Thursday, March 21, 2013

U Street alcohol moratorium? Residents are opposed

2013 03 20 - 1774-1776 - DC - Moratorium Forum

Recently, something called the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, a group I've never heard of before, proposed a liquor license moratorium for U Street. What that means is there could be no more new liquor licenses for businesses within a 1,800 foot radius from 1211 U Street NW, meaning it would stretch from 15th to Georgia and R to Clifton.

DCist has the full story, but basically, lots of people are opposed to this plan. There was a public meeting last night where almost 50 people (one Twitter user said 41) spoke out against the plan, while only 7 spoke out for it. The meeting is pictured above.

Despite that opposition, the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will give the plan a hearing on May 22. Local ANCs will also vote for or against it in April.

Personally, I think the moratorium is a terrible idea. It's my belief that a similar moratorium is why Adams Morgan is completely bananas on weekend nights: since there are no new liquor licenses, business owners have to pay a lot to buy existing ones and landlords with them can charge high rents, which means the businesses have to sell as much booze as possible to pay for them, meaning more drunks in a small place. I'd argue that without the moratorium there may be more bars and restaurants, but also less places where the only plan is to get super drunk. (Then again, I may be wrong, and I still like Adams Morgan.)

I'm also a bit suspicious of this group. I've never heard of them before, and their website seems pretty new, and their first meeting was on May 2012. I wonder if they're a one-issue group, kind of like an alleged neighborhood association in Foggy Bottom, which was basically founded to make George Washington University give more stuff to the community, and supposedly only had a couple of members, so it wasn't really a representative group. (I wrote about them years ago when I went to GW and worked for the school paper, but they may have changed since then.)

Certainly there are problems to having a lot of bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, but I don't think a moratorium is the right plan. What do you think?

Photo by thisisbossi

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