Dear PoPville – Meeting tomorrow night re: U Street Liquor License Moratorium

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jess J

Dear PoPville,

As a homeowner in, and resident of, the U Street corridor, I received a flier the other day from the organizers of the new civic association, the “Shaw-Dupont Citizen’s Alliance,” which is intent on imposing a five-year liquor licence moratorium on the Corridor. The new association defines its boundaries as being from 12th to 16th Streets and from S to U Streets, N.W. Their first meeting is TOMORROW night, at 7:00, at the Thurgood Marshall Center, which is located at 1842 12th Street. Here is a link to their website with the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

I already have communicated to them my own personal opinion on their proposed moratorium (I am strongly opposed), and I would urge that others let their views be known as well. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not believe that the majority of my neighbors want to see this happen.

60 Comment

  • I’m all for it, but for selfish reasons. Push investment east of 12th street where the market is less saturated.

  • I’m all for it. the harder it is to open on U Street, the more profitable it looks to open new, exciting places in my neighborhood.

  • So I went to the website and looked at the agenda. It says:
    –SDCA resolution opposing extended bar hours
    –Discussion of the ABRA Task Force Proposals -introduce resolution in opposition

    How can the SDCA have a resolution opposing extended bar hours. Shouldn’t the members be discussing things and then voting and then the alliance makes a resolution? The second one is a discussion but what is the point of a discussion when you already have the outcome, namely “resolution in opposition”. These people just seem freaking crazy.

    Old people have a lot of time on their hands and they are cranky so they become involved in NIMBY activities.

  • We should form CASDCAA.

    Citizens Against Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance Alliance

  • Looks like Ramon and Elwyn are at it again.

  • More information about the new association, taken from their post on local list serves:

    You may be aware by now, that a new civic association has been formed
    specifically for RESIDENTS living within the 14th and U Street neighborhood.

    As one of the founding members of this alliance, and recently elected Officer on the governing Board of Directors, I am herein extending a personal invitation to you to become a member of our association:

    The interests and issues that residents face in this fast growing neighborhood have often been split between those of our local businesses and big-time developers. Though we all welcome these entities, we want to be sure OUR voice is a strong and unified voice when issues that deeply impact the quality of our lives are at are stake.
    To that end, we have established the only local association exclusively
    dedicated to representing the RESIDENTS of the 14th and U Street Community.

    Our first initiative as an incorporated alliance of residents is to become
    thoroughly familiar with the Planned Unit Development Procedures (PUD) being sought by JBG Development for the construction of the 8 + story apartment building at the corner of U Street NW and 13th Street NW slated to be completed by 2013, to ensure that the interests of the surrounding residents are protected.

    Our second initiative is to seek an alcohol Moratorium in the 14th And U Street area. Just one fact to support a Moratorium: In an area defined by DC regulations, we currently have 111 alcohol licenses, (soon to be 120) where anything over 18 is considered over-concentration, and the threshold for establishing a Moratorium Zone. That’s a pretty shocking statistic. There are 6 Moratorium Zones in DC currently and none have as many alcohol licenses as 14th and U, and some have been in existence for 20 years. The time is NOW!

    I would please ask you to visit our website. where you can read our mission statement and download a Membership Registration Form.

    SDCA will hold its first monthly membership meeting on Thursday, May 17th at 7:00 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW. A reception will follow the meeting.

    • Where do you have to live to be able to join?

      • Their website says (in all caps): RESIDENTS ONLY! So I assume they allow only residents living between 12th and 16th and S and U. And their membership application form makes very clear what they are all about.

    • Worth noting that their “one fact” is incorrect. There’s only 5 moratoriums in DC: >>

      • East Dupont Circle
      • West Dupont Circle
      • Adams Morgan
      • Glover Park
      • Georgetown

      Looking at the neighborhoods with moratoriums in place, I’m hard pressed to see how the moratorium has solved or addressed any of the quality of life issues (noise, parking, trash, public safety) that proponents of this 14th & U moratorium are promising to solve.

      Again, please sign and express your support for real solutions >>

    • Do you suppose that they will be serving alcohol at the reception after the meeting?

