D.C. ABC Denies Moratorium on U Street Liquor Licenses

The district's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board unanimously denied a moratorium on new liquor licenses in the city's 14th and U Street corridor Thursday.

The decision was a rejection of a petition by the Shaw-Dupont Citizens Alliance, which had requested a five-year ban on new liquor licenses in a roughly 0.34-mile radius around Ben's Next Door at 1211 U St. NW.

The board ruled the ban on new licenses wouldn't be in the public's best interest in an area that it says has undergone a revival in recent years.

"Property values are appreciating, the violent crime rate has decreased, and residents and businesses alike are being attracted to the area," said a release from the board Thursday. "There was no evidence that additional ABC-licensed establishments will have an adverse effect on the neighborhood."

The board said it considered comments from the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). All four ANCs in the affected area had opposed the moratorium and that it could have negative effects on the corridor's economic development.

The ANCs also said that additional police patrols, street lights and better management of facilities could abate the concerns raised in the petition from the Shaw-Dupont Citizens Alliance.

The moratorium would have:

  • Prohibited new alcoholic beverage licenses, except licenses to sell beer and wine at full-service grocery stores
  • Prohibited the transfer of licenses into the moratorium zone
  • Allowed no new nightclub licenses
  • Limited the number of tavern licenses to 10
  • Prohibited the expansion of existing licensees into adjoining spaces, properties or lots
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