Many of the applications seemed routine and generated little or no discussion. The two cases below were exceptions.
The owner of Bestway Liquors (2011 14th Street) attended the meeting and reported that his mandatory placard about the renewal application has been up in the window of his store for about a week. Commissioner John Green (district 12 -- also the location of Bestway Liquors) reported "positive and negative remarks" via email about the store. He read the emails to the meeting about the store, which is located on the east side of 14th Street just north of U Street. Some emails said the store "attracts unsavory people", that there were "people loitering", and "drunks passed out" in front of the store.
|Bestway Liquors and placard on March 19|
The owner and his attorney showed the ANC several "certificates of compliance", which is what liquor stores get when DC authorities attempt a "sting" to get the store to sell liquor to underage or obviously drunk patrons, and the store (complying with the law) refuses to do so. The owner also showed several "barring notices" -- official documents that allow an owner to refuse to sell to specific individuals who have been a problem. On some occasions, the owner says he observes, on the store's security cameras, barred individuals sitting at the bus stop persuading others to buy liquor on their behalf. When the owner sees this, he said, he refuses the sale.
The owner also said he does not sell malt liquor or "singles".
A police officer at the committee meeting said the MPD had a new additional police officer assigned to that stretch of U Street and hoped the officer would reduce the problems in front of Bestway Liquors.
The committee voted to take no action. If there are no official complaints to DC's liquor-licensing authorities, the store will probably have its license renewed.
"It draws a huge crowd of Howard students," said one committee member of Fairmont Liquors (2633 Sherman Avenue).
"They come in six, seven, ten at a time," the owner of Fairmont Liquors told the committee.
|(Google Street View)|
"The problem is a fake ID," the owner said. "They [meaning, the ID cards] come from many states, not just Virginia, Maryland, but Alaska, many states."
The owner told the committee he had gotten a booklet from DC's liquor-licensing authorities to help him distinguish genuine out-of-state IDs from not-so-genuine.
"We need to take a serious look at the record," said ANC1B Chair James Turner (Commissioner for district 08). Turner noted there were occasions when there was no ID check.
"Is that a good community neighborhood establishment?" Turner said.
During the discussion it was also noted there had been a homicide at the liquor store sometime during the last three years. However, the homicide was unconnected with the store, except for the fact that it took place there, and no one suggested the owner was in any way culpable.
A member of the committee asked if the establishment had security camera. The owner said he had one inside camera and was planning four cameras outside.
The liquor license renewal application for Fairmont Liquors has not started its placarding period yet, so there was no vote at the meeting. The committee expects to take up the case at its next meeting. The owner was advised to prepare as much as possible in order to make a strong case for renewal when he comes before the committee.
Many other liquor stores in the area between U Street and Columbia Heights are coming up for renewal -- see the bottom of today's other post for a list.