Last month the Georgetown Business Improvement District issued a whitepaper calling for the end of the Georgetown liquor license moratorium. After meetings and negotiations with the Citizens Association of Georgetown and the ANC, a draft agreement is circulating that, if agreed to, would call on the ABC Board to effectively end the liquor license moratorium as we know it.
The proposed deal has been approved by the BID board but hasn’t been voted on by CAG or the ANC. (Disclosure: GM is on the board of CAG, and will be voting on the measure, but did not actually take part in any of the negotiations.) The agreement would call for the ABC board to end the Georgetown moratorium. In its place would be an enhanced vetting system to ensure that only legitimate operations get to the placard-stage of the license issuing process.
This is a system in place in Adams Morgan. It prevents more fly-by-night groups from obtaining a license without a solid plan of operations. If an application is found to be “questionable” it is referred to the ABC Board for a fact-finding hearing.
On top of the enhanced review, the agreement would adopt a modified template settlement agreement (fka voluntary agreements). The new template makes standard language on items like noise, trash, and hours of operation. While it would not mandate that all new restaurants abide by the template, it requests that ABRA as a policy look unfavorably at any applicant who fails to sign a settlement agreement.
Finally, a new group would be formed from the three parties to meet every six month to review the restaurant situation and to determine whether any new problems have arisen due to the changes. This seems to reflect the successful Georgetown Community Partnership committee structure that was created by the last campus plan agreement.
CAG will hold a vote on the MOA next Tuesday, and the ANC will vote November 30th. The moratorium is due to expire February 3rd, 2016. If the agreement is approved by all the parties, the ABC Board will be asked to adopt the new rules before the expiration of the moratorium, or extend the moratorium for a short period in order to give enough time to adopt the new provisions.