The “Soviet” Safeway, located on 17th Street and Corcoran in the heart of Dupont Circle, is seeking a liquor license so it can sell beer and wine for purchase. These efforts have hit a snag; by last week’s protest deadline, FOUR different groups have protested the liquor license:
- The local ANC 2B, which voted 4-3 in June to protest (see protest letter here)
- ANC is protesting “based on adverse impact on the peace, order, and quiet of the neighborhood, subject to a negotiation of a settlement agreement that allows for the peaceful cohabitation with current neighbors”
- The Dupont Circle Citizens Association, a group that historically isn’t a huge fan of development in Dupont Circle, voted 6-2 in June to protest (see letter here); they’re concerned about:
- the effect of the issuance of a license on peace order and quiet;
- the proximity of the establishment to Ross Elementary School; and
- an overconcentration of licensed establishments in the area”
- 58 Parents, Guardians, and Teachers of children at Ross Elementary School, who are upset about
- Proximity to school (Playground is just 15 feet away from Safeway across an alley)
- “decrease in proportion of retail space committed to food and fresh goods which serve the needs of a school and a neighborhood with a growing number of children”
- “Overconcentration of licensed establishments in the area”
- 3 liquor/beer stores within 400 feet
- Dozens of bars/restaurants/clubs on 17th Street
- Reduces amount of space available for fresh products, groceries, & other basic consumable on the street when alcohol is already available
- 589(!!) “Safeway customers”
- Nearly 600 people signed a 26 page-long petition entitled “Prevent Safeway from Selling Beer and Wine!”
- Petition stated “As a Safeway customer, I request [ABRA] deny any request by Safeway…to sell beer and wine in the Dupont Circle neighborhood store. The store is small, and the limited space is vital for providing food and living essentials to area residents. Furthermore, there is ample availability to purchase all forms of alcohol within the neighborhood from existing stores.”
- The long-standing Cairo Liquor almost certainly facilitated this group.
- As it stands just across the street from Safeway, it stands to lose sales or be forced to drive its prices down.
- Mitch Aaronson is listed as the group’s designated representative; Mr. Aaronson is listed as a Vice-President of Cairo and is related (brother? son?) to Cairo’s owner Howie Aaronson.
- The scuttlebutt is that the petition signing took place in front of Cairo.
The Current’s article is worth the read for more details; Safeway only claims that less than 4% of the offerings will be beer and wine. A Roll Call hearing was scheduled earlier this week and the protest is scheduled for September 27th. In the end, expect the ANC to enter into a settlement agreement with the Safeway; this would automatically dismiss the Ross group and the huge group of 589. Only the DCCA group would remain for the protest, and I can see them pursuing it going forward.
[Note: Barred in DC shopped for 8 years at the Soviet Safeway, enjoying the lack of selection, and bought lots of Mark West Pinot Noir wine, handles of Svedka vokda, and pumpkin beer at Cairo over same period of time].