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Tag Archive | "David McAuley"

ANC 2F May Oppose Demolition Permit for Former Sex Club Building


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Sex"

The Men’s Parties club was on the second floor of 1618 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan may vote to oppose the demolition of 1618 14th Street NW, former site of the sex club, “Men Parties.”

At last night’s meeting, ANC 2F’s Community Development Committee (CDC) voted 6-0 to recommend the full ANC not support an application to DC’s Historical Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for a raze permit for the building. The demolition requires permission from the HPRB because the building is within the boundaries of the Fourteenth Street Historic District.

There was a death at the club in 2009 which led DC to file suit to close the club.

Jeff Owens appeared before the committee to plead the case of the building’s owner, Stephen Jaffe. Reports indicate Jaffe has been the owner since before the 2009 incident.

Owens said the building had been gutted and is now exposed to the elements. He also said the building’s perimeter wall is buckling and the floor joists are gone. Neighborhood residents testified the building is neglected and some windows are open permanently.

Owens also said there is a tentative plan for a new building on the site which would have retail on the first floor and apartments above.

Neighborhood residents testified the building has been an eyesore for years and there were many unsuccessful attempts by neighbors to do something about it. One neighbor brought up the owner’s responsibility for the club and the 2009 death.

“He [Jaffe] knows nothing about that,” Owens said.

Members of the committee came out strongly in favor of preserving the building.

“This is the type of case that historic preservation laws have been designed to protect,” said one committee member.

“This is an absolute case of demolition by neglect,” said another.

“It’s a contributing building,” said committee chair Walt Cain, ANC commissioner for district 02.

The matter may be next considered at the regular monthly meeting of ANC 2F. This is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, at 7 pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.

A notice that an application to raze the building had been filed first appeared at the property in April of this year.

Posted in Politics & GovernmentComments (7)

ANC 2B Soliciting Comments on Dupont East Moratorium


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

At its second listening session on the East Dupont liquor license moratorium last night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont released a list of moratorium-related questions and asked concerned residents to submit their comments electronically on all or some of them. The group email address for the commissioners is: 17thStCommissioners [at] dupontcircleanc dot net.

"17"

Map of Dupont East Moratorium Zone from ANC2B (Courtesy ANC 2B)

The Dupont East liquor license moratorium is often called the 17th Street Moratorium.

The Questions

  1. How has the 17th Street moratorium positively or negatively impacted your vision for the neighborhood?
  2. Do you have concerns about licensed establishments in the neighborhood and do you think a moratorium appropriately and effectively addresses them?
  3. What is the single primary concern in the neighborhood that a moratorium is currently addressing?
  4. If restrictions on the number of restaurant licenses were lifted, do you think the ANC should implement a policy attempting to limit the operations of new restaurants, including hours of operation?
  5. What are your specific expectations/desires if the moratorium expires?
  6. How do you suggest the ANC vote in this matter?
  7. If you favor letting the moratorium expire, are there any restrictions that you would want the ANC to attempt to achieve by other means, e.g., size, outdoor service hours, indoor service hours, security plan? Any restrictions that would be specific to particular addresses?
  8. If you favor extending the moratorium as it is, what specific concerns do you have about what would happen in the absence of a moratorium?
  9. If you have lived near 17th Street or have visited 17th Street for a long time, describe how things have changed since the moratorium went into effect in 1990. Describe specific situations that have been improved or not allowed to increase as the result of the moratorium.
  10. If you are willing to see additional restaurants or no restrictions on the number of restaurants, are there any restrictions that you would want the ANC to attempt to achieve by other means, e.g., size, outdoor service hours, indoor service hours, security plan? Any restrictions that would be specific to particular addresses?
  11. Identify vacant retail spaces in the East Dupont Moratorium Zone (see map) and describe what sort of occupant you would like to see and your ideas about how residents could assist the realization of your vision?

Monday-Night Meeting

The listening session was sparsely attended. Many seats were empty. I heard four people who were not familiar faces from previous meetings on various liquor license moratoriums express their opinions. Of these, one declared himself for preserving the moratorium as is. He identified himself as a long-term resident of the area, a profession economist, and a former ANC Commissioner.

“Passing laws and changing policies is not always the answer,” he said.

Two newer residents, both women, said they wished to see the moratorium scrapped entirely.

One man remarked on the longevity of the 23-year-old moratorium. “We need to hang it up if we haven’t thought of alternatives by now,” he said.

Fred Moosally, Director of DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), gave a short talk on liquor license moratoriums at the beginning of the meeting.

