Adams Morgan Liquor License Moratorium Extended 3 More Years; Columbia Road Added

In late November, the DC ABC Board unanimously voted to approve a three-year extension (until around end of 2021/early 2022) of the Adams Morgan liquor license moratorium, which has been in effect since 2000. This follows a 3 year extension approved in 2014, and effectuated in 2015, which removed the previous restrictions on restaurant, hotel, and off-premises liquor licenses which many thought stifled development. Barred in DC has obtained a copy of the rulemaking, though there may be a few editing fixes before it’s published in the DC Register later this month.

Under the moratorium, which received mostly support for an extension, no new nightclub licenses can be added in Adams Morgan  and the number of tavern licenses cannot exceed 10 (there are currently more than 10, which means if they close, they cannot be replaced until the number hits 10). ABRA also granted the local ANC’s and neighbors request to expand the moratorium zone  an additional 400 feet on all sides, and shifted the center a bit. The moratorium now extends 1800 feet (one-third a mile) in all directions from Tryst Coffeehouse. Most new areas are residential but the biggest deal is that the moratorium now extends northeast on Columbia Road to the intersection with Mozart Place (half block past Federalist Pig). The ABRA explained why it expanded (basically the spectre of Chief Ike’s reincarnated scared everyone):

The Board recognizes that when it amended the moratorium in 2014, it had not considered a moratorium covering Columbia Rd., N.W.  At that time, fewer residential properties were being built in that area.  Since then,several residential communities have opened on or near Columbia Rd., N.W. and future development projects are planned. … Presently, these residents on or near Columbia Rd., N.W. are not protected by the moratorium.  There has been a substantial amount of testimony of how this lack of protection left those residents vulnerable to a new nightclub opening in the location vacated by Chief Ike’s.  Although the community was successful in preventing the nightclub from opening there, it required a significant amount of time and effort.  Had the moratorium covered this section of Adams Morgan, the community would not have been subjected to this burden.

However, because it expanded the zone, it extended the moratorium 3 years instead of the 5 years sought by the ANC and neighbors, due to the progress made during the previous 3-year moratorium, and a shorter period to review impact of geographic expansion of moratorium would allow amendments to made sooner. Information on the current moratorium (with a map that will need to be expanded slightly) can be found on the ABRA website.


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