Housing Complex

YIMBY Uprising Over Glover Park Liquor Moratorium

A couple weeks ago, ace intern Rachel Calvert reported on ANC 3B's decision to stick with its moratorium on liquor licenses for beer, wine, and spirits. The vote was 3-1, which would seem to indicate a general consensus in the neighborhood that the existing 12 full-service licenses, plus two more over the next three years, are enough.

Not so, according to a new ad hoc group of citizens, who've started a website to support the killing of the moratorium entirely. According to area homeowner Lauren Camera, a dozen folks emailed back and forth amongst themselves to organize the effort, which has now garnered 56 petition signatures. Their primary concern: The extra two beer/wine/spirits licenses will probably be gobbled up by existing restaurants, meaning no more new dining options and no empty storefronts filled.

They're not just fighting on the restaurant front, though. The website urges concerned parties to show up and vote at this coming Tuesday's meeting of the Glover Park Citizens Association, which is weighing in on the ANC's proposal to get rid of the moratorium on distribution licenses, too. That would allow more small grocery stores in the neighborhood, like the Trader Joe's that is rumored to be interested in the old Myer Emco building (that is, like every other whispering of Trader Joe's looking at a neighborhood, just a rumor).

It's just one more example of the Yes In My Back Yard syndrome that's been sweeping the District lately—(often but not always) newer, younger residents who proactively want something and are organizing to counter those less comfortable with change, who've traditionally been the loudest voices in these provincial debates.

  • Fong Fong

    I love that the ad to the left of the article is for the NYC American Craft Beer Festival.

    Hey, change is hard, especially for those living near a place that used to have a vibrant bar scene. But those days are gone, and to paraphrase Yogi Berra, nobody goes there any more, because nobody goes there any more. There are hipper, more vibrant bar scenes elsewhere, and those are not going away.

  • H Street Landlord

    Love it!I am on team yes in my back yard!

  • 1 of the 56

    Fong Fong: Of course there are more vibrant bar scenes elsewhere, but not all of us want to live in a "transitional" neighborhood or travel halfway across the city in order to have access to a decent variety of bars.

    We have a great neighborhood right here that has plenty of available real estate, so why not encourage growth nearby?

    We aren't looking to be the next Adams Morgan or H st. We aren't trying to turn ourselves into a hip destination. (Glover Park is too inconvenient for most people for that to be realistic anyway) In fact it's exactly the opposite. We leave Glover Park in droves on Friday and Saturday night to go to those hip places, we just want a reason to stay.

    If we build it and people come from all over the city, great! I'm sure the owners will love it, but really we are just looking to fill a neighborhood demand whose supply has been artificially limited.

  • Axel

    When I was younger and lived as a single-not-so-hipster in a big apartment building 9 stories up and had a dedicated underground space for my car, I would have welcomed lots more bars and restaurants nearby. Buzz, vibrancy, city-never-sleeps, etc. The more, the merrier! I stayed up late, the noise didn't bother me in my "high-rise" apartment with thick windows, and I couldn't give a damn about parking or even traffic. I took the Metro when I could and had my nice underground parking spot when I returned home in my car.

    Now that I am raising a family in a side street a couple of blocks from a restaurant area, I have a different perspective and my interests are having some balance in the 'hood. I have only a street parking space, and it's not fun to come home from work and have to circle the blocks endlessly because the proliferation of restaurants and bars means that their patrons have taken a lot of the spots on the side streets. It's especially not fun being awakened (or having the kids awakened) in the middle of the night by some drunkards shouting as they stumble back to their cars. It's really not fun when they relieve themselves on the front walk or in the modest attempt at a front garden.

    So yes, some balance in liquor licenses is a good thing in areas that are home to restaurants, bars, single hipsters in their sky pads, young families in their nearby street-level houses and senior citizens.

  • YIMBY!

    Just a reminder that the liquor license is for restaurants only, not bars. Would LOVE to see some great new restaurants along Wisc. Ave in Glover Park. There is demand for it!!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/ Mr T in DC

    Ah, the old NIMBY chestnuts are raised by the Helen Lovejoys among us: the drunks will wake the children, urinate on our lawns, and steal our God-given street parking spaces (on a side street a couple of blocks off the main drag)! Ahhhh, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!

