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Washingtonians opposed to development could soon find themselves facing something new: residents who support liquor licenses, want to see more construction, and are actually organized. And if that happens, it’ll be due in small part to the proposed U Street NW liquor moratorium.
“I feel like the current system basically gives a heckler’s veto to a small group of people who are organized enough,” says 26-year-old Columbia Heights residents Michael Hamilton. When Hamilton, an administrative assistant at a District nonprofit, heard about the proposed freeze on liquor licenses, he decided to see if friends would be interested in a group that would oppose it: In My Backyard DC.
The name’s a not-so-subtle play on Not In My Backyard, a pejorative term for people who are seen as reflexively opposing any new development. So far, Hamilton’s week-old Yes In My Backyard agenda only boasts a website and a Google Doc of people who’ve said they’re interested (albeit a Google Doc with 190 names).
In the future, Hamilton says he plans to hold meetings for the group and decide what kind of businesses they want to support. In My Backyard DC’s website suggests that it would be aimed at supporting new apartment construction and granting new liquor licenses.
Hamilton, who’s lived in Washington for almost two years, says he understands the concerns of area NIMBYs who see themselves being pushed out of their neighborhood, but thinks development would be good for them too. “I can definitely sympathize with people who see new people as invaders or invading the neighborhood,” he says.
Photo by Flickr user dcmetroblogger used under a Creative Commons license.