by Tim Regan August 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

Police cars, photo via Flickr.com/MPDPolice and elected officials will meet with members of the community tonight at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) to talk about crime in Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park Shaw and U Street.

During the meeting, members of the community will be able to talk with and learn about crime statistics from police Lieutenant Jonathan Dorrough and ANC 1B-12 commissioner and public safety committee chair John Green.

The meeting will also include a special presentation by ANC 2F Commissioner Charlie Bengel, who made headlines earlier this week by calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser for a new ten-point crime plan.

Photo via Flickr.com/MPD

by Tim Regan August 14, 2015 at 4:40 pm 0

ANC 1B

ANC 1B needs another new commissioner.

The latest position opened when former commissioner Allyson Carpenter, 1B-10, said she planned to resign from the position because she is moving. The D.C. Board of Elections published the position opening on its website today.

The neighborhood commission last sought a new commissioner in June and July with the departure of Mitchel Herckis, 1B-04.

Want to be an ANC commissioner? To qualify for the election, candidates must live in 1B-10, which sits at the northeast corner of the ANC’s boundary.

Potential candidates must also solicit signatures from local residents.

If no one applies for candidacy, the D.C. Board of Elections will continue to declare the vacancy until a candidate steps forward.

Locals can pick up nominating petitions at the D.C. Board of Elections office located at 441 4th Street NW.

Image via Facebook.com/ANC1B

by Tim Regan August 7, 2015 at 10:50 am 0

All Souls rendering

Applause rang out at last night’s ANC 1B meeting at the Reeves Center after the commission unanimously approved a settlement agreement regarding a long-debated and proposed outdoor patio at Shaw bar All Souls.

The bar’s plans for an outdoor patio at the corner of 8th and T streets NW previously ran into some heavy opposition from neighbors, reported Short Articles About Long Meetings in February, March and April.

According to a July post on the All Souls Facebook page, the bar has already been approved for a public space permit by DDOT, pending technical changes.

The room seemed to tense when Mark Ranslem, 1B-08, spoke up after a motion to approve the settlement agreement was put forth.

“I know they put a lot of work into this,” he began. “And I’m very happy.”

The commission then voted unanimously to approve the settlement agreement.

Commissioners broke out into laughter, applause and sighs, seemingly relieved to put the long-debated issue to rest.

“I had a big speech planned,” joked commissioner Brian Footer, 1B-01. “Put the speech away,” responded commissioner Dyana Forester, 1B-06, to more laughter.

The Shaw bar’s next step will be at an ABRA protest hearing on Sept. 9.

Image via Facebook.com/allsoulsbar

by Jared Holt July 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm 0

ANC 1B04

ANC 1B needs a new commissioner.

The position opened when former commissioner Mitchel Herckis resigned on June 11, ANC 1B-11 commissioner Robb Hudson said.

Last month, the ANC board published the position opening with the D.C. Board of Elections in hopes of finding a candidate.

“It would be unfortunate for 1B-04 to go unrepresented any longer,” said Hudson in an e-mail to Borderstan. “Those residents need a voice on the Commission that represents their needs and interests specifically.”

To qualify for the election, candidates must live in 1B04, a small area of city that includes slices of 12th to 15th streets NW, Florida Avenue NW, and W Street NW.

Potential candidates must also solicit signatures from local residents.

If no one applies for candidacy, the D.C. Board of Elections will continue to declare the vacancy until a candidate steps forward.

Locals can pick up nominating petitions at the D.C. Board of Elections office located at 441 4th Street NW.

Graphic created with image via Facebook.com/ANC1B

by Tim Regan June 29, 2015 at 12:10 pm 0

Photo via Google Street ViewColumbia Heights residents will have the chance tonight to weigh in on a proposal to build hundreds of new condos.

ANB 1B will hold a community meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Center, (1816 12th Street, NW) to discuss a proposal by Aria Development to build 160 to 170 condo units on four parcels of land between 1309 and 1315 Clifton Street NW.

“It’s imperative that residents directly impacted by the proposed development have the opportunity to meet and discuss general points in the proposal, their concerns, and what they want from the developer to benefit the community as a whole,” wrote ANC 1B Commissioner Mark Ranslem in an e-mail to Columbia Heights residents.

