An unsigned website created yesterday is collecting names on a petition to end Glover Park’s liquor license moratorium. “We support permanently ending the restaurant liquor license (CR licenses) moratorium in Glover Park,” states the site’s manifesto. Doing so “will create new potential possibilities for many of the retail vacancies in Glover Park, not just now, but in the future as well.”
The site, gpmoratorium.com, argues that Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B’s February 9 vote to preserve the license cap, while increasing the number of available CR licenses to 14, perpetuates a barrier to new restaurants in the neighborhood by inflating the price of each available license. CR licenses allow service of all alcoholic beverages. (There is no limit to the number of DR—i.e., beer and wine—licenses in Glover Park, though only one local restaurant, Café Romeo’s, holds such a license.)
The website urges like-minded neighbors to attend the Glover Park Citizens’ Association meeting on March 6 and vote in support of repeal. Since only dues-paying members can vote, the site encourages readers to bring checkbooks if they haven’t yet paid the $20 annual dues. But non-members with checkbooks will be in for a surprise: according to GPCA officials, the association has a 30-day waiting period before new members can vote.
(UPDATE: People who joined GPCA at the March 6 meeting were barred from voting there, but new members who had paid their dues one or more days previously were allowed to vote, attendees tell us. Nevertheless, the vote went in favor of the ANC’s moratorium plan—though moratorium opponents believe it might have gone the other way if prospective members had known they’d be allowed to vote if they joined before March 6. The vote tally was 29-4, and the anti-moratorium petition now has more than 100 signatories.
In fact, moratorium opponents have questioned the validity of barring any new members from voting. The GPCA bylaws posted on the GPCA website do not specify a 30-day waiting period for new members. Rather, they state that “[A]ny person who seeks to reinstate his or her membership” by paying dues at a meeting “shall not be reinstated for voting purposes until the next meeting following the meeting in which the dues were tendered.” According to GPCA president Pat Clark, “there has been a long time practice of waiting 30 days, I’m told by other presidents, that goes back for perhaps 15 or 20 years or more.” Long-term GPCA members recalled a vote codifying this waiting period, and are currently researching past meeting minutes to try to discover the wording, she says, adding that “this issue may be overcome by events, as we are in the process of making some amendments to our bylaws, and the new wording will be more explicit so that we don’t have to interpret it.”
Says Joe Kildea, a spokesman for the anti-moratorium group, “While we applaud the GPCA’s efforts to clarify the bylaws and create an enforced standard, it is at least concerning that the organization only did so after being called out for suppressing a vote. Consistent bylaws are an item of basic competence for a community association and hopefully this will encourage more residents of Glover Park to participate in our community.”)
Neither the ANC nor the GPCA has final say on whether the moratorium is extended after it expires in April. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will decide that, though by law it must give “great weight” to the ANC’s vote.
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