Last night the ANC met for its December meeting and carried on one of the more momentous discussions it’s had in years: Should the liquor license moratorium continue or not?
GM previewed this discussion before Thanksgiving. In short, after substantive talks between representatives of the ANC, the Business Improvement District, and the Citizens Association, a draft agreement was crafted. It would call for the end of the moratorium and propose the creation of a new template for settlement agreements tailored to the particular concerns of the neighborhood. It would also establish a pre-review process whereby staff of ABRA would vet the application for seriousness before even allow them to placard the license and start the issuance process.
Commissioner Tom Birch gave a strong argument for proceeding with the proposed deal. He laid out many of the same arguments you’ve probably heard GM bore you with before. They are, namely, that the original conditions that justified the moratorium no longer exist. Georgetown is far from the only entertainment district in town, and the pressure for more rowdy bars has evaporated.
And by offering more predictability in terms of the availability of licenses and the conditions that will ensure a smooth acceptance will encourage more genuine restauranteurs to consider Georgetown.
But there are still a few kinks to work out in the documents, and the parties need to continue the collaborative process. (Disclosure: GM is on the board of CAG, but did not actively participate in the negotiations). So the ANC adopted a resolution calling on the ABC board to extend the moratorium, which is set to expire in February, for 60 days to come to a consensus. This will likely be approved by the board, but with luck it will be the last extension of the last liquor license moratorium left in DC.