    • If this association is supposed to be for the “14th and U St Neighborhood”, whu does it not include V St and W St, which also border U St??
      And I dont understand how anyone can say there are enough restaurants and bars, when everything is always OVER crowded, and typically have to wait 40 – 50 min for a table? Sounds like we need more places to me. As a resident of this vibrant neighborhood, I welcome more entrepreneurs and business owners to make an investment in the neighborhood, and continue to add to the vibrant street life, and community.

    • I would like everone who is for a moratorium to flash back to Georgetown
      10 years ago when the residents wanted the same thing. Look at their property values. You property value is in direct proportion to the 111 liquor liscense. Put a Moratorium and turn U Street into a Adams Morgan
      with old bars and no competition. Idiots! I do 5,000.00 k in sales on a Monday…..and quadruple that on the weekends because we are a
      bar destination area for DC. I pay literallly hundreds of thousands in Tax revenue for the city and you whine about…..tooo many liscences

      You People are Idiots but go ahead

  • This is a terrible idea….Ramon and Elwyn have lost their minds. A moratorium would suffocate the area, raise prices, and effectively give a monopoly to existing bars/restaurants. Competition breads creativity. This must be stopped.

  • Does anyone know how the mechanics of such a moratorium would work or how they work in other neighborhoods that have them? If Marvins goes out of business after a moratorium is in place, would another establishment selling liquor be able to move in or would there be absolutely no new bars?

    If it is for a set duration and not automatically renewing, I could get behind a 3 or 5 year moratorium simply because it would expand the U St. commercial strip east and west (I live near 10th St. and would welcome more eastward expansion).

    • I don’t think you can be so sure about where a moratorium will “push” development.

      It is probably more likely that by stifling development in the core, new businesses will be even less likely to expand to the fringes.

      There are reasons why businesses haven’t expanded to fringe areas to date, after all. And without growth in the core driving foot traffic to the fringes, you will be waiting a long time for that used book store to open on 11th street.

      • I think you’re probably right, but there is also an argument that there is obviously a demand for these establishments in the U St. area and closing off new licenses immediately around 14th and U might encourage some entrepreneurs to set up shop on the fringes to siphon off some of that unmet demand. But, its hard to predict what business owners or patrons would do. Also, as Anonymous below pointed out, the proposed moratorium would extend to 9-11th Streets as well, so nevermind.

    • For the information of the several posters east of 12th who are suggesting that this moratorium would benefit them by pushing new business to their neighborhood —


      The proposed moratorium would not cover the same boundaries as the assoication. It would extend 1800 feet in every direction from Ben’s Chili Bowl, which would cut off new licenses on 11th, 10th, and 9th Streets from Florida to R Street in addition to the core 14th and U areas. Support this group, and you are setting that area up as a no man’s land until 2017.

  • Having served on an ANC when the moratorium concept was being adopted by the DC Council, it was not imagined that a moratorium would become generational. In several neighborhoods their long term use has de facto amended the zoning code. This has resulted in the commercial areas locked in time and less retail competitive. Unless there is a sunset agreed to I would caution against using this draconian land use tool.

    • I asked PoP to post this because I want to make sure that neighborhood residents who have an opinion make it known to the decisionmakers even if you can’t attend the meeting tomorrow night. In neighborhood politics, the loudest voices will always prevail, even if they are not the majority. If you, like me, are flatly opposed to this proposal, or if you have any questions about it, drop a note to Jim Graham, your ANC rep, or anyone else who represents you.

      Btw, the poster who points out that the moratorium would benefit east of 12th is spot on. It wouldn’t.

  • these folks presented at the meridian hill neighborhood assoc meeting last night. they claim to not be against development, though there were a few freudian slips that indicated otherwise. giving them the benefit of the doubt, however, they did try positioning themselves as seeking a “breather” from any more bar or restaurant openings from 14th to 9th streets, and north to florida and south to t — an 1800 ft radius from ben’s. they have anecdotal evidence of too many liquor licenses and make claims such establishments are driving away retail establishments, causing an imbalance. yes, everyone presenting lived on wallach. residents at last night’s meeting seemed evenly split on the idea of a moratorium, perhaps with a slight majority leaning in favor of one. when pressed, representatives from sdca acknowledged forming their little group because they were disenfranchised by the u street association and its perceived pro-restaurant stance. further, they just weren’t able to speak to how this moratorium accomplished anyone’s agenda or made the neighborhood safer or spurred retail investment. i started tick-marking the number of times they called this a “breather” because the conversation had became so redundant. the arguments just weren’t well-honed and i am not convinced this does more than add another layer of city bureaucracy to stifle growth. at best it’s another tool in the arsenal of the anti-development vocal minority, but i can certainly see how others might take a favorable position on the moratorium as it may ‘distribute’ more restaurants and bars in neighboring areas.

