NEWS: Draft Resolution on the Proposed 14th and U Moratorium

ANC2B will present the below resolution at its regular meeting on May 8 at 7pm at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW).

We encourage interested individuals to contact their Commissioners to share their thoughts on the proposed Resolution in advance of the meeting on May 8. ANC2B has hosted and co-hosted several listening sessions on this topic, but we continue to welcome community feedback prior to our vote. Unfortunately, due to the ANC schedule there will only be a limited time to debate the matter at the meeting.

For more information on the proposed moratorium, we encourage you to read about the proposal, put forth by the Shaw-Dupont Citizen Alliance here (via Borderstan).

Three other ANCs have voted on the matter as well. ANC6E and ANC1B do not have resolutions available online. ANC 2F’s resolution is here.

Feel free to leave your comments below or contact your Commissioner directly.

Here is the text of the Resolution:

Dupont Circle ANC 2B
Proposed Resolution on a Liquor License Moratorium Petition in the

14th and U Street Corridor

To Be Considered at the May 8, 2013 Meeting of ANC 2B

  WHEREAS, The Shaw-Dupont Citizens Alliance on December 10, 2012, petitioned the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board of the District of Columbia (“ABC Board”) seeking to establish a moratorium on the issuance of new retailer-class liquor licensees, including restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, and caterers; and

  WHEREAS, The proposed moratorium would encompass a zone extending within the boundaries of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B (“ANC 2B”); and

  WHEREAS, The written advice of ANC 2B, as an affected ANC, must be accorded “Great Weight” by the ABC Board, pursuant to section 13(d)(3) of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions Act of 1975; and

  WHEREAS, The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has scheduled a hearing on the petition on May 22, 2013 and has solicited formal comments from affected ANCs; and

  WHEREAS, ANC 2B has discussed and received public comments on the proposed moratorium at a joint listening session held March 20, 2013 with ANCs 1B and 2F, a further listening session hosted by ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee on April 17, 2013, an ABRA Policy Committee meeting on May 1, 2013, and a full ANC 2B meeting on May 8, 2013 – in addition to individual and online community outreach between Commissioners and constituents; and

  WHEREAS, based on these discussions, ANC 2B believes that overall community sentiment is opposed to the moratorium, including residents within and outside of the proposed moratorium zone; and

  WHEREAS, ANC 2B has two liquor license moratoria in its boundaries and has a unique perspective on the effectiveness, including positive or negative outcomes, that a moratorium may have; and

  WHEREAS, ANC 2B believes there is insufficient evidence that a new moratorium will positively impact rates of crime, noise, parking concerns, and other issues; and

  WHERAS, ANC 2B believes a moratorium under existing law is a blunt tool that does not allow petitioners to request more reasonable boundaries; and

 WHEREAS, ANC 2B believes that current tools exist, and other creative solutions should be pursued, to address the concerns raised in the petition, including enforcement of the existing ARTS Overlay, use of Settlement Agreements, encouraging reimbursable police details and specialized police units in the area, and a series of dedicated taxi stands; and

WHEREAS, ANC 2B acknowledges the negative impacts that accompany the growth of liquor licenses in our area; and

WHEREAS, ANC 2B sees positive steps the community should take to address those impacts, including ensuring a well-functioning Advisory Neighborhood Commission and ABC Board with the authority to appropriately punish delinquent licensees; and

WHEREAS, ANC2B has previously been very successful in utilizing these tools, such as Settlement Agreements, to help ensure that the needs of residents are appropriately balanced with the desires of the business community to effectively manage noise, public safety, and parking concerns; and

WHEREAS, A new moratorium would be a market-distorting mechanisms that would unfairly advantage incumbent businesses by transforming liquor licenses within the moratorium zone into commodities that may cost tens of thousands of dollars, pricing local entrepreneurs out of the market; and

WHEREAS, Moratoria treat all liquor-licensed establishments the same and do not distinguish among types of licenses and between good and bad actors, rather than allowing the ANC and the ABC Board the opportunity to consider each potential application on its own merits; and

