Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Review and Resolution Procedures.


§ 25–441. Hearings — Continuances.

(a) A hearing may be continued for good cause. A written motion for a continuance shall be filed with the Board at least 6 days before the scheduled hearing date and served upon all parties at least 6 calendar days before the hearing. To be granted, the motion shall, in the opinion of the Board, set forth good and sufficient cause for continuance or demonstrate that an extreme emergency exists.

(b) A continuance shall not waive the requirements of this chapter governing the time in which to file objections, petitions, or other pleadings.

(c) The Board may, on motion of any party or on its own motion, continue a hearing to permit an ANC to vote on a material issue in the hearing or upon a determination that the interests of justice will be served by the granting of the continuance to any party.

(d) The Board may waive the provisions of this section if all parties agree to a continuance.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 1, 2002, D.C. Law 14-190, § 1702(j), 49 DCR 6968.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-190 rewrote subsec. (c) which had read as follows: “(c) The Board may, on motion of any party or on its own motion, continue a hearing in order to permit an ANC to vote on a material issue in the hearing.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1702(j) of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-453, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8026).


§ 25–442. Hearings — Witnesses.

(a) A party shall have the right to call and examine witnesses.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, at any proceeding before the Board in a contested case, the Board may hear as witnesses all persons residing within and outside the neighborhood who desire to be heard.

(c) The Board may exclude any irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence or testimony.

(d) A witness who shall willfully give false testimony in a proceeding or hearing before the Board shall be guilty of perjury.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(7), 65 DCR 9366.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-432.


§ 25–443. Subpoena of witnesses.

(a) Subpoenas issued by the Board shall be served:

(1) By an officer of the Metropolitan Police Department;

(2) By a special process server, at least 18 years of age, designated by the Board from among the staff appointed by the Board who are not directly involved in the investigation; or

(3) By a special process server, at least 18 years of age, engaged by the Board for this purpose.

(b) Witnesses, other than those employed by the District or by the United States, shall be entitled to the same fees as are paid witnesses for attendance before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(c) In the case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, upon written request by the Board, shall issue an order requiring the contumacious person to appear and testify before the Board or to produce evidence if so ordered.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 322, ch. 4, § 6; Aug. 27, 1935, 49 Stat. 897, ch. 756, § 2; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 3, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(2), 30 DCR 5927; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 3, 34 DCR 907; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(c), 41 DCR 1658; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-443.

1973 Ed., § 25-106.


§ 25–444. Protest hearings; parties identified.

(a) If a protest is filed in a contested case, the Board shall hold a protest hearing for the purpose of receiving evidence and testimony regarding the appropriateness of the licensing action.

(b) The parties to the protest hearing shall be the applicant and the protestants as identified at the roll call hearing.

(c) If there is more than one protestant, the Board, in its discretion, may require the protestants to confer among themselves and designate one person to conduct the protestants’ case.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(8), 65 DCR 9366.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-432.


§ 25–445. Mediation.

(a) A mediation among the parties shall be held to discuss and resolve, if possible, the objections raised by the protestants.

(b) Mediation, which may be arranged at a roll call hearing or any other time, shall be set on a mutually convenient date before the scheduled protest status hearing or the protest hearing.

(c) [Repealed].

(d) No party shall unreasonably refuse to make himself or herself available to attend a mediation.

(e) [Repealed].

(f) At the request of any party, the Board may designate a member of its staff to attend the mediation.

(g) If the parties fail to reach an agreement on one or more of the protest issues they shall so state at the scheduled protest status hearing.

(h) A party may be represented at a mediation by an attorney or a designated representative who has been authorized to act on the party’s behalf.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(9), 65 DCR 9366; Feb. 21, 2020, D.C. Law 23-52, § 2(c)(3), 67 DCR 21.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-432.


§ 25–446. Settlement agreements; approval process; penalties for violations.

(a) The applicant and any protestant may, at any time, negotiate a settlement and enter into a written settlement agreement setting forth the terms of the settlement.

(a-1) The applicant and any person or entity who would otherwise have standing to protest an application pursuant to § 25-601 may, at any time, negotiate a settlement and enter into a written agreement setting forth the terms of the settlement.

(b)(1) The signatories to the agreement shall submit the agreement to the Board for approval.

(2) Except as provided in § 25-446.02, all provisions of a settlement agreement approved by the Board shall be enforceable by ABRA or the Board.

(3) A settlement agreement not approved by the Board shall not be enforced by ABRA or the Board.

(c) If it determines that the settlement agreement complies with all applicable laws and regulations and the applicant otherwise qualifies for licensure, the Board shall approve the license application, conditioned upon the licensee’s compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement. The Board shall incorporate the text of the settlement agreement in its order and the settlement agreement shall be enforceable by the Board.

