ABRA Last Call Newsletter: May/June 2016

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Last Call Newsletter
May/June 2016

Community Proposes Liquor License Moratorium

ABC Board seeks public comment at June 1 hearing.

Google Map

A new community proposal is requesting a moratorium on certain alcohol licenses along the Queens Chapel and Bladensburg Roads, NE corridor. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1 to receive public comment on the proposals.

Several community groups, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, Langdon Park Community Association, The Greater Woodridge-Gateway Leaders' Group, and residents of Woodridge, Langdon Park and Gateway Communities submitted the petitions.

While there are slight variations in the proposals, they generally request prohibiting the issuance of certain alcohol licenses for taverns, nightclubs, multipurpose facilities, and restaurants with entertainment endorsements within an 1,800-foot radius of the corridor. 

In making its decision on the moratorium, the Board will review the public comment it receives on the issue to examine whether alcohol licensing is having an adverse impact on the neighborhood, specifically on issues of noise, litter, parking, property values, crime and pedestrian and vehicular safety.

If approved by the Board, the moratorium would be the fifth neighborhood moratorium in the District joining Adams Morgan, East Dupont CircleGlover Park and West Dupont Circle. In March, the Board ended the Georgetown Moratorium Zone—which was in effect for 27 years—after receiving input from community and business groups supporting the move.

Members of the public that want to comment on the petitions—either at the Board’s hearing or by submitting written comment through June 10—can visit ABRA’s website for details

(Image courtesy Google)

Liquor Store Licensing on Hold


Business owners looking to open liquor stores in the District may need to put their plans on hold.

Applications for new liquor store licenses cannot currently be accepted by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) since the number of pending and issued liquor store licenses reached 250, which by law is the cap. ABRA will begin accepting applications again when the number falls back below 250. 

The cap does not affect a liquor store owner's ability to transfer its license to a new location or to a new owner. Any transfer would be subject to review and approval of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. 

In addition, the cap does not affect a business owner's ability to apply for other alcohol license types since the 250-cap only impacts stores permitted to sell spirits, beer and wine (class A licenses). 

Follow ABRA on Twitter and facebook to get the latest updates on liquor store licenses in the District.

Council Passes Sale-to-Minor Penalty Bill


A new emergency measure was passed by the Council of the District of Columbia on Tuesday, May 3 that clarifies penalty procedures for sale-to-minor violations. The bill is subject to final approval of Mayor Muriel Bowser before it can take effect.

The Sale to Minors Penalty Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 clarifies the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's (Board) process for counting violations for selling alcohol to a minor or failing to verify an individual’s age. Both violations—defined as primary-tier violations under the District of Columbia regulations—are subject to escalating penalties based on the number of offenses that occur during a four-year period. 

While the Board has been consistent in how it counts these violations over the years—basing the date of the violation on the date of the offense and only counting cases that have been adjudicated—the pending legislation provides the public with greater transparency on the process.

Stay tuned to future editions of Last Call to get the latest updates on whether the bill becomes law. 

Solicitor License Payments Due June 30


Representatives of wholesalers and manufacturers, also known as solicitors, are required to make license payments to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) by Thursday, June 30.

Solicitors should check their mail at the end of May for payment notices. Payment may be mailed or delivered in person to ABRA's office. Beginning July 1, a fee of $50 per day will be assessed for any payment that is late. Late fees may not exceed the cost of the license. 

New Deadlines Set for Event Applications

Cherry Blossom Festival

New application deadlines for outdoor events are going into effect. 

Beginning Tuesday, May 31, applications for temporary licenses and one-day substantial changes will be subject to new filing deadlines depending on whether the event is outdoors or indoors.

Under the new deadlines, applications for outdoor events will need to be filed with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) at least 20 days prior to the event taking place. Outdoor events are defined as those occurring on outdoor public space, excluding sidewalk cafés adjacent to a building; outdoor private space that is not located on the private property of the building being operated or utilized by the applicant for an event; or another property owner’s private space, such as an outdoor parking lot.   

Applications for indoor events can continue to be filed at least seven days in advance of the event. An indoor event is categorized as occurring inside of or on site of a building, including a building’s outdoor courtyard, backyard, summer garden or rooftop deck. In addition, any event held on a sidewalk café that is located adjacent to the applicant's building is also considered an indoor event provided that a public space permit or written approval has been issued by the District Department of Transportation. 

It is strongly encouraged that applications for large indoor and outdoor events be filed well in advance of these deadlines. 

Information and applications are available on ABRA's website. Applicants that have questions can contact ABRA's Licensing Division by calling (202) 442-4423 or emailing.

ABC Board Seeks Public Comment

Grocery Store

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) is seeking public comment on proposed rules regarding applications for full-service grocery stores that can sell beer and wine (class B licenses). 

As part of the proposed rules, an applicant for a new class B full-service grocery store license would need to submit floor plans along with their completed application to the Board. 

In addition, the rules establish a methodology for determing whether an applicant’s floor plans meet the required criteria for qualifying as a full-service grocery store. The stores are required to dedicate a certain amount of square footage—or selling area—to the sale of certain food products.

Members of the public can submit written comment to the Board regarding the proposed rules up until 30 days after they are published in the DC Register. In order to submit comment to the Board, include the full name, title, and organization, if applicable, of the person(s) commenting. Submit comments to ABRA General Counsel Martha Jenkins by:

  • Email; or
  • Mail - 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009. 

Coming Soon: ABRA Community Training


The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will be launching a new training this summer geared for residents and community organizations. The first session will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. 

Training will inform residents of District alcohol laws and ABRA processes. Topics will include protesting licenses, filing settlement agreements and learning ABRA resources and hearing processes. 

Members of the community that are interested in attending training can contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by calling (202) 397-3971 or emailingTraining will be located at ABRA's office: 

  • 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.

New Licensee Orientation Training June 9

ABRA Training

New and existing ABC licensees are invited to attend ABRA’s Licensee Orientation Training from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, June 9 to learn about:

  • District ABC laws and regulations (including recent changes to the law),
  • Tips for working effectively with the community,
  • Settlement Agreements,
  • Expectations of licensees,
  • Best practices, and
  • Noise abatement and sound management.

Contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, June 3 to register by emailing or calling (202) 397-3971.

Attendance for this class is strongly recommended for new license holders. Training is free of charge. Requests for interpreters may be made; however, they must be submitted by the registration deadline. Training is located at ABRA's office: 

  • 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.