Get local news delivered straight to your phone
North Michigan Park has won another battle against a proposed liquor store.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Wednesdaydenied a liquor license application for 4944 South Dakota Ave. NE, siding with residents of the quiet neighborhood who said booze would hurt property values and attract crime.
The case was notable thanks to high profile names protesting the license, including Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, several neighborhood leaders, and the mayor’s father, Joe Bowser. The neighborhood touts its civic pride.
We can't make City Paper without you
Barred in DC firstreported the news on Twitter.
“In this case, approval of the Application is inappropriate because it is likely that the presence of a liquor store will encourage loitering and other antisocial behavior,” the board wrote.
The ABC Board didn’t hold back in its conclusion, agreeing with critics that the proposed Pax Spirits would “likely have a detrimental impact on real property values.” It even said loiterers might in part bring drug dealing, fighting, and public urination.
Kevin Lee, representing Pax Liquor, Inc., which already had a lease agreement for the space, said he’d speak with the applicant Chang Chuoi tomorrow. Chuoi had tried to assure residents at a Jan. 16 ABC Board hearing that he would provide enough parking, post “no loitering” signs, hire neighbors, and ensure peace.
“After we assess the [board’s] decision, we will decide what to do,” Lee said.
The community has a history of successfully protesting against alcohol. At the January hearing, a convenience store owner in the neighborhood testified that four years ago he wanted to sell wine, only to withdraw his license application after complaints. On the same block, the North Michigan Park Civic Association protested a liquor store permit in April 1964, the Washington Postreported at the time.
Ronnie Edwards, the chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A, said he was so thrilled to hear the ABC Board’s verdict he wanted to hold a celebratory rally this weekend. He says it’s more likely the ANC will mark the decision at their regularly scheduled meeting next Wednesday night.
Edwards says his next step will be to push for a moratorium to forestall any other liquor license applications. He says the area, where single family homes surround a few retail shops on South Dakota Avenue, is “totally inappropriate” for a liquor store.
“It’s not a business district,” he says.