(d)(1) Unless a shorter term is agreed upon by the parties, a settlement agreement shall run for the term of a license, including renewal periods, unless it is terminated or amended in writing by the parties and the termination or amendment is approved by the Board.

(2) The Board may accept an application to amend or terminate a settlement agreement by fewer than all parties in the following circumstances:

(A) During the license’s renewal period; and

(B) After 4 years from the date of the Board’s decision initially approving the settlement agreement.

(3) Notice of an application to amend or terminate a settlement agreement shall be given both to the parties of the agreement and to the public at the time of the applicant’s renewal application according to the renewal procedures required under §§ 25-421 through 25-423.

(4) The Board may approve a request by fewer than all parties to amend or terminate a settlement agreement for good cause shown if it makes each of the following findings based upon sworn evidence:

(A)(i) The applicant seeking the amendment has made a diligent effort to locate all other parties to the settlement agreement; or

(ii) If non-applicant parties are located, the applicant has made a good-faith attempt to negotiate a mutually acceptable amendment to the settlement agreement;

(B) The need for an amendment is either caused by circumstances beyond the control of the applicant or is due to a change in the neighborhood where the applicant’s establishment is located; and

(C) The amendment or termination will not have an adverse impact on the neighborhood where the establishment is located as determined under § 25-313 or § 25-314, if applicable.

(5) To fulfill the good faith attempt criteria of paragraph (4)(A)(ii) of this subsection, a sworn affidavit from the applicant shall be filed with the Board at the time that an application to amend a settlement agreement by fewer than all parties is filed stating that either:

(A) A meeting occurred between the parties which did not result in agreement; or

(B) The non-applicant parties refused to meet with the applicant.

(6) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “license’s renewal period” means the 60-day period before the expiration date of a license.

(e) Upon a determination that a licensee has violated a settlement agreement, the Board shall penalize the licensee according to the provisions set forth for violations of a license in Chapter 8 of this title.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 101(t), 51 DCR 6525; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(r), 60 DCR 3410; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-270, § 2(c)(3), 62 DCR 1866; Feb. 21, 2020, D.C. Law 23-52, § 2(c)(4), 67 DCR 21.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-432 and § 25-722.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-187 rewrote subsec. (d) which had read as follows: “(d) A voluntary agreement shall run for the term of a license, including renewal periods, unless it is terminated or amended in writing by the parties and the termination or amendment is approved by the Board.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 rewrote the section heading, which read: “Voluntary agreements; approval process, show cause hearing for violation”; substituted “settlement agreement” for “voluntary agreement” throughout the section; redesignated (b) as (b)(1) and added (b)(2) and (b)(3); and rewrote (e), which read: “The Board shall initiate a show cause hearing upon evidence that a licensee has violated a voluntary agreement. Upon a determination that the licensee has violated the voluntary agreement, the Board shall penalize the licensee according to the provisions set forth for violations of a license in Chapter 8.”

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-270 added (d)(6).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(r) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary addition of a section designated as § 25-446.01, concerning enforceable provisions in settlement agreements, see § 2(s) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary addition of a section designated as § 25-446.02, concerning unenforceable provisions in settlement agreements, see § 2(s) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(r) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).


§ 25–446.01. Settlement agreements — enforceable provisions.

A settlement agreement enforceable by the Board under this subchapter may include:

(1) Provisions allowing or prohibiting entertainment and the hours that entertainment would be allowed;

(2) Specific methods to mitigate the level of noise outside the establishment, including:

(A) Sound attenuation elements;

(B) Requiring that the doors and windows of the establishment remain closed (except for ingress and egress) during hours of entertainment;

(C) Restricting indoor entertainment to a specific area of the establishment; and

(D)(i) Specification of physical attributes to mitigate noise emanating from an outdoor facility.

(ii) For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term “physical attributes” may include architectural features, sound barriers, and placement of speakers;

(3) Descriptions of reasonable efforts that the applicant or existing licensee will take to control litter and other debris in the immediate area surrounding the establishment, including:

(A) The frequency that the applicant or existing licensee will monitor the area;

(B) The days and time that the applicant or existing licensee will remove trash; and

(C) The efforts to be made by the licensee to limit rat and vermin infestation;

(4) Descriptions of parking arrangements, including the use of valet service contingent on proper permitting by the District Department of Transportation;

(5) Requirements that the applicant or existing licensee maintain an incident log and that the incident log be made available to ABRA and the Board, upon request;

(6) A notice to cure provision;

(7) Restrictions on hours of operation and sales and service for a new or existing licensee’s facilities;

(8) Descriptions of how the licensee will address specific issues in determining the hours of operation, including:

(A) The licensee’s history of previous violations;

(B) The proximity of the establishment to residences; and

(C) The hours of operation and sales and service of alcohol for other existing licensed establishments in the area;

(9) Restrictions on the utilization of floors, occupancy, and the number of seats for existing licensees and address specific issues in determining occupancy issues, including:

(A) The licensee’s history of previous violations;

(B) The proximity of the establishment to residences; and

(C) The hours of operation and sales and service of alcohol for other existing licensed establishments in the area; and

(10) Stipulations that the establishment will comply with existing District statutes and regulations, or will comply with privileges granted by ABRA or any other District agency.


