Code of the District of Columbia

§ 25–314. Additional considerations for new license application or transfer of license to a new location.

(a) In determining the appropriateness of an establishment for initial issuance of a license or a transfer of a license to a new location, the Board shall also consider the following:

(1) The proximity of the establishment to schools, recreation centers, day care centers, public libraries, or other similar facilities;

(2) The effect of the establishment on the operation and clientele of schools, recreation centers, day care centers, public libraries, or other similar facilities; and

(3) Whether school-age children using facilities in proximity to the establishment will be unduly attracted to the establishment while present at, or going to or from, the school, recreation center, day care center, public library, or similar facility at issue.

(4) Whether issuance of the license would create or contribute to an overconcentration of licensed establishments which is likely to affect adversely the locality, section, or portion in which the establishment is located.

(b)(1) No license shall be issued for any establishment within 400 feet of a public, private, or parochial primary, elementary, or high school; college or university; or recreation area operated by the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, except as provided in paragraphs (2) through (9) of this subsection.

(2) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to a restaurant, hotel, club, caterer's, bed and breakfast, or temporary license.

(3)(A) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply if there exists within 400 feet a currently-functioning establishment holding a license of the same class at the time that the new application is submitted.

(B) The exception to the 400-foot restriction in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not apply if the currently operating establishment holding a license of the same class is exempt from the 400-foot restriction under paragraph (8) of this subsection.

(4) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply if:

(A) The applicant applies for an off-premises retailer’s license, Class B;

(B) The primary business and purpose of the establishment is the sale of a full range of fresh, canned, and frozen food items, and the sale of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the primary purpose;

(C) The sale of alcoholic beverages constitutes no more than 15% of the total volume of gross receipts on an annual basis;

(D) The establishment is located in a C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, or C-5 zone or, if located within the Southeast Federal Center, in the SEFC/C-R zone;

(E) The establishment is a full service grocery store which is newly constructed with a certificate of occupancy issued after January 1, 2000, or is an existing store which has undergone renovations in excess of $500,000 (i) after January 1, 2000 and prior to [March 8, 2006], or (ii) during the preceding 12 months in which an application is made;

(F) The opinion of the ANC in which the establishment is located has been given great weight as specified in Chapter 4 [of this title]; and

(G) The applicant does not hold a manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s license.

(5) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply where the main entrance to the college, university, or recreation area, or the nearest property line of the school is actually on or occupies ground zoned commercial or industrial according to the official atlases of the Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia.

(6) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to an application for a retailer's license, class IA or IB.

(7) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to an applicant for a retailer's license, class B, if the applicant's establishment will be located inside of a hotel and will have no direct public access to the street or the outside of the hotel's building.

(8) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to an application for an on-premises retailer's license, class CT, DT, CX, or DX, or an off-premises retailer's license, class A or B, located in the Mixed Use-12 Zone, Square 473 according to the official atlases of the Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia.

(9) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to an application for an on-premises retailer's license, CR, DR, CH, DH, CT, DT, CX, or DX, where the establishment will be located entirely on a college or university campus and will not have direct public access to the street or the outside of the college's or university's main entrance.

(c) In the case of applications for nightclub or tavern licenses, the Board shall consider whether the proximity of the establishment to a residence district, as identified in the zoning regulations of the District and shown in the official atlases of the Zoning Commission for the District, would generate a substantial adverse impact on the residents of the District.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Sept. 30 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 201(b), 51 DCR 6525; Mar. 8, 2006, D.C. Law 16-53, § 2, 53 DCR 3; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-271, § 2, 54 DCR 854; Oct. 20, 2011, D.C. Law 19-23, § 2(c), 58 DCR 6509; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-260, § 2(c)(3), 64 DCR 2079; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(c)(4), 65 DCR 9366.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-314.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-404, § 25-433, and § 25-446.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-187 rewrote par. (2) of subsec. (b) which had read as follows: “(2) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to hotel licenses, club licenses, or temporary licenses.”

D.C. Law 16-53 added subsec. (b)(4).

D.C. Law 16-271, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, except as provided in paragraphs (2) through (5) of this subsection” for “D.C. Department of Recreation”; rewrote subsec. (b)(2); and added subsec. (b)(5). Prior to amendment, subsec. (b)(2) read as follows: “(2) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to hotel licenses, club licenses, caterer’s licenses, or temporary licenses.”

D.C. Law 19-23, in subsec. (b)(4)(D), substituted “or, if located within the Southeast Federal Center, in the SEFC/C-R zone;” for a semicolon.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Southwest Waterfront Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-327, May 3, 2018, 65 DCR 5044).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Southwest Waterfront Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-103, July 13, 2017, 64 DCR 6719).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Commercial Exception Clarification Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-525, December 4, 2006, 53 DCR 9820).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Southeast Federal Center/Yards Non-Discriminatory Grocery Store Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-674, December 28, 2010, 58 DCR 130).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Southwest Waterfront Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-136, July 17, 2018, 65 DCR 5771).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Southwest Waterfront Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-20, Sept. 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7424).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 16-297, in subsec. (b), in par. (1), substituted “District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation; except, that:” for “D.C. Department of Recreation”, and amended par. (2) and added par. (5) to read as follows:

“(2) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply to a restaurant, hotel, club, caterer’s, or temporary license.”

“(5) The 400-foot restriction shall not apply where the main entrance to the college, university, or recreation area, or the nearest property line of the school is actually on or occupies ground zoned commercial or industrial according to the official atlases of the Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 16-297 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(c) of D.C. Law 18-346, in subsec. (b)(4)(D), substituted “or, if located within the Southeast Federal Center, in the SEFC/C-R zone;” for a semicolon at the end.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-346 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.