Tuesday night’s ANC meeting was a long one and truthfully, I couldn’t make it all of the way to the end. When two and a half hours had gone by and the commissioners were still going back and forth – a bit contentiously – on what provisions to include on a voluntary agreement for the proposed beer garden on 9th Street south of the highway, I was fading fast. I was hungry and feeling very frustrated with what is clearly a flawed process for deciding whether or not to support or protest liquor license requests.
Let me start with a quick run-down of the easier-to-summarize issues, and then move onto the issue that took up the majority of the first two and a half hours of the meeting:
- The commission voted to support the liquor license renewal request for Bullfeathers. No word on an expected opening date yet but we are working on it!
- The license for Annie & Teddy’s Po Boys was up for renewal even though (no, the restaurant has yet to open and we still have no information on an expected opening date) but no one from the establishment was in attendance so the commission voted to take no position.
- After a LOT of deliberation about what to include in a voluntary agreement for the Bavarian Beer Garden on 8th and L Streets, SE, the commission voted to, well, I think essentially protest the request until a voluntary agreement can be written and approved. The commission’s main concerns with the VA were that it includes specifics about entertainment due to fears that the establishment could turn into a nightclub. According to Larry Janezich on the EMMCA blog, the commission voted 7-3 to support the liquor license request as long as a voluntary agreement is signed. JD Land, however, said, “because the deadline for protesting the license application before ABRA is Monday (Dec. 20), and because the full ANC would need to approve any voluntary agreement by vote at a business meeting, the ANC is going to officially be “in protest” with ABRA on the license until the agreements are worked out.” Which is a bit more in line with past decisions by this commission. You can read her full summary and find much more background here. I left shortly before the final vote. Maybe if the ANC can figure out how to approve and post meeting minutes in a more timely fashion we could have an official record to refer to…
- The commission voted to support the 2011 National Marathon Race (March 26, 2011) and the 2011 Cupid Undie Run (February 12, 2010) which will both have routes through our neighborhood.
- The commission voted to support a request for a sidewalk café for Crepes on the Corner (257 15th Street, SE). They still have no set opening date due to some DCRA issues regarding how many toilet facilities will be in the restaurant.
- The commission voted to support the application for The Maples project, which will entail restoring the historic building, constructing new buildings on the property, and adding a parking garage underneath the land.
What took up the majority of the time for last night’s meeting was the deliberation over whether or not to support the liquor license request for Pacifico, the latest venture by Xavier Cervera. Pacifico is slated to open at 514 8th Street, SE, where Capitol Hill Video currently stands, which happens to be right in the center of the stretch that neighbors say is becoming the next Adams Morgan. They say things have reached a tipping point, they do not want any more restaurants, and that the stretch has become a nighttime entertainment destination, effectively changing the fabric of the neighborhood and they want it to stop.
Cervera brought designs, measurements, and a list of offered solutions to reduce noise and other complaints from the neighbors. Several commissioners expressed their appreciation for his thorough efforts to scale back his plans and for coming to them with solutions. Many, however also noted that it would be hard for them to vote in support of his application because it would undermine their opposition to Nooshi and Moby Dick at last month’s meeting. They recognize the concerns that there is an over-saturation of restaurants on Barracks Row and do not want it to become worse before a long-term solution can be identified.
Previously, neighbors on 9th street presented a petition with 53 signatures calling for a moratorium on liquor licenses. At last week’s ABC meeting, Cervera brought 300 signatures supporting his restaurant; however the neighbors questioned the validity of the signatures saying that most were of people who do not live in the area. In addition, one neighbor said that came to her door and asked her to sign a petition opposing Cervera’s new restaurant, but when she looked closer it was actually supporting his restaurant.
Many neighbors stood up to protest the restaurant, while a number also came to Cervera’s defense, as well as the defense of the growing number of restaurants on the street. A gentleman who’s house is directly next to the proposed restaurant said that the growth of restaurants has been a welcome change for him and he has appreciated Cervera’s willingness to find solutions for noise and trash issues.
Another neighbor supporting the restaurant reported that the owner of 514 was planning to open a motorcycle shop if Cervera’s restaurant plan fell through. He went on to warn that protesting this could open the door to a much worse addition to the neighborhood. This, unsurprisingly, did not go over well with the commission – Ken Jarboe responded that he did not appreciate being blackmailed and made it clear that such tactics would not sway his opinion on the matter.
In the end, the commission voted to protest the license 5-4 with 1 abstaining. Dave Garrison, Carol Green. Ken Jarboe, Kirsten Oldenburg, and Mary Wright voted to protest while Francis Campbell, Neil Glick, Will Hill and Mike Patterson voted to not protest. Norm Metzger abstained.
Larry Janezich noted in his summary on the EMMCA blog that “At least two commissioners – Garrison and Metzger – signaled they might be willing to live with over concentration if ways could be found to deal with peace, order, quiet and parking issues.”
