B&M Foodmart earns ANC support for exemption

At April’s ABL committee and full commission meetings B&M Foodmart (215 New York Ave NW) earned ANC support for a Single Serve Moratorium exemption. The ANC’s conclusion contradicted the MVSNA vote to NOT support the exemption for this Class B licensee. Having been at both the MVSNA and ANC ABL meetings I can say the store owner came with much more evidence of community support to the ANC than she did to the MVSNA.

The ABL committee evaluated the application and the written and oral testimony at a public meeting generating an hour of discussion. The final resolution the ABL crafted and recommended to the full commission was so thorough the applicant’s exemption was supported with minimal debate {7 in support; one absention (Richardson)}.

Below is the resolution:

On Monday, April 6th 2009, the ABL Committee evaluated the application for a single sales exception for B&M Food Store. We heard from the applicant and received letters/testimony in support and opposition of the application. The Committee found:

Special circumstances exist due to:

  1. the establishment’s close proximity to Ward 5 and to Ward 5 liquor stores, which are not subject to the same or similar moratorium; and
  2. the establishment’s lack of Ward 6 competitor liquor stores in the same relative close proximity; and
  3. the establishment’s 30 years as an ongoing business in that location; and
  4. the applicant’s substantial support from the surrounding community; and
  5. that the majority of community comments do not perceive the selling of singles at this store as contributing to loitering, littering, and other behavior the ban is intended to reduce.

Accordingly, the Committee recommends 5-0-0 that ANC 6C support B&M’s request for a single sales exception to sell single beers, so long as:

  1. the exception is granted with the explicit condition that if the special circumstances cease (i.e. if Ward 5 enacts a similar moratorium) the exception shall be revoked and all Ward 6 moratorium restrictions shall resume; and
  2. the exception shall be granted for a one-year period, upon which time the ANC shall re-evaluate; and
  3. that a Voluntary Agreement shall be required that establishes the parameters of this recommendation; and
  4. that the Commission encourages the applicant to explore micro grants, such as those offered by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, to make interior improvements to the store (for example, limiting the plexiglass security to the cashier area only) to help expand its ability to compete with other stores.

I am not particularly pleased with the outcome but I can live with it because the conditions afford the exemption to be revoked if the special Ward 5 circumstances change. Greater participation of those in opposition would have been needed to counter the community support the owner provided in her packet – which included a petition with 217 signatures.

Ed note: I will say, I’m not sure all the applicant’s supporters even understood what was at stake, as two that delivered testimony in person at the ABL meeting asked for the committee to “please not take the store’s license away”…

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