From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
The plight of the Fainting Goat Tavern has taken a strange turn. An official document of protest by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B seems to have vanished before reaching its destination, the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
Unless the document suddenly turns up, the ANC 1B’s decision rejecting the Fainting Goat’s settlement agreement would not be recognized, because the deadline for filing such documents has now passed. This may make it easier for the Fainting Goat to argue before ABRA in favor of granting a liquor license. ANC 1B covers the U Street area.
March 7 Meeting
The Fainting Goat’s troubles began on March 7. That evening, ANC 1B voted 5 to 2, with two abstentions, against the settlement agreement with the District Pub Group, LLC, to operate the Fainting Goat Tavern at 1330 U Street, the former site of Urban Essentials. The decision was made after an animated discussion with the community and conflicting recollections of previous ANC committee actions. This decision then needed to be officially communicated to ABRA.
Meanwhile, a petition in support of the Fainting Goat appeared on change.org on March 14.
Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), said on March 14 that ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee Chair Jeremy Leffler (District 02) wrote her in an email that the protest documents had been filed with ABRA.
Statement from ABRA
“No resolution from ANC 1B has been received by ABRA protesting this application,” wrote William Hager, ABRA Public Information Officer, in an email, also on March 14.
Borderstan’s multiple email requests to several commissioners for copies of ANC 1B’s protest documents and evidence that they were presented in a timely manner were not answered.
Information on the ABRA web site says that protests against liquor licenses can be faxed or email. All email protests must be sent as a PDF document and signed. These two methods are the only ways to officially file a protest with ABRA.
Still, it is far from clear sailing for The Fainting Goat’s liquor license application. Two community groups correctly filed their protests before deadline. ABRA’s William Hager identified the two groups. One is the SDCA, which is the spearhead of a U Street liquor license moratorium campaign. The second is a group of 14 residents, most of whom live on Wallach Place NW. The ABRA web site says that any “[g]roup of five or more property owners sharing common ground” may file a protest.
Next Step for Fainting Goat
The next step for the Fainting Goat will be an ABRA Roll Call Hearing on March 25. It will be held at 10 am on the fourth floor of the Reeves Center at 2000 14th Street NW. ABRA’s Hagar told Borderstan that the purpose of the Roll Call Hearings is only to identify the parties that have standing as protestants in this matter. The substance of each protest will not be discussed. A separate hearing is scheduled for May 15 to discuss the substance of the protests.