WHEREAS, ANC 2B believes that many of the new businesses, including liquor-licensed establishments in the proposed moratorium zone have been welcome and positive additions to the 14th and U Street neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, There has been strong collaboration among ANC’s 2B, 1B, 2F, and 6E throughout the new moratorium petition process and all ANC’s have come to similar to conclusions regarding the proposed moratorium; and

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that ANC 2B advise the ABC Board to reject in its entirety the pending petition to create a retail liquor license moratorium zone in the Historic 14th and U Street Corridor and to decline to move forward with any rule-making process to effectuate such a moratorium zone; and

Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That ANC 2B recommit itself to working with District agencies, the City Council, the Metropolitan Police Department, residents, the business community, neighboring ANCs and other stakeholders to improve the enforcement of all applicable laws and regulations governing liquor licensees and potential community impacts, and to seek changes in such laws and regulations, where deemed advisable; and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, ANC2B strongly urges the Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration to develop a formal and transparent process with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Office of Zoning to enforce the existing ARTS Overlay in the neighborhood.

3 thoughts on “NEWS: Draft Resolution on the Proposed 14th and U Moratorium

  1. Abigail Nichols

    I am a ANC2B Commissioner who believes we should support the petitioners’ efforts to get a U Street Moratorium.

    Therefore, I do not support the proposed resolution opposing the moratorium which has been posted on the ANC2B website. 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.

    Despite its serious flaws, moratorium is the only provision of the DC code that aims to prevent the cumulative effects of burgeoning nightlife from overwhelming nearby residents. The situation the petitioners describe does appear to fit the law.

    I recently walked the area between 1:30 and 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning. I saw three pools of vomit on major street sidewalks, listened as a couple screamed obscenities across four lanes of 14th St, stood with a companion as she called the Police to check on a man passed out on the sidewalk just off U Street. Another companion was offered drugs. We saw one young man rejected by two bars for ID problems. Police were present but these conditions still obtained. The residents have reported how these conditions spill over into their residential areas? Are these the conditions we want in any area of our city? We need to stand with active residents, not undercut their efforts to get control of situations of which my description is only the tip of the iceberg.

    The proposed resolution objects to the moratorium law itself but could include more information that would indicate whether existing law applies in this case. Of course, I am all for figuring out a better legal structure for anticipating and responding to emerging nightlife districts. When we do figure out better solutions, all moratoria can be lifted. In addition to supporting the petitioners, the ANC should commit itself to using other existing tools to help the neighborhood and to promoting new laws and other approaches such as a business improvement district that would make it less difficult to balance vibrant nightlife with peace, order, and quiet for surrounding neighborhoods.

    A second theme in the resolution is community attitudes. ABC law does not envision simple majority rules, and neither should we. In spite of all the work we have done to assess community sentiment, we apparently lack details that would be helpful to the ABC Board as it evaluates the petition. It would be good if we could include more on the effects of nightlife such as crime, noise, fun, community economic vitality, and how those effects are distributed among affected groups large and small. What are the attitudes of various groups about what is happening in the neighborhood? The structure the law protects relatively small groups of residents who would be deprived of their right to peace, order, and quiet. I generally believe the information provided by the petitioners, but we should examine it as a Commission.

    Lastly, our resolution is too optimistic about the ability of alternative tools that deal with individual alcohol establishments to preserve the peace, order, and quiet of residential neighborhoods. Dealing with individual establishments is extremely time consuming and does not address the cumulative effect of a lot of “good” establishments.

    Commissioners Will Stephens, Kevin O’Connor and Noah Smith deserve a lot of thanks for all the time they’ve spent collecting information and devising this resolution. However, the more I think about it, I realize that this question is sufficiently complex that all of us on the Commission need to give this our best attention before voting. Our constituents deserve no less.

  2. Greg DuRoss

    The solution is not to dump the problem on my doorstep right outside the moratorium border.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *