April 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

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

"moratorium"

A liquor license moratorium has been proposed for the 14th and U area. (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will hold a hearing on the proposed 14th and U liquor license moratorium at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, May 22, at the Reeves Municipal Building. The Reeves Building is at the northwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. The hearing will take place in the Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor South.

The official announcement was published on March 29 in the DC Register, Volume 60, Number 14. A copy of the official announcement is available on Borderstan. Public comment in person or in writing is solicited.

Details of Announcement

Details from the announcement:

“Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to testify [in person] should contact Assistant Attorney General Jon Berman at 202-442-4448 or by e-mail at [email protected] by Friday, May 17, 2013. E-mail contacts should include the full name, title, and affiliation, if applicable, of the person(s) testifying. Testimony may be limited to five (5) minutes in order to permit each person an opportunity to be heard. Witnesses should bring seven (7) copies of their written testimony to the hearing.

“If you are unable to testify and wish to comment, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements must be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, D.C. 20009, no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2013.”

The announcement erroneously implies that there are two petitioners for the moratorium, the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA) and the Residential Action Coalition. The SDCA was the only petitioner granted standing to plead the case for a liquor license moratorium before the ABC Board.

Assistant Attorney General Berman said at a March 20 listening session about the moratorium that the Residential Action Coalition had not qualified for standing and would no longer be considered a petitioner at future hearings.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 22, 2013 at 7:00 am 2 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee met Thursday night at the Thurgood Mashall Center. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B (U Street) took the next step in rejecting the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, March 21. The ANC 1B’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee voted 10 to 3 to reject the proposed moratorium during its regular monthly meeting. Three members of the committee were absent.

Among those voting against the moratorium were both members of the committee who are also current ANC 1B commissioners: Chair Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Zahra Jilani (1B-12). Among those voting for the moratorium was committee member Joan Sterling of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium.

Some members who voted against the moratorium noted the influence of the overwhelming community response against the moratorium at the previous evening’s multi-ANC listening session, which was also held at the Thurgood Marshall Center.

“It served as a great tool for bringing the community together,” said Heather Ferris, an ABC Committee member. Ferris also said that she had expressed a neutral opinion at the microphone during the previous evening’s listening session, but she had decided to vote against the moratorium, even though she felt her vote was “not 100 percent”.

The outcome of the vote seemed in doubt up until the final show of hands, as a blog post made yesterday by ANC 1B ABC committee member Nick Baumann quoted Leffler as saying “there are even pro and anti voices on the [committee].”

Procedural Problems

The committee vote had some procedural problems. After the initial voice vote (and after a tweet had gone out announcing the vote results), ANC 1B Chair Tony Norman (1B-10), observing the event, noted that parliamentary procedure had not been followed during the vote, meaning, there had not been a motion, a second, and an opportunity to present amendments.

The committee had to return to the question and do the vote over. Before the second vote was taken, there was further debate and suggestions for amendments, including one saying that the committee rejected the moratorium “as written.” This amendment passed.

Aside from ANC Chair Norman, the following ANC 1B commissioners who are not officially part of the ABC Committee also observed the meeting: Marc Morgan (1B-01), Ricardo Reinoso (1B-05) and Emily Washington (1B-08).

The recommendation to reject the moratorium now goes to the full ANC for a vote. The vote is scheduled for its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 21, 2013 at 6:39 am 12 Comments

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

Lining up to testify at listening session. (David McAuley)

Neighbors line up to testify at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting on the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor. (David McAuley)

Sentiment ran almost 6 to 1 against the proposed 14th and U Streets liquor license moratorium at last night’s town hall style listening session.  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) 1B (U Street),  2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan all sent members to attend the meeting at the basketball court of the Thurgood Marshall Center on 12th Street NW to hear what the public had to say.

About 160 people attended the event, filling every chair, then sitting and standing against the walls. My final count was 47 people testifying against, 8 for and 3 neutral. Of the 47 people testifying against, only two identified themselves as not living in or near the moratorium district. On Twitter, other witnesses put the count at 48 against, 8 for; 46 against, 9 for; and 41 against, 7 for.

ANC chairs in attendance were Tony Norman (1B-10) and Matt Raymond (2F-07). All three commissions sent the chairs of their respective alcohol licensing affairs committees: John Fanning (2F-04), Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Kevin O’Connor (2B-02). At least 10 other commissioners from across the three ANCs attended as well.