Larry added, “To that end, outgoing ANC Chair Garrison said the commission was looking for ‘a third way’ to deal with licenses, not just to protest or support. He said he was anxious to see what the Retail Mix Task Force recommended, alluding to the Task Force’s consideration of ‘guidelines’ for the new ABC establishments which could be written into voluntary agreements governing their operation. The Task Force is scheduled to issue an interim report prior to the ANC’s February 2011 meeting”
8th Street is still a far cry from becoming the “next Adams Morgan”.
I welcome the new development, and hope for more. Would we really want to go back to days of Mickey’s Patio?
Cannot wait for January 2nd and the end of crotchety old man Jarboe…
Yikes, Joe, that’s just plain mean. Whether you agree or disagree with their actions, service on ANCs is completely voluntary and nobody deserves to be publicly maligned. Claudia’s opening clearly reflects how hard it is just to sit in the audience. Lots of other time consuming work goes on all month long. One thing is certain, no one seeks this job unless s/he is deeply committed the neighborhood.
But that’s not why I’m adding my .02. This whole mess is a great example of why “lame ducks” should refrain from setting policy.
Great write up, Claudia. We are lucky to have you and Larry (emmcablog) reporting on the ANC.
Does anyone know why Norm Metzger abstained? Was it because his wife testified on behalf of the Restoration Society? She is, after all, chair of the CHRS Historic Preservation committee…
Let’s be real. Service on the ANC is not a completely selfless venture. Ego and a desire for power also have a good bit to do with it. Not saying that is a bad thing, but every politician or psuedo-politician, without fail, is motivated in part by self-interest. A deep commitment to the neighborhood and a desire for control are not mutually exclusive.
That stretch of 8th Street is not in danger of becoming another Adams Morgan. It’s in danger of becoming another Mount Pleasant Street, where businesses are scared to open because of the perceived anti-business attitude of the ruling neighborhood groups. If the ANC keeps up this tactic, I hope it will enjoy the empty storefronts that will riddle 8th Street in the future, just like on Mount Pleasant Street in Northwest.
The words “Laurie Collins” should be brought up anytime a discussion of this issue takes place. Mount Pleasant is still paying dearly because of her anti-bar crusade, and will be for some time.
Hill_P: You might check Norm Metzger’s blog.
I do know that he has not abstained on votes that have directly concerned the CHRS in the past–most recently, the Barney Circle vote.
I agree with Joe – Jarboe lost for a reason and I am looking forward to an ANC without him on it. He made poor choices even before he was a “lame duck”.
Barbara – Whether the ANC position is voluntary or not is completely irelevant – if you make bad decisions as that “volunteer” and overall are close-minded , stubborn and defensive, you deserve to be criticized for that.
The current ANC in general has no idea what to do with this ridiculous moratorium – clearly even they are confused as to how it should be utilized and they came up with it! Such a knee jerk reaction to a non-problem. It was a horrible idea in the first place and hopefully it will just be a distant memory soon.
people need to stop pushing parking as an imkportant issue- the overwhelming majority of visitors to 8th street take Metro , or walk. It is primarily the older and NIMBY crowd that should not be making these decisions. Any other place in the city or the country for that matter would BEG to get the business we are attracting here on 8th street- and the parking morons want to turn it into a quiet Centreville suburb . They fear and despise the new young people moving into the area, and they are against businesses and more density which, in the long run, will bring more tax money into the city and lessen the financial strain- simply because affluent people use fewer services. All of this is related to the NIMBY actions of the ANCs here. As far as “history” goes- 8th street was a lively and very commercial street through most of it’s history- and despite the parking idiots- it was a STREETCAR corridor- where no one needed a car to get around. The NIMBYs want all of our businesses to go out to Northern Virginia . These same historic people did nothing to fight the SE-SW freeway when it came in in the late 60’s because they wanted it. Their credentials are flawed. When it comes to their own convieniences they do not care one bit about historic preservation or quiet.
And why have the ANCs and the neighborhood associations allowed the mom & pop stores to vanish? A healthy city should allow people who have homes where ground floor retail once existed to revert to mixed use. These old people are against mixed use, against density, they hate young people, and they all drive and seldom take transit, walk or cycle.
Hear, hear, anti-NIMBY! These squawkers just annoy me no end. I only wish I was free in the evenings to attend these meetings and show my support of the businesses (restaurants) eager to join our community. As I posted on an earlier article, the ANC’s decision to abdicate any responsible role by establishing a blanket moratorium on an issue directly promoting economic development is reprehensible.
none of these new restaurants attracts a downscale clientele..if anything- too many of them are expensive. Walking down 8th street on any given Friday or Saturday night one sees plenty of hoity-toity folks slapping down far too much for meals or drinks in these glamourous hot spots. Just look at belga- it is no dive !!!
What are these people so worried about? Often times I see the same people who complain about the parking going over and enjoying these new places. What do they want? why don’t they just bulldoze Eastern Market and put up a huge parking facility? Will that make them happy? Get rid of all of the density- and you have Detroit- with LOTS of open space…
I see these old people with 2-3 cars and they harp because they have trouble finding parking. Get a bicycle. Use Metro. WALK.
