2010-12-30 / Front Page

City council approves denied license renewals, sets strict conditions for Whitehall store owner

By KIP BURKE news editor

The Washington City Council put several conditions on the renewal of a Washington liquor store’s distilled spirits license after refusing December 13 to renew the license.

In a hearing Wednesday afternoon, December 22, W.D. Liquors owner William Derricott, along with his attorney M.V. Booker, answered the charges from city councilmen who said that crowds of loiterers hung around outside his business, panhandling and getting into fights.

Councilman Nathaniel Cullars had given councilmen a packet of police reports dealing with William Derricott’s liquor store on Whitehall Street. “I’m asking that his license not be renewed until we have had a hearing with him,” he said at the December 13 meeting.

In last week’s hearing, Booker said that many of the police reports that Cullars had shown the council had nothing to do with Derricott’s liquor store except to name it as a nearby landmark. “There is another license holder just 20 feet away,” she said.

Cullars said that there was a man still in the hospital who had been knocked out in front of W.D.’s liquor store. “They have fights behind the store, all the way back to the fence line,” he said. “We’re here today to see what he will do to help with the problem. How many times have you gone out and told people to leave your property? How many times have you called the police and told them you had a person who wouldn’t leave the property? Those are the kinds of situations I want to see you act on.”

Councilman Marion Tutt Jr. said that his wife and daughter had seen the unconscious man “laid out on Whitehall Street.” The council was not trying to put Derricott out of business, he said, but “the whole city says it’s an eyesore. We’re only trying to alleviate these problems. People need to buy their alcohol and leave, not loiter.”

City Attorney Barry Fleming said that Whitehall Street is a gateway area, with nuisance ordinances adopted to support the Southwest Washington Redevelopment Plan. “Business owners have a responsibility to keep their places free of attractive nuisances,” he said.

After further discussion, Derricott agreed to install a fence between his business and a neighboring business, and to hire security for highvolume times. Booker also agreed to arrange a community meeting with business owners in the area to address ways these issues can be resolved.

The council voted unanimously to grant William Derricott the distilled spirits license with the conditions that he install a fence, hire security, and that he give a report from the community meeting at the January city council meeting.

Earlier in the hearing, the council granted the license they had denied for Mike’s Place after reviewing how the bar owner planned to deal with noise and with serving alcohol on a patio.

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