The Corner Forum
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Issue #32

Committee Opposes Excello Renewal

By Elizabeth Hague

500 block of 14th St. NE

The following are notes taken by Mrs. Hague during a discussion about the Excello liquor store (419 13th St. NE) at Wednesday's meeting of the Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A, chaired by Commissioner Jessica Ward (6A06).

The deadline for submitting protest petitions is May 20. The roll call date is June 4. On May 21, a special ANC meeting will be held at Miner Elementary School to address Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration issues.

Ms. Ward explained the protest process. She said that it is difficult to get a voluntary agreement between a merchant and the community without a protest. Generally, after a protest is lodged, mediation meetings follow to discuss issues such as peace, order and quiet. At that time, each side should draw up and present agreements.

The ANC commissioner dealing with the Excello issue is Michael Musante, who can be reached at 548-2542, or mfm81472@yahoo.com.

A resident asked whether the committee's intent is to put Excello and other small stores, for whose license renewals the committee had drafted protest letters, out of business. Ms. Ward replied that the eventual goal would be to develop a standard voluntary agreement for all Class A licenses, particularly on H Street, to be negotiated as that street is revitalized. This will be beneficial to both the residents and the merchants, she said: a standard agreement will not put any individual merchant at a disadvantage with other merchant competitors.

One commissioner, Wanda Stevens-Harris (6A01) said that, after talking to her constituents about what they wanted, she wondered why there was not an approval petition as well as an opposition petition being offered to residents to sign — wouldn't this be more balanced?

At this point, Ellery Vaden, 1348 Emerald St. NE, noted that 13th Street had had to petition to get Excello Liquors there in the first place.

Richard Sundberg, a member of the committee and a resident of the 1200 block of Duncan Place, noted that things are no longer as bad as they were a few years ago, thanks to community involvement that reduced the selling, drinking, crowds, and urine smells in that area.

Mr. Vaden, after a brief exchange with Jessica Ward about whether or not, due to time limitations, he would be allowed to speak, said that Excello provided food for the homeless on Thanksgiving — and what other liquor store does that? Also, he noted (responding to a comment by Ms. Ward that she had seen someone drinking a bottle of vodka inside of Excello) that no one can tell a person who buys alcohol where to drink it.

Ms. Ward suggested that people who feel strongly in favor of Excello should circulate a petition of approval.

The ANC committee then unanimously approved a motion to oppose the renewal of Excello's license. §