About the timing of ANC 2B’s decision, Moosally said, “The sooner we get something, the better.”

If no action is taken, the moratorium will expire on September 23.

“The Board won’t decide to extend [the moratorium] without a request,” Moosally said. This means ANC 2B would have to get any request to ABRA quickly after its regular monthly meeting in August, when it plans to address the matter.

Community groups may also file independent requests to extend the moratorium.

At the May listening session, there was talk of scrapping the East Dupont moratorium for restaurant licenses only. As a result, at this session, there was a discussion of how to prevent restaurant licensees from turning their establishments into de facto nightclubs or taverns. Moosally said ABRA was the enforcer for violations of license terms, and could issues citations and fines. ABRA will also send investigators into restaurant licensees to check if food is really available, if they receive complaints.

However, Moosally admitted it is often a lengthly and time-consuming process to prove restaurant licensees are not operating according to the terms of their license. Restaurant licensees cannot have more than 45% of their total revenues from alcohol sales, but ABRA requires four full quarters of data to take action.

The Metropolitan Police Department did not respond to an invitation to address the meeting.

ANC 2B Commissioners in attendance were: Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, Stephanie Maltz, 2B-03, Kishan Putta, 2B-04, Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, Leo Dwyer, 2B-07, and Noah Smith, 2B-09.

Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments Off

Wednesday: Support The Logan Circle Heritage Trail


"Logan Circle"

Logan Circle Heritage Trail. (Courtesy)

If you want to support the Logan Circle Heritage Trail here is your opportunity. On Wednesday, June 26, Whole Foods Market on P Street will donate 5% of the store’s net sales.

At the same time, Logan Circle Community Association (LCCA) volunteers and Heritage Trail partners from Cultural Tourism DC will be at Whole Foods to tell customers about the new trail.

Two-and-a-half years in the making, the 15 signs that will mark the walking trail have been finalized and should be in the ground by the beginning of July at the latest. The trail will officially open on Saturday, July 13. There will be a public opening ceremony in the early afternoon in Logan Circle. After some time to explore the trail itself, a celebratory event will take place at the Studio Theater (1501 14th Street NW) from 5 to 7 pm. Local politicians, dignitaries and celebrities are expected to attend.

Stops on the Trail

The trail will have 15 stops in all, starting at the Jewish Community Center and ending at the Studio Theater. Other stops will include:

The Details

  • What: Support Logan Circle Heritage Trail. Whole Foods Market will donate 5% of its net sales.
  • When: Wednesday June 26, from 8 am to 10:30 pm
  • Where: Whole Foods Market, 1440 P Street NW

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2nd Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium Meeting Tonight


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"17"

Map of Dupont East Moratorium Zone. (Courtesy ANC 2B)

The liquor licensing (ABRA Policy) committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont will hold a meeting tonight, June 24. Time is 7 pm in the ground-floor ballroom of the Chastleton Cooperative (1701 16th Street NW).

The meeting will be the second of three listening sessions on the possible extension of the East Dupont Circle Moratorium Zone, also known as the 17th Street Moratorium. The ANC asks that members of the public come and let ANC commissioners know their opinion on the moratorium, which is set to expire September 23.

Representatives of the Metropolitan Police Department and DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) have also been invited to attend the meeting.

According to a new blog post on ANC2B’s website, the moratorium was put in place in 1990. It was renewed in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. It currently limits the liquor-selling establishments in the zone to two liquor stories, two grocery stores, 16 restaurants, and two taverns. No nightclub licenses are permitted in the moratorium zone.

There are currently five liquor license moratoriums in DC, including East Dupont Circle. No liquor license moratorium, once in effect, has ever been completely repealed.

After consulting community opinion, the ANC may make a recommendation to DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on this matter. The ANC may recommend continuing the moratorium or modifying it. Under law, the ABC Board must give ANC opinions “great weight,” but it is not obligated to agree with ANC opinion.

ABC Board decisions on liquor license moratoriums are normally approved by the DC Council and signed into law without modification.

At a meeting of ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee meeting on June 19, ANC 2B Committee Chair Kevin O’Connor said, based on his observation of the ANC Board’s reaction to the recent debate on the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium, the Board would be unlikely to agree with a resolution to continue the moratorium without modification.

“An ‘as is’ moratorium would be dead on arrival,” he said.

If the ANC decides to let the moratorium expire, it may simply choose to take no action. However, community groups may independently petition the ABC Board for an extension of the moratorium.

At the previous listening session on May 22, opinion was divided on the moratorium, with nearly equal numbers of speakers for and against. A compromise solution to lift the moratorium on new restaurant liquor licenses only was discussed.

