Zoning Out

A nude-dancing licensing issue hits a snag

by Will O'Bryan
Published on March 8, 2007, 12:00am | Comments

A pending effort to transfer the liquor license used for the former Edge-Wet nightclub in Southeast D.C. -- a victim of baseball stadium-fueled redevelopment -- hit a snag on Wednesday, Feb. 28, when a majority of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board failed to approve the transfer.

At issue is the word ''same.'' According to D.C. Official Code, the license, which allows for nude dancing, may be transferred within ''the same CM or M-zoned district.'' Whether ''same'' in this case means to any CM zone in the city, or only within zones that match the further designated CM-1, CM-2 or CM-3 zone of the licensee is the question. The ABC Board, voting 3-3 against the transfer (a majority is needed for approval), maintains the latter. The law firm of Mallios & O'Brien argued the former in a Jan. 17 letter to the ABC Board:

''Construction of the term 'same' so as to preclude a transfer from a CM-2 location to the instant CM-1 location would lead to an irrational result, in that denial of the application at bar might be followed by a permitted application from a CM-1 licensee for the very same use at the very same premises.''

Ron Hunt, who owns the license for the former nude-male dance club, says he hopes to open a nude-female dance club with the same license at a new venue. The new location, 2046 West Virginia Ave. NE, is owned by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob Siegel (ANC 6D07), landlord of most of the gay-oriented adult businesses closed by the new stadium. Hunt declined to elaborate in detail regarding the vote, though he implied that the setback is both minor and temporary.

To date, none of the gay-oriented venues closed by stadium development have relocated.