There are currently five liquor license moratorium zones in DC: Georgetown, Glover Park, Adams Morgan, Dupont West (21st and P NW) and Dupont East (17th Street NW). The 17th Street liquor license moratorium is due to expire in September 2013.

Opening Statements

Leffler called the meeting to order at 7 pm and Commissioner Noah Smith (2B-09) explained the meeting guidelines. The original plan was for each speaker to have two minutes to address the listening commissioners, but due to the overwhelming response, the time was cut back to 90 seconds. As a result, the meeting finished at planned 9 pm time.

Before citizen testimony period, the attendees heard remarks by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Sgt. Iris Beistline of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium. SDCA membership is limited to residents living between 12th and 15th Streets and S and U Streets NW.

  • ABRA had found that SDCA satisfied the minimum requirement for filing the moratorium petition, Berman said. He also said that the other group who signed the petition, the Residential Action Coalition, had not qualified for standing before ABRA, and would no longer be considered a petitioner. However, the SDCA may continue the petitioning process before the ABC Board, which will next consider the matter on May 22.
  • In answer to audience questions, Berman said that the normal term for moratoriums was five years, but could be renewed. He then said that, once enacted, no liquor license moratorium had ever been dissolved.
  • Beistline said the MPD could not supply relevant crime statistics because there were none available. A new computer system was being put in place, she explained, and some statistics were still inaccurate.
  • Sterling then pleaded the SDCA’s case for the moratorium. She noted the difficulty in getting the DC government to enforce the law concerning the percentage of street frontage that can be given to liquor licensees on any block. (The Uptown Arts District Overlay limits the square footage of ground-floor storefronts serving food/drink on each block to 50% of all square footage facing the street on that block. The percentage was increased to 50% from 25% in 2010.)
  • Sterling also noted that there are now 16,000 combined seats in the establishments of the liquor licensees in the zone. She said that, since the zone had well over 18 liquor licensees, it met ABRA’s definition of an “overconcentration” of licensees. “Moratoriums are temporary,” Sterling added.

Testimony from Attendees

After Sterling’s statement, the floor was turned over to the public. “Let’s keep this civil,” Leffler reminded. People lined up in an orderly manner to speak. Nearly every person stated his or her name and address or ANC district. Here is a selection of comments:

  • “I oppose the moratorium. I vote and I’ll remember.”
  • “This process draws in thousands and thousands of man-hours. It’s a complete waste of resources. Six people made us come here. It’s time to reform the system.”
  •  “I have been awakened at all hours of the night by music I can literally sing along to.”
  • “I’m strongly opposed. I love the vibrancy. It’s just awesome.”
  • “The moratorium is too blunt an instrument.”
  • “There’s no actual evidence that the moratorium will lead to prosperity.”
  • “A lot of people are saying that there are other solutions. What? Will someone pick up my trash?”
  • “Why stall development in the neighborhood?”
  • “Remember the Georgetown moratorium. It didn’t fix the noise, the parking, the litter.”
  • “A moratorium is not right. Hold each bar and restaurant responsible.”
  • “It’s anti-small business, anti-competition. I’m inalterably opposed.”
  • “It’s good to see people getting involved.”
  • “It’s kind of a joke that we’re here tonight.”
  • “I like vibrancy.”
  • “My fear is stagnation in the community,” said a man identified on Twitter as the owner of DC9 nightclub. He went on to say that retail space should be encouraged, ways should be found for rents to be lower, there should be tax relief, and ABRA should be convinced to work on “bad apple” liquor licensees.
  • The only sign of incivility occurred toward the end when one man, a moratorium supporter, decided to take aim at the newly opened Matchox restaurant at 14th and T NW. He disparaged the restaurant and its food, much to the surprise of other attendees.

Next Steps

“That was fantastic,” Jeremy Leffler said after the final testimony. “I’m impressed by the turnout, passion and research.” To conclude the meeting, each ANC briefly outlined their next steps.

  • Leffler said that ANC1B’s liquor license affairs committee would meet tonight, March 21, at the Thurgood Marshall Center. A vote on the proposed moratorium is on the agenda. The committee’s recommendation would then be considered when ANC1B has its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.
  • Raymond said that ANC2F would have its regular monthly meeting on April 3 and a vote on the moratorium would be on the agenda.
  • O’Connor said that ANC2B would consider the issue on its May 8 meeting, before which he hoped to have one or two more listening sessions.
One after the other neighbors lined up. (David McAuley)

Attendees lined up to speak at Wednesday night’s town hall. (David McAuley)

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 20, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

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

"moratorium"

The area of the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U area.