If you can’t make the meeting, the ANC is also encouraging people to send their comments by email to 17thStCommissioners [at] dupontcircleanc dot net.

There will be a final listening session on Wednesday, August 7. It is planned that the committee’s draft proposal will be made public at this meeting. After further public comment, the full ANC will then consider the proposal at its regular monthly meeting the following week, Wednesday, August 14.

Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments Off

ANC 2B Wants Scottish Rite Temple to Protect Green Space


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

Editor’s Note: The posting of this article generated interest in this topic and comments on the City Paper Housing Blog and Greater Greater Washington Breakfast Links. As a result, the architect involved re-examined whether a zoning variance for reduced parking is actually necessary. The answer seems to be “no,” because the building was built before 1959, the year the current zoning regime went into effect. Thank you to readers for their help.

"Temple"

Scottish Rite Temple at 16th and S Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont modified a resolution last week in hopes of protecting the green space facing 15th Street NW behind the Scottish Rite Temple (1733 16th Street).

The modification was part of a larger resolution to endorse the general facelift for the 97-year-old building and its surrounding grounds. ANC 2B’s Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee approved the general renovation plan in a meeting the previous week.

The Scottish Rite Temple reportedly supports preserving the green space as well. However, DC zoning requirements specify that a building of the Scottish Rite Temple’s size have more than 100 parking spaces available.

Currently, there are less than 50 spaces, which are used by the Temple’s permanent staff. In order to satisfy the parking requirement, the Temple would have to pave over its entire property to the street. It does not wish to do so. On the occasions when the Temple is full to near-capacity, it uses shuttle buses from nearby hotels and other locations to ferry participants to the site.

To preserve its green space, the Temple will require a zoning variance.

At the previous week’s ZPD meeting, representatives of Hartman-Cox Architects said that part of the green space will have to be given up temporarily to serve as a staging area and space for temporary office trailers connected with the renovation. But after the renovation is complete, the plan is return the space to its original condition.

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Posted in NewsComments (5)

ANC 2B Urges Delay of 1451 S Street Expansion


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

A surprise appearance by unhappy neighbors caused Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont to recommend delaying approval of a proposed expansion of a row house at 1451 S Street NW.

1451_S_NW-w597-h556

Expansion at 1451 S Street NW does not require zoning approval or variance of any kind. (Luis Gomez Photos)

ANC 2B voted unanimously at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 12, to ask DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to delay consideration of the project until its July meeting, a one-month delay. This reverses the recommendation to green-light the project made the previous week by ANC 2B’s Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee.

The project does not require zoning approval or variance of any kind.

Trout Design Studio, an architecture firm, presented in support of a proposal, which would add a third story with a master bedroom to the house. The third story will not be visible from the street, but will be visible from the rear alley.

Trout Design Studio presented letters of support from neighbors at 1435 and 1461 S Street. They also presented a letter of support from 1515 Caroline Street. This address, Trout Design Studio claimed, abutted the house from the rear. However, ANC Commissioners pointed out the abutting house to the rear actually fronts onto Swann Street. Caroline Street is one block north and one block west, across 15th Street.

The residents of the abutting house to the west appeared before the committee. “Things have not gone well,” one of them said.

The first meeting with the architects concerning the expansion had only occurred the previous Sunday, he said. The neighbor said he was concerned about how the expansion would change the block.

“This will be replicated on every house,” he said.

It was also reported that Trout Design Studio had tried and failed the previous evening to obtain an endorsement for the project from Dupont Circle Conservancy. The Conservancy does not normally provide official rationales for its decisions. A representative of the Conservancy explained the Conservancy was concerned because the expansion resembled ones they had seen that eventually became multi-residence condominiums.

Efforts by Trout Design Studio and the ANC to contact the abutting neighbor to the east were unsuccessful. This neighbor did not appear at the meeting. One of the residents of abutting house to the west reported that he contacted the man who lived in the abutting house to the east the previous Sunday.

“He does not use email,” he said. “He had no idea.”

In the light of this new information, Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, withdrew his original motion to endorse the expansion, and the ANC instead requested a one-month delay to get more input from the neighbors.

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Posted in NewsComments (6)

15th Street Bike Lane to be Repaved


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Bike"

15th Street NW Bike lane. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will repave the two-way bicycle lane on 15th Street NW.

The news was announced at the monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont on Wednesday, July 12. The repaving will be finished by the end of the summer, according to Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, The path runs through Smith’s district.

The bike lanes are in serious need of assistance, with southbound lanes between Massachusetts and K Streets often resembling a washboard.

