The D.C Zoning Commission last week deferred until its April 14 meeting action on a controversial application that would allow Safeway to build a $1.5 million store and parking lot behind its present Georgetown store.

Several commissioners cited the volume of new material to be studied in voting to delay the matter.

Citizens from the Georgetown area testified that the new store, which would be twice as large as the present one at 1855 Wisconsin Ave. NW, would detract from the neighborhood's historic atmosphere and compound Georgetown's traffic problems. The city's municipal planning office has said the zoning change was consistent with the area and the department of transportation's studies on the traffic problem have been inconclusive but indicate the plan would not generate critical congestion on Wisconsin Avenue.

In other action, the commission approved a zoning change that would allow the American Security and Trust Co. to expand the bank at 7th St. and Massachusetts Avenue NW. The action must be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission before the zoning commission grants final approved.

The commission also set June 27 as the date for a public hearing on the French government's plan to build a new chancery complex on Reservoir Road, NW across from Georgetown University Hospital.

Also deferred to the April meeting was discussion of a recently approved City Council proposal that would allow sidewalk cafes in residential areas where a majority of the residents favor it and a restaurant or cafe already exists.

A hearing was scheduled for July 18 for discussion of a small shopping center at Wheeler Road and Barnaby Terrace SE in connection with the High Point housing development in the area. According to D.C. planning direction Ben W. Gilbert, the project's developer originally planned to build homes only.

Area residents testified that they have some doubts about the project, although they have some concern about inadequate shopping facilities in the area. Ward Eight City Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark said she hopes the ultimate decision would balance the area's need for commercial development against the need for housing, and asked for the public hearing.

Melvin Allison Sr., an Advisory Neighborhood Commission representative from the area, said some residents were upset because the least expensive homes in the project would cost $14,000 more than originally planned.

Allison also said small businessmen from the community are unable to get loans, but outside developers can come in and do what they want.

The zoning commission also postponed discussion of a massive rezoning scheme for the North Dupont Circle area. About two dozen members of citizens' organizations from the area showed up to plead for a public hearing, but the commission put off a decision until April, citing a lack of data and staff to move immediately on the zoning proposal.

Two minor items received final action at the meeting, held last Thursday. The commission approved a residential zoning change at 16th Street and Arkansas Avenue that will allow about nine single-family units to be built and denied a change for the 4200 block of River Road. It was felt that the River Road issue, which involves a bank of rowhouses, should be dealt with in the context of the Tenley Area Development Plan, which is still incomplete.