From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 1, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle moved forward on liquor license renewal for the many of the area’s restaurant and bars, but voted to oppose a liquor license renewal for one troubled establishment. In addition, the Commission passed a resolution in favor of the speedy renovation of Garrison Elementary School, and talked with police about perceived shortcomings in local law enforcement.
Liquor License Renewal Season
Forty-seven annual liquor license renewals were on ANC 2F’s agenda. The overwhelming majority were routine and required little or no discussion.
“When I moved here, there were five,” said John Fanning, Commissioner for district 2F-04 and chairman of the commission’s liquor licensing affairs committee.
ANC 2F voted unanimously to support changes in the settlement agreements for two P Street establishments: Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (1415 14th Street) and Number Nine (1435 P Street). Lalibela will now have food service all night on Friday and Saturday nights, but no outside food service before 10am. Number Nine now has permission to start an eight-table sidewalk seating area on P Street, and also may stay open later on the Sunday evenings before Monday holidays.
An outdoor serving area with five seats on 14th Street for the soon-to-open B Too restaurant was also approved.
ANC 2F voted, also unanimously, to oppose the liquor license renewal request for El Sauce Restaurant (1227 11th Street), on the ground of the establishment’s disturbance of the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood, as well as possible damage to real estate prices.
El Sauce Restaurant has a history of violent episodes and non-compliance with the law. ANC Chair Matt Raymond (2F-07) brandished a two-page long list of 23 incidents, including five assaults with a deadly weapon (including a brick and a head-butt) and an assault on police. In addition, there have been 11 fines for violations of various types and a long list of lesser offenses. ANC Commissioners reported witnessing fist fights and receiving reports both of harassment of women near the establishment and of operation at 4:30am, long after the licensed closing time.
In 2011, El Sauce was the scene of a murder. Raymond said Police Commissioner Cathy L. Lanier had recommended El Sauce’s liquor license be revoked after that incident. Raymond will ask the DC government’s alcohol licensing authority why Chief Lanier’s recommendation had been disregarded.
Sherry Kimball, constituent services director for Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, said, “This establishment should surely be closed.”
Commissioner Fanning said he would meet with El Sauce’s owner, who reportedly speaks only Spanish. Fanning pledged he would bring a translator with him to the meeting.
Resolution Supports Garrison Renovation
ANC 2F unanimously approved a resolution urging the DC City Council to accelerate its plan to modernize Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street). Garrison was slated for closing last year and then saved after community opposition.
The present DC budget has no money for Garrison modernization until 2015, when it receive 8 million dollars. The modernization may receive addition funding in later years. The resolution calls for 16 million dollars to be allocated in the 2014 budget.
The resolution notes the school has not been renovated since 1964. ANC Commissioner Matt Connolly (2F-08) said renovations had been delayed three times. Connolly is the co-chair of ANC 2F’s Education Committee.
Sherry Kimball told the committee she thought the resolution was an effective expression of the ANC’s concern about Garrison, but she doubted the City Council would be able to find the required money at this late date.
“It’s not going to happen in 2014,” Kimball said. “But I support the resolution.”
There will be a meeting about the renovation sponsored by the Logan Circle Community Association on Wednesday, May 8, at 7pm at Garrison. ANC 2F, with other organizations, will also hold a meeting on the topic on Saturday, May 11, at 9:30am, at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Street).
Police Hear Complaints From Commissioner
At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Peter Lallas (district 2F-01) told members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) about law enforcement problems in his district.
Lallas said bicycles had been stolen from his home on Friday three weeks ago. The next afternoon at 2:30pm, Lallas saw men with the stolen bicycles near his home. Lallas said it took police 15 minutes to respond to his call for assistance. As a result, the men with the stolen bicycles escaped. Subsequently, Lallas did research that found there were 41 officers on duty at that time and there was no other unusual criminal activity going on. Why did it take so long for the MPD to respond?
The MPD promised to look into the matter.
Lallas also said he had received complaint about illegal parking on Sunday mornings in his district. Specifically, people reported illegal parking in bike lanes and areas reserved for residents. Parking enforcement is normally the responsibility of the District Department on Transportation (DDOT), but on Sunday it is the responsibility of the MPD.
“What is the MPD doing on Sunday?” Lallas asked.
Sherry Kimball said the MPD will ticket on Sunday if a fire hydrant or driveway is blocked, but not for parking in residential zones or bike lanes.
Police representatives proposed setting up an enforcement test area to investigate the extent of the problem.
Visitor Parking Program to Change
Later in the meeting, Commission Walt Cain (2F-02) reported DDOT is working on an overhaul of the citywide visitor parking program. All details of the program are not yet worked out, but the revised program is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2013.