ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: May/June 2017 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

May-June 2017

Wharf progress

New ABC Businesses Could be Headed to SW Waterfront

Taverns, liquor stores and multipurpose facilities could be among new businesses emerging in the recently developed Southwest Waterfront as a result of emergency legislation passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. 

On June 27, the Council approved emergency legislation proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser that would exempt a defined zone of the Southwest Waterfront from the District's 400-foot distance prohibition. Under current rules, liquor licenses cannot be issued to taverns, liquor stores or multipurpose facilities within 400 feet of a schoolincluding a college or universityor an area operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Since two schools are already established in the waterfront neighborhood, alcohol licenses cannot be issued in the area. However, passage of the "Southwest Waterfront Exemption Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2017," would exempt taverns, multipurpose facilities (such as concert venues), and liquor stores from having to abide by the standards in a defined area of the waterfront that is designated MU-12 zone, square 473

Eight tavern and multipurpose alcohol-license applications have been submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) for businesses in the Southwest Waterfront area. The applications could move forward to the Board for approval if the legislation is signed by Mayor Bowser and completes a 30-day Congressional review period. All eight of the applications would be subject to the 45-day public comment period, including notice to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D. 

Stay tuned to future editions of Last Call for updates on progress of the bill.

New Moratorium Set for Langdon Park

Langdon Park

A new moratorium on certain liquor licenses is on the way for the Langdon Park neighborhood.

"The Langdon Park Moratorium Zone Resolution of 2017," was approved by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 9. After the rules are published in the DC Register for five days, the moratorium will officially take effect. 

The moratorium will limit certain licenses in a zone that extends approximately 600 feet in all directions from 2122 24th Place, NE. Within the zone, only three class C nightclub and multipurpose facility licenses will be permitted. In addition, any new entertainment endorsements will be prohibited for restaurants and taverns in the area. The moratorium will remain in effect for three years. 

Prior to the Council’s vote, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) unanimously adopted the proposed rules on Sept. 7, 2016 in response to several community petitions. In making its decision, the Board considered all of the public comments it received on the issue, including community concerns regarding noise, litter, parking and public safety issues stemming from nightlife establishments already in the neighborhood. The Board also considered concerns raised by businesses, which cited the need for continued economic development in the area.

In order to strike a balance between the concerns of residents and businesses, the Board modified the requests originally proposed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, The Langdon Park Community Association, the Greater Woodridge-Gateway Leaders' Group, and residents of Woodridge, Langdon Park and Gateway Communities. The original proposals generally requested 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 for a five-year period.

The Langdon Park Moratorium Zone will be the fifth neighborhood moratorium zone in the District. The Notice of Final Rulemaking is available online

East Dupont Circle Moratorium Set to Expire

East Dupont map

The future of the East Dupont Circle moratorium is set to be decided this summer. 

On August 21, the moratorium is slated to expire and would need to be renewed or modified by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) in order for the existing licensing restrictions in the area to continue. 

Established in 1990, the moratorium has been renewed five times and modified over the years. Under current regulations, the moratorium limits the number of tavern and nightclub licenses that can be issued in an area extending approximately 600 feet in all directions from the intersection of 17th and Q Streets, NW. Restrictions include a cap of two licenses that can be issued to taverns and prohibits the issuance of any licenses to nightclubs. 

While the Board has the discretion to extend or modify a moratorium, it generally only considers doing so after receiving a petition from the neighborhood. If a petition is filed, the Board will hold a hearing and accept public comment on the proposal before issuing a decision. If no petition is filed, the moratorium could expire.  

Complete details of the moratorium are available online.

Independence Day Extended Hours


Independence Day celebrations will kick off the night before at some establishments in the District.

This is because under the Distict's Extended Holiday Hours Program, more than 175 restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels are registered to stay open later on the night of Monday, July 3.

Licensees registered for the program must end alcohol service by 4 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, July 4 unless an enrolled establishment is required by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to close earlier. Extended hours are not offered on the night of Tuesday, July 4.

Extended hours for this Independence Day are different from last year since eligible licensees are only permitted to stay open later for one night. Last year, the program allowed for enrolled licensees to offer extended hours for an entire weekend since the holiday was on a Monday. 