Next Adams Morgan- You have got to be kidding me! 8th Street, SE is nowhere close to that, nor will it ever be. That is a shitshow that can not be replicated.
Honestly, I can not believe that the entire economic development of a portion of the city is being affected by 53 residents who dont want to lose their parking spots! Ridiculous.
Yes, this sounds like great public policy. Let’s curtail positive economic development, promote vacant storefronts, reduce tax dollars entering the City and stymy real estate property value appreciation so 53 residents can enjoy a parking spot that is not private property or guaranteed in the first place. This is almost as assiniging as people putting chairs and traffic cones in a public parking space. And honestly, if you were worried about noise and other livability issues why the hell did you choose to live next to the only commercially designated street in the whole F’ing region of the city. Cause commerce was always there! What we need is our elected officials to grow a spine and tell people that their minor inconvenience does not reflect the concern of the entire community.
Honestly, we are lucky to have such a liveable and walkable assset such as 7th street and 8th street. The whole NIMBYISM present in this discussion is making me resent the entire neighborhood. Want quiet nights, clean streets and guaranteed parking then move to the suburbs.
Were going to need Jesus, Budda and Allah to help us if this sentiment pervades. It doesn’t take long for entrepenuers to realize neighborhoods to stay away from due to irrascible and asinine neighbors. Then we can all live happily in an area where storefronts remain vacant, property values stagnate in comparison to other neighborhoods, and where city services go to get dumped because nothing else will move in.
Here’s an idea. Maybe the 53 signatories to the letter can start a hippy commune under the freeway. No restaurants to bother them there.
the NIMBYs and their dastardly robotic & prosthetic appendages; the ANCs and the CHRS, are groups that seek to dominate and micromanage all aspects of life in the neighborhoods around the Capitol. The CHRS has a super nasty reputation as a select club of old people & attorneys working pro-bono that seeks revenge on people whom they do not like or those that dare to ctiricize their policies. You will be hard pressed to find one native born Washingtonian in these groups. The ANCs seek to keep densification, transit oriented development and sustainable land use practices from becoming reality. The CHRS seeks to halt the new streetcar project- especially on 8th street , which is in reality HISTORIC and sustainable, using green energy …they want buses? What is wrong with these people? This city – and these neighborhoods once had hundreds upon hundreds of small independent businesses that were driven out by onerous taxes and by NIMBY policies banning mom & pop stores- turning them into exclusively residential properties and wrecking the fabric- HISTORIC FABRIC- of the city. They want different kinds of businesses other than restaurants- well fine- then get with it people. Bringing back restaurants to 8th street is one way to inaugurate new vitality- as would be a Renaissance of mom & pop shops below what are now homes. But they don’t want this- it would threaten their “parking rights” which are above and beyond anything- the most important issues with these old farts. the Capitol Hill Parking Preservation Society.
How about ‘by next Adams Morgan’ we focus just on City Bikes? A very good retail outlet which is coming to Barracks Row this spring
There are viable retail possibilities for non- restaurant/bar businesses
“Whether you agree or disagree with their actions, service on ANCs is completely voluntary and nobody deserves to be publicly maligned.”
One can say that about any elected position. Get over it—these aren’t innocent bystanders, they’re people who willfully and knowingly stepped into the hot seat. Boo hoo, someone said something not nice about them, quit whining.
“Many, however also noted that it would be hard for them to vote in support of his application because it would undermine their opposition to Nooshi and Moby Dick at last month’s meeting.”
let me paraphrase: “We appreciate the thoughtful and intelligent solutions you’ve come up with, however we don’t want to be seen eating crow, so we’re going to continue our steadfast, cranky opposition.”
….the same thing goes for the new Hines development. The idiots who all drive or own 2-3 cars want them to build a 300 car garage – and it will wind up not being used. This kind of development is totally antithetical to transit oriented development. Instead of a huge and super expensive gargae we could be building housing for teachers, firefighters, cops and social workers- who now have to spend hours commuting into the city. Parking minimums are supported by car driving boomers and others who never take transit. many of the new people moving into the city do not even want cars- they come here to escape the bondage of car ownership and the horrendous costs associated with it- not to mention the obesity and dangers of bad distracted drivers, etc..
These obstructionists are living in the past. This is a city- not a suburban place . The historic transportation on 8th street was the streetcar. It is a streetcar corridor and whaling about overhead wires being some kind of “environmental issue” is absurd and shows just where these types come from. It is all about that free parking place in front of their house. This is primary arbiter /motivator of these NIMBY reactionaries.
I think all of the food establishments being opposed on 8th Street should move further down on Penn Ave. We’d be happy to have you down our way!
the Adams Morgan comparison is laughable. And look, Pacifico would be taking the place of what was essentially an adult video store! the hypocrisy is jaw dropping from the ANC folks.