Commissioner Sedrick Muhammad from ANC 1B-03 and Commissioner Dyana Forrester from ANC 1B-06 will attend and participate in the meeting.

Photo of 1312 Clifton Street NW via Google Street View

by Borderstan.com April 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm 5 Comments

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

ANC 1B Also says no to 14 and U Streets moratorium. (David McAuley)

ANC 1B joins ANCs 6E and 2F in opposing the proposed moratorium for the 14th and U area. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B officially joined the ranks of the opposition to the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, April 4. The vote was 10-0. Commissioners Juan Lopez, 1B-07, and E. Gail Anderson Holness, 1B-11, were absent and did not vote. ANC 1B includes the U Street area.

ANC 1B is now the third ANC to vote against the moratorium. It joins ANC 6E, which voted in February, and ANC 2F, which unanimously condemned the moratorium in a strongly worded resolution the previous evening, April 3. The remaining ANC within the borders of the proposed moratorium, ANC 2B, plans to vote at its May 8 monthly meeting.

ANC 1B Commissioner Jeremy Leffler, 1B-02, placed the resolution to oppose the moratorium in front of the full ANC. Leffler is the chair of ANC 1B’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee. He told the commission that the text of the resolution was very similar to ANC 2F’s resolution of the previous evening.

The vote came about two-thirds of the way through a marathon four-hour meeting. It was attended by more than 60 members of the public, most of whom were especially interested in the outcome of the moratorium vote.

"moratorium"

SDCA’s proposed liquor license moratorium zone for 14th and U NW area.

Attempts to Delay Vote

The resolution weathered two attempts to delay the vote. This first was by Joan Sterling, President of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), during her presentation in support of the petition.

The SDCA has been the driving force behind the petition and the only group remaining with standing to officially present it to DC’s ABC Board at its May 22 hearing.

“I’m surprised we’re taking a vote today — there’s still time,” Sterling said.

The second attempt to delay the vote was by Commissioner Ricardo Reinoso, 1B-05. During the commission debate on the resolution, Reinoso proposed a motion to table the vote until the next ANC1B meeting in May. The motion died when there was no second from the commission.

Norman Questions SDCA’s Approach

After Sterling presented to the committee, Chair Tony Norman, 1B-10, questioned Sterling about the SDCA’s approach.

“Before you filed this, why didn’t you approach the commissioners?” Norman asked. “It would have been respectful to approach us before.”

Sterling said she was waiting for the petition to be accepted by the ABC Board.

“We don’t have to wait for acceptance from a board for neighbors to talk to each other,” Norman replied.

Local Opposition Cited

In a presentation about the March 20 townhall-style listening session on the moratorium, Commissioner Leffler noted that 135 people had signed in for the session. Of the listening-session speakers who identified themselves as 1B residents, he said 81 percent were opposed. In addition, Leffler said he had a petition signed by 87 1B residents against the moratorium. Finally, Leffler entered the online anti-moratorium petition from change.org into the record. This petition contained more than 1,200 signatures, Leffler said.

Presentation on Possible Zoning Law Changes

The vote on the moratorium was only a small part of ANC 1B’s marathon session. The evening started out with a presentation from the DC Office of Planning. This office is spearheading a major rewrite of DC zoning laws citywide. At the urging of ANC 1B Chair Norman, Deputy Director Joel Lawson’s presentation took only a fraction of the time that his boss, Director Harriet Tregoning, used to cover the same material at the previous evening’s ANC 2F meeting.

“This is the fastest I’ve ever given this presentation,” Lawson said.

Lawson noted two potential impacts of the zoning rewrite on the U Street area. The first was the creation of transit zones along the major thoroughfares of the district, including the Georgia Avenue, Florida Avenue, U Street and 14th Street corridors. New buildings in these zones would no longer be required to include parking spaces in their design and construction.

The second potential impact may be new rules facilitating the opening of corner stores in residential neighborhoods. Lawson mentioned the intersections of 13th and 11th Streets and Sherman Avenue with Harvard, Fairmont, Euclid and Clifton Streets as possible places that might benefit from this change in zoning rules.

