Park v. Alcoholic Beverage Control Bd., 86-682.

Docket NºNo. 86-682.
Citation555 A.2d 1029
Case DateMarch 24, 1989
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District
555 A.2d 1029
Joon II PARK, et al., Petitioners,
No. 86-682.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Submitted February 23, 1989.
Decided March 24, 1989.

Bernard C. Dietz, Washington, D.C., was on the brief for petitioners.

Page 1030

Frederick D. Cooke, Jr., Corp. Counsel, Charles L. Reischel, Deputy Corp. Counsel, Lutz Alexander Prager, Asst. Deputy Corp. Counsel, and Charlotte M. Brookins, Asst. Corp. Counsel, Washington, D.C., were on the brief for respondent.

Before NEWMAN and TERRY, Associate Judges, and KERN, Senior Judge.

TERRY, Associate Judge:

After a hearing at which petitioners were present, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied their application for a Class B retailer's license.1 Petitioners contend that the Board's action was not supported by substantial evidence, that the Board erred in denying their request to reopen the record, and that the hearing was incurably tainted when a Board member mentioned an ex parte conversation with the principal of a school located near petitioners' store. We affirm.


Petitioners, Mr. and Mrs. Park, are the owners of the Corner Market, a "mom and pop" convenience store on 20th Street, N.E., just south of Benning Road. The store carries fresh fish, chicken, and other grocery items for its regular customers, the residents of the neighborhood, as well as various snack foods and chips for purchase by school children and people who work nearby. Mr. Park told the Board that he and his wife applied for a Class B license mainly to accommodate the regular customers who buy chicken and fish.

Petitioners' application was opposed in writing by the District of Columbia Board of Education and by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A.2 In addition, Robert Boyd, the elected Board of Education member from Ward 6, where the market is located, and Frances Queen, a member of ANC 6A, both testified at the hearing. Their opposition was based on the market's proximity to the Blow Elementary School, the number of Class A and Class B licensees already operating in the neighborhood, and the serious litter problem in the vicinity of the market, particularly around the schoolyard.

The evidence showed that the rear of the market and the schoolyard were separated by an alley only ten feet wide. The distance from the front entrance of the market (where customers enter and exit) to the nearest opening in the chain-link fence surrounding the schoolyard3 was about fortyfive feet. The opponents of the application asserted not only that the market was too close to the school to be selling alcoholic beverages, but that the alley, through which children walked on the way to and from school, was populated by loiterers, vagrants, and drunkards who would be further encouraged to hang around if a ready supply of beer and wine became available at the Corner Market.4 Moreover, the area around the school already contained four Class A licensees, two Class B licensees, and one Class C licensee.5 Finally, the large amount of litter in and around the school playground was described by Mr. Boyd, Mrs. Queen, and Garland Cheek, an investigator for the Board who visited the school seven times. On his first visit Cheek noted that the playground was strewn with litter, including broken glass, milk cartons, bags, and "just about anything you can imagine." On subsequent visits he repeatedly saw the playground strewn with broken glass, beer cans, and beer bottles, all of which made the play

Page 1031

area unusable and dangerous. Mr. Boyd said that the litter was so voluminous and accumulated so rapidly that the school's maintenance crew could not keep up with it. Mrs. Queen supplemented her testimony with several photographs of the area, some of which showed the trash in the schoolyard, the cars in the alley, and the derelicts in and around the vacant lot.


We must uphold the Board's decision if it is in accordance with law and supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. D.C.Code § 1-1510(a)(3)(E) (1981). Substantial evidence has been defined as "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 217, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938) (citations omitted). We readily conclude that the Board's decision here was supported by substantial evidence, namely, the testimony of three witnesses and the photographs supplied by Mrs. Queen.

In its order denying petitioners' application, the Board found that the Blow Elementary School was less than forty-six feet from petitioners' store; that the school playground was "littered with broken glass, beer bottles, beer cans, and soda bottles"; and that in the immediate area seven businesses already held Class A, Class B, or Class C retailer's licenses. These findings were supported by testimony from the Board's own investigator, who visited the area on several occasions over a period of seven months, as well as from Mrs. Queen and Mr. Boyd. Mrs. Queen gave a vivid description of the "loiterers" and "winos" who hang out in the alley between the Corner Market and the Blow Elementary School—an alley that is often traversed by young children. Furthermore, the unanimous recommendation of ANC 6A was made part of the record and considered by the Board. The ANC opposed petitioners' application because the market was "too close to a public school." The Board is obliged to give the ANC's recommendation "great weight." D.C. Code § 1-261(d) (1981); see Kopff v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, 381 A.2d 1372, 1383-1385 (D.C. 1977). That was an easy task in this case, for the ANC's...

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  • Does v. Vilche, 05-AA-7.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • August 30, 2007
    ...well, for a governmental structure of great and growing complexity."); Park v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, 555 A.2d 1029, 1032 (D.C.1989) (discussing "multiple-hat" rule); Citizens Association of Georgetown, Inc. v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control ......
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    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • March 13, 2003
    ...duties that would overcome the presumption that the Board acted fairly. See Park v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Bd., 555 A.2d 1029, 1032 (D.C.1989). Lastly, it is immaterial that the notice of proposed disciplinary action sent to Dr. Udebiuwa from the Board may have been......
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    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • August 23, 1993
    ...109 S.Ct. 1539, 103 L.Ed.2d 843 (1989), and liquor licenses, see, e.g., Park v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Bd., 555 A.2d 1029, 1031 (D.C. 1989) (retail liquor After concluding in Kopff that D.C. Code § 1-261(c) expands the category of situations requiring special notice......
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    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • May 29, 2003
    ...unsupported by substantial evidence. See D.C.Code § 2-510(a)(3)(E) (2001); Park v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, 555 A.2d 1029, 1031 (D.C.1989); Foggy Bottom Ass'n v. District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, 445 A.2d 643, 645 (D.C.1982). Substantial ev......
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