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Council Gives Final Approval to Ward 6 Ban on Single Sales PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Wednesday, 08 October 2008

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, Council gave final approval to legislation introduced by Councilmember Tommy Wells adding Ward 6 to other parts of the city prohibiting the sale of single containers of alcohol; specifically, single containers of beer, malt liquor, and ale, as well as spirits in bottles of half pint or smaller.
“Over the last year, I heard increasingly from neighborhood leaders and our elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners that they wanted Ward 6 added to the growing list of wards prohibiting the sale of singles,” commented Mr. Wells. Wards 4, 7 and 8 have previously enacted similar bans on single sales. The legislation passed on Tuesday adds Ward 6, Ward 2 and parts of Ward 1.

“More often than not, single sales of alcohol are bought so they can be consumed as soon as you walk out the door – turning alleys and backyards into public restrooms and leaving empty bottles strewn through our neighborhoods,” stated Wells.

Mr. Wells cites the struggle many neighborhoods face when protesting liquor stores that are not good neighbors, and singled out ANC 6A in his ward. The Commission began the formal process to ban the sale of singles on part of H Street, NE almost four years ago. It took roughly three years of hard work to get a moratorium in place, and after all the hurdles, the measure still had to come before Council for approval.

In the 6 months after the targeted H Street moratorium went in effect, MPD reported that service calls and arrests for public drinking, public urination (indecent exposure), drunk in public, and disorderly conduct were significantly decreased. Neighborhood leaders have also reported a decrease in litter and loitering.

Wells added, “While we added Ward 6 to growing list of wards banning singles, this legislation takes a slightly different approach and put more power in the hands of the neighborhood to shape what’s best for the community.”

The Ward 6 ban allows a licensee to apply for an exemption from the ban, provided that the store has a positive track record in the neighborhood and the community and ANC support such an exemption. Currently, ANCs can enter into a voluntary agreement with a liquor store to stop selling singles, but they have very little leverage and often complain the agreements are weak and cannot be enforced. This provision changes that relationship and puts leverage back in the hands of the neighborhood. The ABC Board will be the body that makes a final decision on the exemption application.


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