While the deadline has passed to register for Independence Day extended hours, there is still time for establishments to sign up for Labor Day. An on-premises licensee that is interested in participating in the program can register by submitting a registration form at least 30 days prior to the first holiday an applicant wants to participate. Once a licensee is registered for the program, the establishment is eligible to participate in the program each year thereafter. 

Licensees with settlement agreements or Board orders restricting operating hours may not be eligible to participate.

Complete details are available on ABRA's website.

Big Changes to DC IDs

New License

In June, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) began allowing residents to choose a gender neutral identifier for their gender designation on IDs. 

The gender neutral identifier will be identified by an “X” marker on both the driver’s license and the identification card. 

As a result, all DC DMV related documents, which currently reflect  gender, will now reflect either “M”, “F” or “X”. 

DC DMV has also modified the jurisdictional name on its credentials to reflect “Washington, DC” versus “District of Columbia”. However, all existing credentials reflecting either name will remain valid until their expiration. 

More information is available on the DC DMV's website.

ABC Board Proposes Penalty Updates


The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) has proposed new infractions, penalties and other changes to the Civil Penalty Schedule, which determines penalties for licensees on specific alcohol-related violations. 

Updates to the penalty schedule include adding penalties for new violations created by the 2016 Omnibus Bill, as well as shifts in violation categories and warning requirements. In addition, new sections have been proposed to address managers selling alcoholic beverages directly to minors and managers interfering with Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) or Metropolitan Police Department investigations.

Before the changes are adopted, the Board will hold a hearing to receive public comment on the proposal. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9 in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Hearing Room: 2000 14th St., NW, 4th Floor, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009. 

The Board's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be reviewed on ABRA's website

Individuals and representatives of organizations that want to testify should contact ABRA General Counsel Martha Jenkins by Friday, August 4, 2017 by calling (202) 442-4456 or emailing.

Upcoming Licensee Deadlines

solicitor app due

A number of alcohol licensees have upcoming deadlines with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).


First in line are solicitors, which are due to submit renewal forms to ABRA by Friday, June 30. 

Solicitors are required to renew licenses every three years in order to be eligible to sell and transport alcohol on behalf of the wholesaler or manufacturer the solicitor represents. 

Solicitors should have received renewal notices in their mail last May. Renewal forms are also available online. Renewals must be completed in person at ABRA's office: 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.

Beginning Monday, July 3, 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. Visit ABRA's website for more information.


The next deadline is for alcohol-licensed caterers in the District, which are required to file semi-annual reports with ABRA by Friday, July 30. Semi-annual reports are required to include sales and expenditures for both alcoholic beverages and food from January through June of 2017.

New this year, caterers can now submit semi-annual reports to ABRA online. Licensees can still submit paper versions of the form to ABRA by email or mail to: Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009.

The next semi-annual report will be due from caterers by Jan. 30, 2018 reporting July through December sales and expenditures. Complete details for caterer reports can be reviewed online.

Restaurants and Hotels

Also due on Friday, July 30 are quarterly statements. Licensees of restaurants and hotels are required to file statements with ABRA reporting the previous quarter's gross sales receipts for food and alcohol and total expenses for the purchase of food and alcohol. Quarterly statements may be reported online or with a printed form. Complete details are available online.

Beer, Wine Retailers and Wholesalers

Renewals are also due this year for all District beer and wine retailers (class B retailers) and class B wholesalers. Both groups are due to renew alcoholic beverage licenses by Saturday, September 30. Notices will be mailed to a licensee's mailing address on file. 

A complete renewal schedule for licenses is available on ABRA's website.

Upcoming ABRA Trainings

ABRA Training

Licensee Orientation Training 

New and existing ABC licensees are invited to attend the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration's (ABRA) Licensee Orientation Training from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10. 

Training will cover District alcohol laws and regulations; tips for working effectively with the community; settlement agreements; best practices; as well as noise abatement and sound management.

Contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, Aug. 4 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.

Books and Records Training

ABRA will also provide Books and Records Training for hotel and restaurant licensees, which covers food sales requirements; food sales reporting; quarterly statement filings; and books and records tracking.

The next books and records training is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19. To attend, please RSVP by Friday, Sept. 15 to ABRA Compliance Analyst Monica Clark at (202) 442-4438 or by email.