In case you couldn’t make last night’s ANC 6B meeting (what? You didn’t want to spend three hours in People’s Church listening to people argue about zoning regulations?!), here’s what you missed: lots of liquor license deliberation (including a move to protest all new requests starting with Moby Dick and Nooshi), announcements about some upcoming meetings dealing with neighborhood development, and a vote to support a text amendment for changes to the Zoning Regulations in relation to the regulation of motor vehicle parking, bicycle parking, and loading.
The decision to protest all new liquor license requests came after more talk of a proposed liquor license moratorium due in part to objections raised from 9th Street residents who are concerned about plans for two new restaurants to occupy the current Chateau Animaux location. The commission decided that a blanket protest of all new requests — instead of determining on a case-by-case basis — would be the best course of action until a solution is identified to fix the “over-saturation of restaurants” on 8th Street. With three additional requests for new licenses expected in December, the commission felt that a decision on a consistent course of action needed to be made sooner rather than later.
A protest from the ANC does not necessarily mean that the business cannot get their liquor license, it just means that the ANC is advising the ABC board to deny it. But a protest also means that things are drawn out through a hearing and negotiation period. In an effort to learn more about how a moratorium would work and if it is the best solution for Barracks Row, an information-gathering meeting has been scheduled for December 6th. Representatives from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) and representatives from areas of the city that have or have had moratoriums will be there to discuss the good, bad and ugly of such programs. As more details are provided about the meeting, we will let you know.
Additional details from the meeting:
- The meeting started off with a community speakout in which Tom and Barbara Riehle submitted a statement asking the ANC for greater transparency. They submitted the statement at the last meeting and were re-submitting this month it since no response had been received. They are asking that the location of the executive committee meeting be posted on the ANC website, that the meetings be tape recorded, and that they start keeping a record of how each member votes on issues and make the record easily available on the website. (For the record, last night’s meeting was tape recorded although I do not know that they have the technical ability to provide the audio online.)
- Liquor license renewal requests: the ANC is revising the voluntary agreements for all liquor licenses to reflect concerns with noise and security and voted to support the renewals of the following licenses unless the establishments failed to sign an updated voluntary agreement (the official wording is to protest unless the license is signed but that seemed alarmist when I wrote it out that way): 18th Amendment, Pour House, Capitol Lounge, Remington’s, and Trusty’s. No one from Lola’s or Cava came to last night’s meeting or the ABC Committee meeting so the commission voted to take no position on those.
- The commission deliberated for a while on what to do about the renewal request from Bachelor’s Mill/Back Door Pub, located at 1104 8th Street, SE. Based on police records there have apparently been a number of service calls to that location, which the commission says indicates that something bad is happening at the establishment. However, none of the calls were due to incidents in the bar — just outside — and the list from the police only states that there were calls but does not give context or details on the outcome of any issue. The manager said they are happy to work with the ANC on a voluntary agreement and discuss further security measures. The ANC is protesting the renewal request pending the signing of an updated voluntary agreement that addresses security concerns.
- Nooshi and Mody Dick, which are both slated to open where Chateau Animaux is, faced a lot of opposition and the commission voted to protest their requests for liquor licenses. At last week’s ABC Committee meeting residents on 9th street presented the committee with a petition of 76 signatures protesting the restaurants saying that 8th street has reached a “tipping point” and is facing an “Adams Morganization.” An additional petition with 25 signatures asking for a moratorium on liquor licenses was also presented. Residents say that there is too little retail and an over-saturation of bars and restaurants, causing parking and noise issues. They also claim that the increase in restaurants and decrease in retail is hurting the value of their houses. The owners of both restaurants say that they are open to reducing the number of seats in their restaurants and take actions to reduce the noise. The owner of Nooshi, who is also the new owner of the building, explained that she has full intentions of moving forward with plans for both restaurants as she cannot cover the mortgage if the space stays empty or if the rent to the other business occupying the space is decreased. This led to a long discussion among the commissioners about what steps to take in light of the requests to ask the city for a liquor license moratorium. In the end, they decided to protest all new liquor license requests moving forward until a solution to the over-saturation of restaurants can be identified.
- Four 6B residents — including yours truly — have been approved to serve on the Retail Mix Task Force, which will hopefully help identify solutions to the over-saturation issue. I will gladly keep you all informed of our progress as well as all opportunities for community input, which will be a key component to this.