Reminder: The town hall format joint meeting of three local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) will take place tonight, March 20, at 7 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW).  ANC 1B‘s website says the purpose of the meeting is to get residents’ input on the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Street NW area. There will be no votes, motions or resolutions at the meeting.

“We want to be able to address any questions people may have about the process or about specific aspects of the moratorium,” said ANC 2B Commissioner Kevin O’Connor. O’Connor is the commissioner for district 02 and chair of the ANC 2B committee for liquor license issues.

This meeting has also been touted as a “listening session.”

What Will the Commissioners Listen For?

1. The effect of a moratorium on peace, order, quiet and sanitation.

Commissioner O’Connor said that members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had been invited to the meeting, and what they have to say will be important. In their original petition, advocates of the moratorium point to data, which they say indicates high levels of violent and non-violent crime in the proposed moratorium area.

But others, such as ANC 2F Commissioner John Fanning, contend that moratorium area crime rate “actually declined according to MPD Crime Statistics.” These views cannot both be right, so look for expert testimony on this matter. Fanning is the commissioner for district 04 and chair of the ANC 2F committee for liquor license issues.

2. The effect of the moratorium on residential parking needs and pedestrian safety.

Can the pro-moratorium forces link U Street’s dangerous intersections and parking shortages to the number of liquor licensees? Again, law enforcement’s opinion may be key.

3. Testimony from local business.

The voice of local business has largely been absent from the public discussions at ANC meetings. Commissioners have publicly speculated that current liquor license holders are quietly hoping the moratorium will pass, because a moratorium will both shield them from prospective competitors and increase the value of existing liquor licenses. Of special interest will be statements from small business owners who are also local residents.

4. The number of voices each side can muster.

An obvious and important factor: Partisans of both sides believe that their opponents exaggerate the number of people who support them. The anti-moratorium group characterizes the pro-moratorium side as a small group of NIMBY homeowners. How much pro-moratorium testimony will there be from local residents who are not connected to the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, the spearhead of the movement?

The anti-moratorium camp has a strong online presence but can’t seem to always muster a similar number of the live human beings to sit through the often-tedious government meetings where the decisions get made. The pro-moratorium side is not impressed with online anti-moratorium sentiment, petitions and comment.

The pro-moratorium side contends that at least some, perhaps many, of the participants in these activities are not actually local residents. If local residents come out in large numbers to speak against the moratorium, it will put a serious dent in that argument.

What Happens After The Meeting

It’s unclear what the post-listening session game plan is. Can the three participating ANCs speak with one voice?

“Going forward, I think we all agree that it benefits us all to try and take a similar action on the moratorium issue. We have the opportunity to make the greatest impact if we act together,” said O’Connor in an email.

During a recent ANC meeting, O’Connor also said he hoped that the town hall meeting would be the first of several, but there is evidence that the two other ANCs plan to move ahead quickly after this single meeting.

“I intend to offer a resolution for a vote on the moratorium at ANC 2F’s monthly meeting on April 3,” ANC2F Commission Chair Matt Raymond (district 07) said in an email. “It will not be in support of the moratorium. Whether it would be language outright opposing the moratorium or seeking changes to it is something I will decide after March 20.”

Meanwhile, the liquor license affairs subcommittee of ANC 1B will meet publicly the evening following the listening session, ANC 1B liquor license committee chair Jeremy Leffler (Commissioner for district 02) said in an email. A report that there will be an up-or-down vote about the moratorium at this meeting could not be confirmed. Any recommendation emerging from this meeting would then be considered by ANC 1B as a whole.

“It’s my understanding that the full ANC 1B will vote on the moratorium on April 4, the day after ANC 2F does so. I also understand that ANC 2B might not vote on the moratorium until its May meeting,” Raymond said.

“It’s my goal, and I think it’s achievable, that all three of the remaining ANCs that haven’t taken a formal position might be able to agree on identical resolutions, which we believe will carry greater weight with the ANC Board than divergent opinions.”