Compass Rose Settlement Agreement Approved

Well into its third hour, ANC 1B heard presentations by aspiring liquor licensees in search of ANC endorsement. ANC 1B unanimously approved the settlement agreement for Compass Rose. This agreement was the subject of a lengthy discussion at the previous meeting of ANC1B’s ABC committee on April 2.

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by Borderstan.com March 22, 2013 at 7:00 am 2 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee met Thursday night at the Thurgood Mashall Center. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B (U Street) took the next step in rejecting the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, March 21. The ANC 1B’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee voted 10 to 3 to reject the proposed moratorium during its regular monthly meeting. Three members of the committee were absent.

Among those voting against the moratorium were both members of the committee who are also current ANC 1B commissioners: Chair Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Zahra Jilani (1B-12). Among those voting for the moratorium was committee member Joan Sterling of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium.

Some members who voted against the moratorium noted the influence of the overwhelming community response against the moratorium at the previous evening’s multi-ANC listening session, which was also held at the Thurgood Marshall Center.

“It served as a great tool for bringing the community together,” said Heather Ferris, an ABC Committee member. Ferris also said that she had expressed a neutral opinion at the microphone during the previous evening’s listening session, but she had decided to vote against the moratorium, even though she felt her vote was “not 100 percent”.

The outcome of the vote seemed in doubt up until the final show of hands, as a blog post made yesterday by ANC 1B ABC committee member Nick Baumann quoted Leffler as saying “there are even pro and anti voices on the [committee].”

Procedural Problems

The committee vote had some procedural problems. After the initial voice vote (and after a tweet had gone out announcing the vote results), ANC 1B Chair Tony Norman (1B-10), observing the event, noted that parliamentary procedure had not been followed during the vote, meaning, there had not been a motion, a second, and an opportunity to present amendments.

The committee had to return to the question and do the vote over. Before the second vote was taken, there was further debate and suggestions for amendments, including one saying that the committee rejected the moratorium “as written.” This amendment passed.

Aside from ANC Chair Norman, the following ANC 1B commissioners who are not officially part of the ABC Committee also observed the meeting: Marc Morgan (1B-01), Ricardo Reinoso (1B-05) and Emily Washington (1B-08).

The recommendation to reject the moratorium now goes to the full ANC for a vote. The vote is scheduled for its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.

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by Borderstan.com March 21, 2013 at 10:30 am 9 Comments

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"petition"

Compass Rose is coming to 1346 T Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Compass Rose, a global street food restaurant coming soon to 1346 T Street NW, launched an online petition to help with the process of obtaining a liquor license. As with several other restaurants and bars in the area, a few residents are protesting Compass Rose’s application. The owners include Rose Previte, David Greene and Pour House co-owner Mike Schuster.

“We need to show our local ANC [1B] that the voices of protest do not necessarily represent the community at large,” Previte says in the petition.

Previte explains that the restaurant is in the process of negotiating with the small group of protesters — she is trying to enter a voluntary agreement with the group to address all concerns about noise, crowds and parking.

“We have already made a number of concessions in the name of compromise, a better understanding of like businesses and a better understanding of the community’s concern with some of the things we applied for,” Previte said in an email.

“We originally asked to have music in our ‘summer garden,’ which is the backyard and on the patio. We have since agreed not to play any music outside. We’ve agreed to limitations on live entertainment inside. We have agreed to patio hours consistent with neighboring St. Ex. We have agreed to diligently monitor and control the noise coming from our establishment to ensure it does not affect our neighbors,” said Previte.

Previte explains that the purpose of the petition is to let  ANC 1B and community, in general, know that there are a number of supporters for Compass Rose and that the small group of protesters does not represent all the residents of ANC 1B.

The petition signatures will be presented to the full ANC at the meeting during the first week in April.

Compass Rose will feature global foods and drinks in the row house formerly occupied by Café Collage. This dishes will emphasize tastes and flavors that Previte and Greene experienced from several years of traveling.

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by Borderstan.com March 21, 2013 at 6:39 am 12 Comments

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

Lining up to testify at listening session. (David McAuley)

Neighbors line up to testify at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting on the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor. (David McAuley)

Sentiment ran almost 6 to 1 against the proposed 14th and U Streets liquor license moratorium at last night’s town hall style listening session.  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) 1B (U Street),  2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan all sent members to attend the meeting at the basketball court of the Thurgood Marshall Center on 12th Street NW to hear what the public had to say.

