Policy Restaurant Seeks to Void Agreement with ANC 2B

by Borderstan.com June 17, 2013 at 9:00 am 14 Comments

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


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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  • TStreet

    Policy should be allowed to operate like any other establishment. And why are we allowing SDCA to have a say in our neighborhood matters? They aren’t an ANC with elected members.

  • T St Neighbor

    This is asinine. Policy regularly gets noise complaints. They have made the condo next door unlivable.

    I rarely agree with the positions of the Shaw-Dupont Citizens Alliance, but this one is spot-on. Policy is not a good neighbor, nor respectful of the nearby residents.

    • Anon

      I am so tired of these nimby groups pretending to represent the community when they don’t.

  • T Street

    Unfortunately Policy now has to deal with the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, which didn’t exist when Policy first opened. Get ready for hell, Policy.

  • your neighbor

    Hahaha. It’s not the agreement that’s hurting Policy — it’s Policy. I tried to go a few times when they opened and got the sniffy, up-and-down look and was haughtily told there was no room but I was welcome to stand on the sidewalk in case something opened up.

    Now here we are, and no one goes to Policy. It’s always empty. And suddenly their ANC agreement is to blame? Maybe it’s the awful menu. Or the fact that they had a strong opening and thought it would be that way forever. Oops.

    They can adjust their agreement but it’s not going to suddenly make Policy happen.

    • M

      It’s the menu. Nasty. Never again.

    • T St Neighbor

      Exactly. The place is awful. It has nothing to do with their voluntary agreement.

      Key word: VOLUNTARY.

    • your other neighbor

      Great to see SDCA hard at work here.

      • your other neighbor

        Since no one else will listen to them, they have to pick on Policy..

      • T street residence

        SDCA is nothing more then a bottleneck to the progress of our neighborhood. They are constantly harassing businesses and provide no real value to the residences of our community. Good luck Policy. Your food is fabulous!

        • Jon Rooney

          I am not sure why the SDCA spends so much time and effort harassing businesses. I have lived in this area for 30 years and I remember the drug dealers and prostitutes who use to walk up and down 14th street. I am ecstatic about all these great new businesses and restaurants that are coming to our neighborhood. Good luck Policy.

  • A frequent Vistor

    I actually like Policy and always wondered why they could not stay open later. I think its a cool place to go and I hope they get whatever it is they are looking to get. Good Luck Policy!

  • TomDC

    How does such an awful place stay in business? We all thought it would go under long ago.

  • Mary Nadler

    I had a wonderful time at Policy for a fundraiser for the Good Will. We raised thousands of dollars for the cause. They had a very friendly staff who was very attentive. I don’t understand all these politics, but wanted to chime in because we are very grateful to Policy for helping our cause.


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