  • Mistyretina

    It seems that some families with small children can't handle the city life and should move to the suburbs.

  • Jackie Blumenthal

    As the ANC Commissioner whose area includes the Glover Park commercial district, I'd like to clarify a few things. The addition of two more CR licenses and one that is currently available opens the possibility for three more restaurants in Glover Park.There is no factual information that any of those licenses will be taken by establishments that currently exist in Glover Park. In addition, the old Town Hall site is being taken over by new management promising a pub-like seafood restaurant that the neighborhood is looking forward to welcoming. If all licenses are taken up, almost half of all retail space in Glover Park will be food and drink establishments. One thing the Moratorium has achieved is to keep a balance of good and services in our commercial district by preventing an over-concentration of ABC-licensed establishments. It has also worked to help address the ongoing problems with patron noise, vandalism, disorderly conduct and lack of parking that has roiled the community for years. Lifting the Moratorium is not the answer. Adjusting it to meet need and capacity is. The ANC will also be recommending that the ABC Board remove Class B licenses from the Moratorium so that Trader Joe's or any other retail operation selling beer and wine for off site consumption can also locate in Glover Park. All of this has been considered, debated, thought through and balanced against available options. Opinions and concerns of all the varied interests in Glover Park have been solicited, weighed and considered. There are more people engaged in this conversation than just those who express their opinions in online forums. The recommended increase in CR licenses is a compromise that balances all points of view taken in context. Also, please note that only those people whose annual dues were paid prior to February 5 can vote at the GPCA meeting on March 6, according to its bylaws which were written years ago to prevent vote-packing.

  • mistyretina

    Traditional retail is dying a slow death in America. Websites like Amazon.com are becoming the optimal way to receive our goods these days. The future of vacant retail space is going to inevitably evolve. Glover Park representatives aren't taking this into consideration. The safest bet on our strip is the restaurant use. Small retailers will have a hard time making it in Glover Park. I have no idea how the tennis store, the mirror store, or the carpet store stay in business. Especially when you look at the rents they probably have to pay. Not to mention challenges with the economic climate.

  • Ben


    I attended a smart growth roundtable held at the Tenley library last week. Roger Lewis (Wasington Post columnist, U. of Maryland architecture professor) stressed that almost cannot have too many restaurants in neighborhood. He said that restaurants are what makes neighborhoods vibrant and these still don't face (yet) the competition from the internet. You can't buy a meal from Amazon.com .

  • Christine Gossens

    Mistyretina -- I'll tell you how the glass and carpet store stay open; because people use them, duh. I'm a homeowner in GP & have used both, as well as the hardware store and the paint store. Also, they don't rely solely on neighborhood business.

  • To Jackie Blumenthal

    How can you claim that Glover Park doesn't "need" more than x number of restaurants and at the same time imply that we "need" another supermarket selling beer and wine when we already have Whole Foods, Safeway, and Glover Park Market? Sounds contradictory.

    Also, are you planning on supporting voter suppression at the upcoming GPCA meeting?

  • andy2

    I've lived in GP for the past five years and of the new business that have opened (Surfside, Kitchen, Mason Inn, Z Burger, tennis store, Brueggers, Chipotle, Angelico Pizza, Bread Soda,and Bodysmith) its been a healthy mix of new and renewed liqour licenses and non-alcohol businesses.
    I don't think that there needs to be a moritorium on licenses themselves, but perhaps a good compromise on operating hours and noise.

    GP isn't on a Metro line but has remained vibrant serving the community and the rest of the city. GP should embrace this and support the local businesses by keeping the neighborhood vibrant and thriving.


  • crin

    Not liking people peeing in your yard and waking up your kids seems like a reasonable desire. Most people want less of that, almost no one wants more of that. Unless you're the drunk a-hole doing the actual peeing. Which is possible since a-holes tend to have very low self-awareness.

  • RT

    Gotta love people like Jackie Blumenthal, proudly flouting the idea of keeping people from voting. Will there be poll taxes too? Perhaps only propertied land-owners with powdered wigs can vote?