About 160 people attended the event, filling every chair, then sitting and standing against the walls. My final count was 47 people testifying against, 8 for and 3 neutral. Of the 47 people testifying against, only two identified themselves as not living in or near the moratorium district. On Twitter, other witnesses put the count at 48 against, 8 for; 46 against, 9 for; and 41 against, 7 for.

ANC chairs in attendance were Tony Norman (1B-10) and Matt Raymond (2F-07). All three commissions sent the chairs of their respective alcohol licensing affairs committees: John Fanning (2F-04), Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Kevin O’Connor (2B-02). At least 10 other commissioners from across the three ANCs attended as well.

There are currently five liquor license moratorium zones in DC: Georgetown, Glover Park, Adams Morgan, Dupont West (21st and P NW) and Dupont East (17th Street NW). The 17th Street liquor license moratorium is due to expire in September 2013.

Opening Statements

Leffler called the meeting to order at 7 pm and Commissioner Noah Smith (2B-09) explained the meeting guidelines. The original plan was for each speaker to have two minutes to address the listening commissioners, but due to the overwhelming response, the time was cut back to 90 seconds. As a result, the meeting finished at planned 9 pm time.

Before citizen testimony period, the attendees heard remarks by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Sgt. Iris Beistline of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium. SDCA membership is limited to residents living between 12th and 15th Streets and S and U Streets NW.

  • ABRA had found that SDCA satisfied the minimum requirement for filing the moratorium petition, Berman said. He also said that the other group who signed the petition, the Residential Action Coalition, had not qualified for standing before ABRA, and would no longer be considered a petitioner. However, the SDCA may continue the petitioning process before the ABC Board, which will next consider the matter on May 22.
  • In answer to audience questions, Berman said that the normal term for moratoriums was five years, but could be renewed. He then said that, once enacted, no liquor license moratorium had ever been dissolved.
  • Beistline said the MPD could not supply relevant crime statistics because there were none available. A new computer system was being put in place, she explained, and some statistics were still inaccurate.
  • Sterling then pleaded the SDCA’s case for the moratorium. She noted the difficulty in getting the DC government to enforce the law concerning the percentage of street frontage that can be given to liquor licensees on any block. (The Uptown Arts District Overlay limits the square footage of ground-floor storefronts serving food/drink on each block to 50% of all square footage facing the street on that block. The percentage was increased to 50% from 25% in 2010.)
  • Sterling also noted that there are now 16,000 combined seats in the establishments of the liquor licensees in the zone. She said that, since the zone had well over 18 liquor licensees, it met ABRA’s definition of an “overconcentration” of licensees. “Moratoriums are temporary,” Sterling added.

Testimony from Attendees

After Sterling’s statement, the floor was turned over to the public. “Let’s keep this civil,” Leffler reminded. People lined up in an orderly manner to speak. Nearly every person stated his or her name and address or ANC district. Here is a selection of comments:

  • “I oppose the moratorium. I vote and I’ll remember.”
  • “This process draws in thousands and thousands of man-hours. It’s a complete waste of resources. Six people made us come here. It’s time to reform the system.”
  •  “I have been awakened at all hours of the night by music I can literally sing along to.”
  • “I’m strongly opposed. I love the vibrancy. It’s just awesome.”
  • “The moratorium is too blunt an instrument.”
  • “There’s no actual evidence that the moratorium will lead to prosperity.”
  • “A lot of people are saying that there are other solutions. What? Will someone pick up my trash?”
  • “Why stall development in the neighborhood?”
  • “Remember the Georgetown moratorium. It didn’t fix the noise, the parking, the litter.”
  • “A moratorium is not right. Hold each bar and restaurant responsible.”
  • “It’s anti-small business, anti-competition. I’m inalterably opposed.”
  • “It’s good to see people getting involved.”
  • “It’s kind of a joke that we’re here tonight.”
  • “I like vibrancy.”
  • “My fear is stagnation in the community,” said a man identified on Twitter as the owner of DC9 nightclub. He went on to say that retail space should be encouraged, ways should be found for rents to be lower, there should be tax relief, and ABRA should be convinced to work on “bad apple” liquor licensees.
  • The only sign of incivility occurred toward the end when one man, a moratorium supporter, decided to take aim at the newly opened Matchox restaurant at 14th and T NW. He disparaged the restaurant and its food, much to the surprise of other attendees.

