Glover Park Weighs Liquor License Shifts

Washington Post Express
January 23, 2008
by Marc Zawel

THEY AREN’T POPPING celebratory corks just yet, but following a three-year liquor license moratorium, District residents in Glover Park may have a handful of new alcohol-serving restaurants to choose from later this year.

At a meeting earlier this month, members of the neighborhood’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted unanimously to lobby the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration for a five-year extension of the moratorium when it lapses in April. But, the ANC also approved an amendment to the moratorium that will allow for three additional class CR licenses. These permit restaurants to sell beer, wine and spirits.

The last moratorium, approved in 2005, has had “a very strong and stabilizing effect on the neighborhood,” according to Alan Blevins, an ANC board member. Crime and public lewdness are down, he said, and the commercial district has been able to attract retail outlets beyond restaurants. “We already have a significant number of restaurants. We’re trying to strike a balance between them and other establishments,” he added.

Jackie Blumenthal, president of the Glover Park Citizens’ Association, said her organization supported the ANC’s decision. Blumenthal acknowledged, however, that there were “differing points of view” on the issue. While some residents wanted to extend additional licenses to fill empty storefronts on Wisconsin Avenue, others, she said, “remembered the disruption and violence that was prevalent” before the moratorium was instituted.

With the possibility of three new restaurants moving in, Glover Park residents have already begun speculating on who might soon set up shop on the neighborhood’s Wisconsin Avenue commercial strip. Blevins mentioned a “high-end restaurant” that had already expressed interest in one of the licenses and that other additional requests were still in the “development phase.” Blumenthal said that generally, the neighborhood had expressed interest in family-oriented eateries, white-tablecloth restaurants and those that did not turn into late-night bars.

For now, Glover Park can only wait. Although neither Blumenthal nor Blevins expect opposition to their plans, nothing may be finalized until after April 14, when the current moratorium expires and the community may ask for reinstatement and a public hearing, according to Cynthia Woodruff-Simms, the ABRA community resource officer.

Still, Blevins said: “We’ve worked hard and are very excited for what is to come.”

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