Should the New Petworth Safeway Sell Beer & Wine?

Rendering of the Petworth Safeway now under construction.

Rendering of the Petworth Safeway now under construction.

The Petworth Listserv has been having a bit of a debate over the past few days on whether or not the new Petworth Safeway should be allowed to sell beer and wine. Apparently, due to past DC Council legislation, when the new Safeway at 3830 Georgia Avenue is finished it will not automatically be able to sell beer and wine.

The Northwest Current sums up the issue nicely in their March 27th issue. According to their article,

A D.C. Council ban from 1999 imposed a citywide moratorium on new Class B licenses – which allow beer and wine sales – to discourage loitering and public drunkenness. The coundil later carved out an exemption, but only for new “full-service grocery stores,” or those undergoing “substantial” renovation – requirements this Safeway would seem to meet.”

The problem is, another, more recent, moratorium restricts Class B licenses in nearly all of Ward 4. The moratorium does not include the exemption for grocery stores. So, absent Council action the Petworth Safeway will not be allowed to sell beer and wine.

Petworth resident Joseph Martin did some digging and pulled together the following background information on District Safeways selling beer and wine. According to Martin, there are 13 Safeways operating now in DC. When the Petworth Safeway opens, that will be 14. Of those, ten have beer-and-wine licenses:

  • 322 40th Street NE
  • 2845 Alabama Avenue SE
  • 414 14th Street SE
  • 1601 Maryland Avenue NE
  • 490 L Street NW
  • 6500 Piney Branch Road NW
  • 1100 M Street SW
  • 1747 Columbia Road NW
  • 1855 Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • 4865 MacArthur Blvd NW.

Taking into account that the Petworth Safeway is very close to the Ward 1 border and will be the most convenient grocery store to most residents in the Park View community when it opens, I think its appropriate to weigh in on this issue. I’m very interested in hearing from the community on this issue to better understand all the pros and any possible cons.

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7 Comments on “Should the New Petworth Safeway Sell Beer & Wine?”

  1. Kyle Says:

    Thanks for following through with this, Kent.

  2. Steve Davis Says:

    Yes, please. It’ll be a huge waste if a brand new enormous grocery store can’t sell beer and wine and we have to make two trips when we got to the store. The reasons given for the moratorium (public drunkenness, loitering, etc.) seem to have far more to do with corner liquor stores and singles than a grocery store selling six packs and what not. I don’t understand why in the world we’d keep a grocery store from offering the same things as Giant down the road.

    (And the comments from some about the ANC needing to get more “community benefits” reek of the same kind of extortion that many think that CBAs are designed for. Like “Wal-Mart should have to build a new 4D police station” and other such nonsense.)

  3. Steve Says:

    Well, I’m torn about this. On the one hand, Lions is just down the street and they have a fantastic selection and great service that deserves support. On the other hand, Safeway has buying power and will get things that Lions can’t.

    • JS Says:

      Devines is down the street from Giant and across from Target in CH and they do fine. I see Lions and filling a similiar niche – people who want macrobrews will shop at Safeway, and those looking for a more diverse selection of microbrews will head to Lions.

  4. JM Says:

    Yes I agree they should be able to sell beer and wine… but I’d prefer that they not sell singles. Not sure if Safeway generally sells singles, but maybe some agreement can be reached with them.


  5. […] Nearly a year ago, there was a discussion on the Petworth listserv on whether or not the new Petworth Safeway should be able to sell beer and wine. In 1999, the D.C. Council imposed a citywide moratorium on new Class B licenses – which allow beer and wine sales – to discourage loitering and public drunkenness. The council later carved out an exemption, but only for new “full-service grocery stores,” or those undergoing “substantial” renovation – requirements this Safeway would seem to meet. The problem for the new safeway, however, is that another, more recent, moratorium restricts Class B licenses in nearly all of Ward 4. The moratorium does not include the exemption for grocery stores. So, absent Council action the Petworth Safeway would not be allowed to sell beer and wine. In April 2013, when I polled readers about this, there was overwhelming support for the new Safeway to sell beer and wine. […]


  6. […] I polled residents a year ago, there was overwhelming support for Safeway to sell beer and wine … and I certainly agree […]


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