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A message from Cmr. Stephen Whatley, ANC 4A03, re Ward 4 Liquor License Moratorium

Dear neighbors, as you may know, there are attempts currently underway to attract full services grocers to ANC 4A Single Member Districts (SMD) 4A02 and 4A03, in particular the Walter Reed campus (ANC 4A03) and the proposed development at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Georgia Avenue (ANC 4A02). One of the requests of the grocers is for the ability to sell beer and wine (Class B and/or Class D). Presently there is a moratorium on the issuance of off-site liquor licenses in Ward 4. These licenses allow the sale of beer and wine for off premise use (Class B) or on-site (Class D). There will be a presentation on this issue at the ANC 4A meeting scheduled for February 7th at the Jewish Primary Day School. There is no other request for a full service grocer in any other ANC 4A SMD; ergo any resolution can be tailored for the 2 SMD’s in question. Please keep in mind that the discussion concerns full service grocers only. The ABRA full service requirements are listed below. During the month of February 2017, Commissioner Lincoln and I will be canvassing ANC 4A02 and 4A03, as well as, the Shepherd Park list serve, the Brightwood list serve, the 16th Street Heights list serve, as well as the Takoma Park list serve (affected ANC 4B) for the community’s input. Other ANC Commissioners may reach out to their SMDs for comment. Based on the community’s input and our research Commissioner Lincoln and I will move a resolution (for or against) issuance of license (waiver of the moratorium). Please note that under the requirements, small grocers would not be eligible and only full service grocers locating in ANC 4A02 and ANC 4A03 would be eligible.

As a reminder, there is currently a moratorium that prohibits the issuance of licenses to full-service grocery stores in Ward 4 with the exception of 4C07.

Full Service Grocery ABRA Requirements

I. Off-Premises Consumption at Grocery Stores – Class B License

Few retailers qualify for a class B license to sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption in the District. In order to apply for a class B license, a full-service grocery store would need to meet the following criteria.

1.) A retailer must be licensed as a grocery store and sell at least six of the following categories:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh and uncooked meats, poultry and seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Canned foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Dry groceries and baked goods, and
  • Non-alcoholic beverages.

    2.) Dedicate a certain amount of square footage—or selling area—to the sale of the food products listed above, including a minimum of either:

  • 50 percent of the store’s total square footage, or
  • 6,000 square feet.

    3.) Dedicate at least 5 percent of the selling area to each of the food categories. In order for the square footage to be considered part of the selling area, it must be open to the public and may not include storage, preparation areas or rest rooms.

II. On-Premises Consumption at Grocery Stores – Class D License

A full-service grocery store with a class B license can also apply for a class D license to allow for on-premises consumption. The class D license would permit the store to sell and serve wine and beer that can be consumed on the licensed premises.

A full-service grocery store would need to meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for a class D license:

  • Primary business and purpose is the sale of a full range of fresh, canned, and frozen food items;
  • Sale of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the primary purpose;
  • Sale of alcoholic beverages constitutes no more than 15 percent of the total volume of gross receipts on an annual basis;
  • Establishment is located in a C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, or C-5 zone or, if located within the Southeast Federal Center, in the SEFC/C-R zone;
  • Establishment is a full-service grocery store that is newly constructed with a certificate of occupancy issued after January 1, 2000, or is an existing store which has undergone renovations in excess of $500,000 after January 1, 2000;
  • Opinion of the ANC, if any, has been given great weight; and
  • Applicant does not hold a manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s license.

The purpose of this notice is to ensure that the community is kept informed of proposed actions that will have an impact on our communities.

In closing, the question at hand is whether or not ANC 4A should support the lifting of the moratorium on liquor licenses for the sale of beer and wine only for Full Service Grocers proposing to locate in SMDs 4A02 and 4A03.

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