On his website, Smith adds that there will also be new signs and markings on the path. The news came after the last November’s ANC 2B resolution calling for improvements to the path, and subsequent lobbying of the DC Council.

Smith has also announced that, after ANC prodding, DDOT has agreed to a request to coordinate the pedestrian walk signals through Dupont Circle. It will no longer be necessary for pedestrians to stand on the median between four lanes of traffic when crossing into or out of the circle.

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Posted in News, Politics & GovernmentComments (3)

Taqueria Nacional Gets Okay for Outdoor Cafe from ANC 2B


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Taqueria Nacional"

Taqueria Nacional at 1409 T Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 12, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont endorsed the request of Taqueria Nacional restaurant (1409 T Street NW) for outdoor seating. Tacqueria Nacional opened its doors on May 15.

ANC 2B approved a resolution supporting the public space application with a proviso saying the outdoor seating have shorter hours of operation than the indoor portion of the restaurant.

The public space can operate from 10 am until 11 pm Monday to Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. Taqueria Nacional has an fountain in its outdoor area.

Elwin Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance told the ANC the restaurant should remember to drain the fountain every evening at the close of business. The neighborhood has a rat problem, Ferris said, and an open fountain would give the vermin population an addition place to find water.

Restaurant management said they currently drain the fountain every night and intend to continue doing so. Drunk passersby using the fountain as a urinal was a concern, the management said.

A neighbor testified the fountain is drained nightly and covered.

The ANC voted to include a clause in its resolution noting with approval this practice, in the hopes it will continue.

The public space use application now goes to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for final approval.

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Posted in Food & Drink, Politics & GovernmentComments (2)

Policy Restaurant Seeks to Void Agreement with ANC 2B


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"kareoke"

Policy on 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Raj Multhani, manager of Policy Restaurant (1904 14th Street NW), is seeking to terminate an agreement because he says it puts the restaurant at a competitive disadvantage.

“This agreement has hamstrung this establishment,” Multhani told the regular monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Committee 2B/Dupont on June 12. ANC 2B voted to protest termination of the agreement when the matter comes before DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.

Liquor-serving establishments in the Borderstan area normally enter into “settlement agreements” (formerly known as “voluntary agreements”) with local ANCs, community groups and neighbors.

These agreements normally may deal with the hours of operation of the establishment (both inside and outside if applicable), the time and frequency of garbage pickup, vermin control, valet parking, outdoor seating and other details.

Policy Restaurant’s settlement agreement is with ANC 2B, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and a group of five neighbors. Since Policy has opened, many restaurants with more liberal settlement agreements have started up nearby.

“Things have changed around us,” Multhani said. “No other establishment has the restrictions that Policy has.”

Multhani and his attorney talked about the ways that their current settlement agreement limits Policy’s ability to operate. Policy cannot expand into its basement space. It must restrict the hours when it can receive deliveries to an even narrow period than that allowed by law. It cannot offer live music.

The most contentious issue, however, seems to be hours of operation. The current settlement agreement specifically lists Policy’s hours of operation, which are also the same hours that restaurants are normally allowed to operate. However, several times a year the DC government gives liquor licensees leave to stay open later on special occasions, most frequently on the Sunday evening of three-day weekends.

When Policy wishes to stay open as late as its neighbors, it must seek out all of the parties to their settlement agreement and get their permission. Some parties have refused to give permission.

Elwyn Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, appeared as a representative of the group of five neighbors.

“It is vitally important that the voluntary agreement stay in place,” Ferris said.

Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, proposed the motion to protest the termination of the settlement agreement, but said that he hoped he could help negotiate an agreement which is satisfactory to all sides.

Policy Restaurant opened near the corner of T and 14th Street in 2009. It has sponsored benefits for Haiti and Toys for Tots.

The final vote was 8-0 to protest the termination of the settlement agreement. Commissioner Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, recused himself from the vote because his position on the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; Silverstein recuses himself on all ANC 2B liquor licensing matters.

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Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments (14)

Cafe Ghana Asks Police for Help with Sidewalk Issues


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Cafe Ghana"

Cafe Ghana at 1336 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The owner of Cafe Ghana asked for assistance from MPD at last week’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle meeting.

After a briefing on local crime by a representative of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the proprietor of the Ghana Cafe (1336 14th Street) told the committee homeless people were harassing people in front of his restaurant.

He also reported homeless people participating in oral sex at a nearby bus stop. By the time police responded, the proprietor said, the behaviors had ceased. The MPD representative pledged to work on the problem.

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