The fourth ANC, 6E in Shaw, has already voted against the moratorium and will not be participating in the town hall tonight.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 19, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

"moratorium"

The zone for the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U NW area.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 1B, 2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan are hosting a public town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 20 to discuss the proposed liquor moratorium for the 14th and U Streets NW area. The meeting of the three ANCs will take place at The Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) at 7 pm.

According to the organizing ANCs, “Though this is the only joint meeting being held on the proposal, ANCs may hold additional smaller meetings — decisions or actions will not be taken at this meeting. Organizers intend to give each participant one to two minutes to speak and request that members of the community direct their comments to the ANC Commissioners present.” (See Liquor License Moratorium Roadshow Visits ANC 2F.)

The Proposed Liquor Moratorium

The Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA) and the Residential Action Coalition (RAC) citizen groups have filed a petition with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to establish a liquor license moratorium zone for the 14th and U Street NW corridor. The two groups request that a circular zone be established that extends 1,800 feet from 1211 U Street NW.

So far, almost 1,000 residents have signed a petition against the moratorium. ANC 1B briefly discussed the proposed moratorium on February 7, but there was no official motion or vote on the meeting or any other aspect of the moratorium. 

The filing of the moratorium petition by SDCA and RAC came just days after Mayor Vincent Gray officially enacted major changes to laws and regulations pertaining to alcohol sales. Among the changes in the law is a provision that would dismiss any liquor license protest by a group of five or more residents if an applicant reaches an agreement with their ANC.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 18, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

SDCA’s Guy Podgornik (standing) presents to ANC 2F/Logan on March 14. (David McAuley)

The Shaw Dupont Citizens Association (SDCA) took its case for the controversial U Street Liquor License Moratorium to the monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F on Thursday evening, March 14. They got a polite but frosty reception. ANC2F covers the Logan Circle area.

The SDCA made a presentation similar to the one they made at last month’s meeting of the subcommittee for liquor license matters of neighboring ANC1B. Guy Podgornik, SDCA treasurer, made the presentation to ANC2F.

He said the legal definition in DC of “overconcentration” in regards to liquor licensees is now 18, but there are about 120 licensed establishments in the proposed moratorium zone. This number is up from the 107 establishments operating when the petition was filed, Podgornik said.

"Moratorium"

Map of proposed liquor license area. The area within the heavy black lines is Ward 1. (David McAuley)

Podgornik added that DC government timeline requirements meant DC’s Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) would not have public hearings on the matter before June at the earliest. After the hearings, ABRA will have the authority to accept the petition, reject the petition, change the radius of the zone, or change the shape of the zone entirely.

The ABRA hearings should not be confused with the town-hall style listening session about the liquor license moratorium to be held jointly by ANCs 1B, 2B and 2F this Wednesday, March 20, at 7 pm, at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW.

After Podgornik’s presentation, ANC2F Chair Matt Raymond and other commissioners asked questions and made statements that made clear their displeasure with the proposal. Raymond took exception with some facts that appeared in the SDCA’s petition filing.

The proposal said certain blocks in the moratorium area had more than 50 percent of their street frontage taken up by alcohol licensees. This is a violation of the law. This law was going unenforced, Podgornik said, with up to 90 percent frontage in some blocks of ANC1B. Raymond responded that this was not the case in ANC2F.

“I have a lot of problems with this,” Raymond said. He added: “I want to reserve judgment until after the town hall.”

Move the Zone North?

ANC2F ABRA Committee Chair John Fanning asked if it were possible to move the moratorium zone north so no part of it fell in ANC2F. Podgornik explained the law limited petitioners to asking for circular zones either 600, 1,200 or 1,800 feet in radius; no other shapes or sizes were possible. Furthermore, by law the center point of a petition’s circle must fall on the property of a current liquor licensee. Moving the center north would cause it to fall in the middle of a residential neighborhood with no liquor licensees.

“Your moratorium, it’s an intrusion into this neighborhood,” Fanning said. “We want to keep the vibrancy going.”

Pride Parade

At the beginning of the meeting, ANC2F also heard a short presentation from Capital Pride. The group asked for support for the upcoming Capital Pride Parade. The parade will occur on Saturday, June 8, starting at 4:30 pm.

It will follow a slightly different route through 2F this year, turning north at the corner of 14th and P Streets NW, instead of south as previously. It is planned that 14th Street will be closed up to U Street for the parade. The board voted to endorse the request for appropriate street closures.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list