Yesterday afternoon, the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) unanimously voted to alter Georgetown’s decades-old moratorium on liquor licenses.
The moratorium, which has been in place since 1989, only allowed 61 Georgetown businesses to hold liquor licenses at any particular time. With Wednesday’s ruling, the allowable number of liquor licenses will rise to 68.
The ABC Board’s decision came at the heels of last week’s public Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) hearing, where residents came out in droves to both defend and oppose the proposed increase.
“The implementation of seven new [licenses] would not adversely affect the public peace, order, and quiet or the moratorium,” ABC Board member Nick Alberti said. “Specifically, testimony revealed that adding seven restaurant licenses would create a healthy balance of ABC establishments in the commercial mix of businesses in Georgetown.”
However, the decision surprised few residents. Last May, the ANC passed a resolution that allowed seven additional liquor licenses to be introduced into the moratorium zone. At the time, ANC Commissioner Bill Starrels claimed that too many businesses either left the moratorium zone or kept their licenses for “safekeeping” after going out of business.
In a separate decision, the ABC Board voted down a motion filed by the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown to place seating limitations along Prospect St. NW near Café Milano. According to Alberti, the Board recieved over 100 letters written by residents who opposed the seat limits.