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Recent compromises appear not to have done much to lower the tension surrounding a proposed extension of a moratorium on liquor licenses west of Dupont Circle.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration held a hearing today on a request from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B to keep the moratorium in place for another 60 days; otherwise, it’s set to expire next Wednesday. The measure makes it difficult for businesses to acquire liquor licenses. Supporters of the moratorium believe it prevents things like noise and crime. The ban has held on for the last 17 years.

The ANC recently voted to support resolutions that would allow restaurants, but not bars, to be exempt, along with One Dupont Circle, a building whose owners argue it’s only been included in the zone up until now because of an administrative error. But some business owners want the restriction gone all together. To that end, Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association Chairman Johnathan ten Hoopen told the board “there was a harm in extending the moratorium.” Hooper said the moratorium was hurting the neighborhood: “The moratorium has become an impediment to economic recovery.”

But ANC 2B Commissioner Kevin O’Connor asked the board to extend the moratorium so the group could make changes to it without time constraints. “My resolutions will be before you in the future,” O’Connor promised.

The board took the issue under advisement but didn’t make a decision—something it will need to do by the March 23 deadline.

Photo by visualpanic via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0 Generic