  • I see there’s a reception after the meeting… Wonder if it’ll have alcohol…

    Also, what’s this claim on the website that they “saved” the post office?

  • I for one would much prefer to have the SDCA focused on ending the violent and random attacks we’re encountering these days. And the hell with the liquor license bull crap they’re so focused on now. Why not focus your energy on more cameras, more street ligting, more police presence and stop stifling businesses.

    • You clearly don’t understand how “civic associations” work. They don’t care about anything but fiercely NIMBY concerns and liquor licenses. The LCCA stopped a pick up/drop off dry cleaner on 13th for some nebulous reason and instead we lived with a vacant storefront for 8 plus years.

  • One of their members stood outside my apartment building door last night and invited me to their meeting while handing out flyers– it was pitched not mentioning the moratorium at all- just uniting together for common causes like more grocery stores. Upset at the mislead of information.

  • So called Civic Associations are about as good for the city’s ecosystem as snakeheads are for lakes and rivers.

  • Thanks for sharing with PoPville. Again, its frustrating to see neighbors pushing for a moratorium that will do nothing to resolve, address or manage the quality of life issues that face the 14th & U Street neighborhoods (and every other destination neighborhood in DC and across the country).

    Please express your support for taking a better approach to managing these issues and by signing the petition >> << opposing a moratorium as any type of a "solution"

    • I’ve signed the petition, but I’m concerned that standing alone it won’t be very effective against this group. Many of the signators on the petition are commenting that they don’t live in the neighborhood, or even in the city, so the SDCA (“RESIDENTS ONLY!”) are going to say that their views don’t count. What I want is for neighborhood residents with local addresses to be letting their views be known.

      • Most residents in the effected neighborhood are likely for the moratorium, or at least not opposed to it.

        • Really? I live in the affected area and every one of my neighbors that I’ve spoken to are against a moratorium.

          That said, they are all for working to solve the headaches that a neighborhood filled with 1000s of residents and 100s of businesses creates…

          • I’m with bryandc on this. How do you know what “most” people think? I live smack in the middle of the new association’s boundries — and near ground zero, you might say, of the proposed moratorium — and nobody’s ever taken my vote. Which, by the way, would be against a moratorium . . .

      • To those concerned about who’s been signing the petition, 81% of signatories live within the ZIP code or an adjoining ZIP code to the proposed moratorium area. In addition, 93% of signatories live in the District of Columbia.

  • Scrillin

    So they’re interested in a moratorium on liquor licenses on U St, but this association is only open to residents who live South of U?

    So, if I were to live at 14th & Florida, I should have less of a say than someone who lives at S & 11th?

    Buncha NIMBY bullshit. I spend most of my recreational time at U St, I moved to 13th & Clifton for U St, and I’ll make sure to take a steaming dump every day on Wallach if this goes forward. Balkanization, ho!

    • That is crazy. At the very least they should restrict their area of concern to their own neighborhood, south of U. Residents north of U can decide for themselves whether they want to have a liquor moratorium.

      • Hey, I live south of U St. (Wallach and T) and I am totally against the moritorium! You’re correct though, just attended the SDCA meeting and it’s all about NIMBY! I always find it interesting that the people concerned about their “neighborhood” could care less what policies they support will impact the surrounding areas.

    • Crass aside, this is a very good point.

  • I’m all for the moratorium. DC, and this neighborhood in particular does not need any more alcohol serving establishments and the nuisances that come with them.

    • Aonymous-

      I suggest you move to the suburbs.

      • What a well thought-out position. And a novel one, at that:

        “If you don’t agree with MY conception of the city, you should move.”