(May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(s), 60 DCR 3410.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of this section, see § 2(s) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).


§ 25–446.02. Settlement agreements — unenforceable provisions.

The Board shall not enforce the following provisions if included in a settlement agreement covered by this subchapter:

(1) Restraints on the ability of an applicant or existing licensee to operate its business, including:

(A) Requirements that the ANC or other community members approve future ownership changes;

(B) Requirements that the ANC or other community members be notified of intent to transfer ownership;

(C) Prohibitions against the applicant or existing licensee applying for a change in license class;

(D) A requirement that the applicant or existing licensee change the license class before selling the license;

(E) Requirements that prohibit the licensee from applying for changes to licensed operation procedures, including applications for summer gardens, sidewalk cafes, rooftop decks, entertainment endorsements, and changes of hours:

(F) Mandates regarding specific brands of alcohol or pricing for alcohol;

(G) Restrictions on the age of patrons; and

(H) Requirements that the applicant or existing licensee use a specific company for services;

(2) Statements that create administrative procedures in addition to those required by ABRA or any other District agency;

(3) A requirement that the applicant or existing licensee attend ANC meetings or other community meetings;

(4) Statements or requirements that the applicant or existing licensee:

(A) Provide money, special considerations, or other financial benefits to the community;

(B) Join any group; or

(C) Hire local individuals; and

(5) Any requirement that contracts, incident logs, or similar documents, be made available to the ANC or other community groups or members.


(May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(s), 60 DCR 3410.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-446.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of this section, see § 2(s) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).


§ 25–447. Show cause hearing.

(a) The Board shall receive, at any time during the license period, complaints from any person, or an affected ANC, alleging a violation by a licensee of the terms of its license. Complaints shall be in writing and set forth enough information to allow the Board or its staff to investigate the matter.

(b) In addition to written complaints identifying the complainant, any person may make an anonymous complaint in writing to the Board or orally to any ABRA investigator. Anonymous complaints shall be investigated to the best of the Board’s ability, but may result in no action being taken if the anonymous complainant fails to provide the Board or the investigator with adequate information.

(c) Within 30 days of receiving evidence supporting a reasonable belief that any licensee or permittee is in violation of the provision of this title or the regulations issued under it, the Board shall order the licensee or permittee, by personal service or certified mail, to appear before the Board not less than 30 days thereafter to show cause why the license or permit should not be revoked or suspended, or the licensee or permittee penalized, as provided by subchapter II of Chapter 8. The notice shall state the time and place set by the Board for the hearing.

(d) The licensee or permittee (or in the case of an entity, all members, partners, or officers) shall appear in person, may be represented by counsel, and shall be entitled to offer evidence in his, her, or its defense.

(e) If the licensee or permittee waives the hearing or fails to appear, the Board shall proceed ex parte, unless the Board extends the time for the hearing for good and sufficient cause.

ex parte,

(f) If the Board holds a show cause hearing on a complaint made under subsection (a) of this section, the Board, in issuing its order, may place certain conditions on the license if it determines that the inclusion of the conditions would be in the best interests of the locality, section, or portion of the District in which the establishment is licensed. The Board, in placing the conditions, shall state, in writing, the rationale for its decision.

(g) All written complaints as set forth under subsection (a) of this section, which identify the complainant by name and address, shall be responded to by the Board or its staff within 90 days of receipt of the complaint, and shall advise the complainant of the action that the Board or its staff has taken on the matter.

(h) The Board shall maintain records documenting complaints received and the action taken in response to the complaint.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 101(u), 51 DCR 6525.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-832.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-187, in subsec. (a), substituted “an affected ANC” for “the ANC representing the area in which the licensee exists”.


§ 25–448. Offer-in-compromise.

(a) The Board may, in its discretion, accept from the licensee and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia an offer-in-compromise to resolve the charges brought by the District of Columbia against the licensee.

(b) An offer-in-compromise may be presented to the Board at the show cause status hearing or show cause hearing.

(c) The offer-in-compromise shall be consistent with the range of fines set forth in this title.


(Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(10), 65 DCR 9366.)