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Corcoran Street Safeway’s Sidewalk Café Plan Collapses but Beer and Wine Sales Plan on Fast Track for Approval

Accompanying images can be viewed on page 1 of the June 2017 issue pdf

By P.L. Wolff

As we reported last November, a big change was coming to Dupont East’s Safeway store at 17th and Corcoran Streets. Already, design plans for a sidewalk café had been filed with the District’s transportation department (DDOT).

As for why the planned sidewalk café will not materialize, the answer appears to be that someone or some administrative office at Safeway’s regional headquarters failed to notice that the original permit that had been approved several years ago but not acted upon within the three-year period allowed failed to apply for renewal — usually a simple, straightforward process when there has been good reason for a delay in proceeding (such as obtaining financing or the need to further review a business plan).

So, this time when they sought renewal they encountered something new: Recently, the City Council had imposed a new requirement for sidewalk cafés and patios where food is consumed that the establishments have inside public restrooms; the Safeway store simply does not have the space available for the installation of those facilities — thus the wide expanse of sidewalk extending all the way across the area that could be used for the café will be as it has been all along.

In addition, an application was to be prepared for later submission to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to allow for  in-store package sale of beer and wine; license to allow for consumption in the patio was not to be part of the application.

As we were preparing this report for publication we received notice from the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) that this ABC application was to be the first item of business at its forthcoming regular 7 pm monthly meeting at the Brookings Institution (1775 Mass. Ave.) on Wednesday, June 14th. This will be for a Class B grocery store beer and wine package sale only license. Stipulated sale hours are to be 7 am to 10 pm daily.