        Obviously, when you moved here, you became the arbiter of neighborhood issues.

        • Look, the guy didn’t just say that there were too many liquor licenses in the neighborhood. He said there were too many in the entire city! I’m quite certain there are many areas of this city where residents would kill to have more options for walking to a decent restaurant for dinner and a beer or glass of wine. Prohibition was a failure, remember?

          Enforce noise laws. Enforce nuisance laws. Enforce drunk driving laws. Enforce littering laws. Enforce whatever laws. But don’t tell legitimate business owners who are prepared to follow the rules that they’re not welcome in my neighborhood just because you don’t like them. Thank you.

          • Under that rationale, why have zoning laws at all? Let strip bars be next to elementary schools and large scale factories next to single family homes.

          • I think the SDCA is overreacting, but just saying “Enforce such-and-such laws” is somewhat empty.

            It’s great that there are all those laws in the books, but enforcing them requires police. And areas like Adams Morgan have been struggling because of NOT having enough police presence to deal with the drunk drivers, people fighting, litterers, people being loud, etc.

          • right, different anon, except Adams Morgan also has a moratorium! so what exactly has been solved?

            there are many, many options short of a moratorium. for example, local liquor serving establishments could be assessed a special tax to fund extra personnel to enforce the laws.

          • So citizens don’t have the right to an opinion as to what comes into their neighborhood? You might want to rethink the expansiveness of your pro-business attitude.

          • huh? you’re not making any sense.

  • Apparently the businesses that the neighborhood is still managing to attract and maintain without a moratorium (Taylor Gourmet and Yes Market) are good enough for our President but not for our NIMBYs.

    • “our” President? He’s not mine.

      • Please. Unless you live abroad, he’s your president too.

        I wasn’t thrilled with George W. Bush, and probably would have referred to him as “the” president rather than “my” president, but I can’t imagine contradicting someone who referred to him as “our” president.

  • I’ve lived in the U Street area for 16 years and totally support the moratorium. Let Eric Hilton open his clubs in some other neighborhood. The neighborhood has more than enough restaurants and bars. What we need is more retail that sells stuff that we actually want to buy. And for those who want this to be a bigger and better “destination neighborhood” maybe they should be the ones to clean up every Saturday and Sunday morning when the party is over.

    • Two thoughts:

      1) If Old Navy thought they could sell cheap tees and make money here, they’d have a store on U Street.

      2) I’d much rather a restaurant or bar than another novelty or convenience store.

      Totally against the moratorium and I find it curious that an organization who limits it’s membership pretty much to Wallach Street and surrounding blocks should have any say at all on what happens north of U. These people can kiss my ass.

      • Implicit in Neighborhood Guy’s Wallach-tonian comment is that his 16 years in the neighborhood entitles his opinions to greater weight than new residents. I say BS. If Neighborhood Guy is a homeowner, then he paid far less for his house than I did when I moved here, his property taxes are likely capped at half of what mine are. If I’m writing two checks to the DC government for every one of his, then maybe my views should count for twice as much!

        But, seriously, I am so tired of this “give us stores where there’s stuff we want to buy” arguments. I live near Wallach Place. Our neighborhood has a “walk score” of 98, for pete’s sake. Everything you could possibly want is within spitting distance. I’ve had no reason to set foot in a car for the entire time that I’ve lived here.

        I’m probably older than Neighborhood Guy. But I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be young. I’m happy to tolerate a few loud voices late on a Saturday night in order to live in a happy and vibrant neighborhood. In my experience, it’s nothing that turning the fan up another notch won’t cure.

        • +1 to Anon’s points. And as for Neighborhood Guy’s 16 yrs here, I’ve got 6 more on him here, and I oppose a moratorium.

    • I’m a neighborhood guy that’s lived in the area for 6 years, and all I’ve seen is the disapparence of retail and artsy stores because no one shopped at them. As a result, the neighborhood has increased in popularity, value, and activity. U St. is a destination zone for hungry and thirsty Dc residents and tourists. From someone who’s lived here for 16 years, there is no way you can tell me or would I beleive, that this neighborhood has become safer, over the past 10 years.

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