Is This Liquor Store An Amenity Or A Nuisance?

<p>In a gentrifying neighborhood in Washington D.C., residents are campaigning against a local liquor store they say encourages littering and public drunkenness. But longtime neighborhood residents defend the store, calling it a neighborhood staple.</p>
December 11, 2007, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"The telltale bags were wrapped around 80 percent of the empty beer cans and bottles he found on the streets around the store as he filled 55-gallon bags weekly with the trash. Then Whatling found that Seven Days was the only store within six blocks that used the bags."

"Still, he says, it's the principle of the thing: Seven Days has flouted legal agreements and is fostering public drunkenness."

"Police 'need to start at the simplest things to make people know the law means something," Whatling said. 'It's not like we're trying to get rid of Seven Days Grocery.'"

"But some residents suspect just that. In a dispute that has come to symbolize the tensions of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, factions have sparred in recent months over the liquor license that the store at 14th and Fairmont streets NW has held since 1991."

"'This issue needs to be on people's radar screen. This is real. This is palpable,' said Dorothy Brizill, a D.C. government watchdog who has lived in Columbia Heights for 25 years."

"'I'm just amazed how people just talk about their property values, as opposed to talking about community,' she said."

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Published on Monday, December 10, 2007 in The Washington Post
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