- Barracks Row might start talking about a liquor license moratorium. (Photo: Samuel Corum)
Before we begin, let us be clear: No one has yet formally proposed a liquor license moratorium for the Capitol Hill neighborhood's bustling Barracks Row corridor. So continue to breathe normally.
That said, ANC 6B is hosting a panel discussion tonight to gather input and begin a discussion about whether Capitol Hill might ever want to, at some point in the future, start talking about enacting a moratorium.
"I am not advocating that Capitol Hill should have a moratorium," says commissioner Norman Metzger, who is chairing 6B's Special Taskforce Retail Mix committee. "All I'm trying to do is to help the community be more informed."
That may be, but even Metzger acknowledges the mere act of scheduling such an event is a bit controversial. "When you mention moratoriums here on the Hill, people sort of react in horror," he says.
Metzger says he put together tonight's panel, which will feature remarks from ABRA Director Fred Moosally, ANC 2B's Jack Jacobson (Dupont Circle), ANC 1C's Mindy Moretti and Bryan Weaver (Adams Morgan), and ANC 3B's Jackie Blumenthal (Glover Park), because the ANC has recently been inundated with new liquor license application requests. "There was also this feeling that retail stores were being pushed out," Metzger says.
That set of circumstances recently led the commission to enact a new blanket policy to protest every single liquor license that comes before it. It's not a wholly unique position for an ANC to take (a protest doesn't necessarily mean the ANC wants to deny someone a license, but rather gives them standing to negotiate stipulations before the ABC Board), but it has led to some hand-wringing of late over the future of Barracks Row. Fliers distributed within the community in and around Eight Street SE in recent weeks come emblazoned with such classic D.C. bugaboos as, "Do We Want to Become 'Adams Morganed?'"
So Metzger is hoping tonight's panel will at least allow the subject to be broached, but in a purely informational way. The three commissioners will share their experiences with enacting and keeping moratoria, and Moosally will explain what different kinds of moratoria exist and how they work.
"I look at what other parts of the city are doing, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, 17th Street, and they all have moratoria, and they all renewed them, so I'm wondering, what makes them so bad?" Metzger asks.
Tonight's event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Brent Elementary, located at 3rd and North Carolina SE.