A local independent vegetarian restaurant in my neighborhood, Vegetate, has been having a hard time getting their liquor license approved due to the protests of a nearby church. They recently sent out a message outlining the situation, encouraging members of the public to contact DC Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans at jackevans (at) dccouncil.us and urging him to introduce legislation modifying the law to allow their business to get the liquor license. Click more to read the message.
Not only is the restaurant an innovative new business by two D.C. residents, it’s the kind of development neighborhood residents like myself would like to see in Shaw.
Dear Community Members,
In November 2005, members of Shiloh Baptist Church filed another protest that Vegetate Restaurant is within 400 feet of Seaton Elementary School. This is important because DC law states that no liquor license will be issued to establishments within 400 feet of a school, which isn’t necessarily a bad law. The problem arises in the measurement methods used to determine this distance; and in that it impedes commercial development.
Most of you who live in the neighborhood know that we’re far more than 400 feet from Seaton. However, the City investigator did a measurement—that we assert is ridiculous—from the corner of the garage behind our building, which we don’t use, to the corner of the school’s baseball field and it was 334 feet.
He did a second measurement from that same corner of the garage to the school’s back door—another inappropriate measurement since that exit isn’t for students—and it was 434 feet.
The third measurement was from our front door to Seaton’s, which was more than 900 feet. So two out of three measurements prove that we’re more than 400 feet away from Seaton. The problem is that the law does state property line to property line and so the 334 feet measurement stands.
We’ve since learned that there was a clause in the law (25-314 of D.C. Code) that exempted establishments located in commercial zones from the “400-foot rule.” If this language is put back into the regulations, Vegetate, and other businesses, will be able to obtain ABC licenses.
Jack Evans has told community members that he will help, but your emails and calls can ensure that he does. It’s important for you to let him know that you want Vegetate and other restaurants in your neighborhood; and that you don’t want Shiloh Baptist Church alone to orchestrate development in Shaw.
For all of you who have generously offered to help Vegetate over the last few months, please email Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans at jackevans (at) dccouncil.us . Let him know that you want him to support Vegetate by introducing legislation to exempt businesses in commercial zones from the 400-foot rule (title 25-314 of the D.C. Code).
Vegetate Restaurant & Lounge is located at:
1414 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
TEL 202.232.4585 http://www.vegetatedc.com