Good news for restaurateurs and bar owners with their eye on the 14th and U Street corridor: The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has officially denied a petition for a moratorium on new liquor licenses in the neighborhood. The board determined that such a measure “is not in the public’s interest” after reviewing cases on both sides and evaluating figures related to the area’s growth in recent years.
“Data collected by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration shows the 14th and U Street corridor has undergone a revival,” reads a statement by the organization. “Property values are appreciating, the violent crime rate has decreased, and residents and businesses alike are being attracted to the area. There was no evidence that additional ABC-licensed establishments will have an adverse effect on the neighborhood.”
While all four Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in the area opposed the moratorium, the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance actively petitioned ABRA to impose a five-year halt on the issuance of new licenses and the transfer of existing ones in an area encompassing an 1,800-foot radius from Ben’s Next Door. The group also sought to cap the number of new taverns in the area (essentially bars that can also offer entertainment), limiting them to ten, and to cap nightclub licenses altogether for the five-year period. The Alliance summarizes its reasoning on its moratorium fact sheet:
“In areas with a high density of alcohol licenses and further high demand for applications for new licenses, adjacent residential neighborhoods can be severely impacted by crime, noise, trash, lack of residential parking, traffic, safety, and congestion, as well as the possibility of declining property values. Moratoriums help limit further impacts.”
Other bodies, like the ANCs, argue that such concerns can be addressed with less drastic regulation, such as increasing police presence and the number of street lights in the neighborhood. New concepts like the Fainting Goat Tavern—which is now in development and slated to open in November—were caught in the crossfire and temporarily delayed.
We’ve contacted the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance for comment, but no one was available at the time of this post. We will update when we receive a response. For more information on the board’s decision, you can review the notice on ABRA’s website.