Next Steps

“That was fantastic,” Jeremy Leffler said after the final testimony. “I’m impressed by the turnout, passion and research.” To conclude the meeting, each ANC briefly outlined their next steps.

  • Leffler said that ANC1B’s liquor license affairs committee would meet tonight, March 21, at the Thurgood Marshall Center. A vote on the proposed moratorium is on the agenda. The committee’s recommendation would then be considered when ANC1B has its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.
  • Raymond said that ANC2F would have its regular monthly meeting on April 3 and a vote on the moratorium would be on the agenda.
  • O’Connor said that ANC2B would consider the issue on its May 8 meeting, before which he hoped to have one or two more listening sessions.
One after the other neighbors lined up. (David McAuley)

Attendees lined up to speak at Wednesday night’s town hall. (David McAuley)

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by Borderstan.com March 20, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

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

"moratorium"

The area of the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U area.

Reminder: The town hall format joint meeting of three local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) will take place tonight, March 20, at 7 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW).  ANC 1B‘s website says the purpose of the meeting is to get residents’ input on the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Street NW area. There will be no votes, motions or resolutions at the meeting.

“We want to be able to address any questions people may have about the process or about specific aspects of the moratorium,” said ANC 2B Commissioner Kevin O’Connor. O’Connor is the commissioner for district 02 and chair of the ANC 2B committee for liquor license issues.

This meeting has also been touted as a “listening session.”

What Will the Commissioners Listen For?

1. The effect of a moratorium on peace, order, quiet and sanitation.

Commissioner O’Connor said that members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had been invited to the meeting, and what they have to say will be important. In their original petition, advocates of the moratorium point to data, which they say indicates high levels of violent and non-violent crime in the proposed moratorium area.

But others, such as ANC 2F Commissioner John Fanning, contend that moratorium area crime rate “actually declined according to MPD Crime Statistics.” These views cannot both be right, so look for expert testimony on this matter. Fanning is the commissioner for district 04 and chair of the ANC 2F committee for liquor license issues.

2. The effect of the moratorium on residential parking needs and pedestrian safety.

Can the pro-moratorium forces link U Street’s dangerous intersections and parking shortages to the number of liquor licensees? Again, law enforcement’s opinion may be key.

3. Testimony from local business.

The voice of local business has largely been absent from the public discussions at ANC meetings. Commissioners have publicly speculated that current liquor license holders are quietly hoping the moratorium will pass, because a moratorium will both shield them from prospective competitors and increase the value of existing liquor licenses. Of special interest will be statements from small business owners who are also local residents.

4. The number of voices each side can muster.

An obvious and important factor: Partisans of both sides believe that their opponents exaggerate the number of people who support them. The anti-moratorium group characterizes the pro-moratorium side as a small group of NIMBY homeowners. How much pro-moratorium testimony will there be from local residents who are not connected to the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, the spearhead of the movement?

The anti-moratorium camp has a strong online presence but can’t seem to always muster a similar number of the live human beings to sit through the often-tedious government meetings where the decisions get made. The pro-moratorium side is not impressed with online anti-moratorium sentiment, petitions and comment.

The pro-moratorium side contends that at least some, perhaps many, of the participants in these activities are not actually local residents. If local residents come out in large numbers to speak against the moratorium, it will put a serious dent in that argument.

What Happens After The Meeting

It’s unclear what the post-listening session game plan is. Can the three participating ANCs speak with one voice?

“Going forward, I think we all agree that it benefits us all to try and take a similar action on the moratorium issue. We have the opportunity to make the greatest impact if we act together,” said O’Connor in an email.

During a recent ANC meeting, O’Connor also said he hoped that the town hall meeting would be the first of several, but there is evidence that the two other ANCs plan to move ahead quickly after this single meeting.

“I intend to offer a resolution for a vote on the moratorium at ANC 2F’s monthly meeting on April 3,” ANC2F Commission Chair Matt Raymond (district 07) said in an email. “It will not be in support of the moratorium. Whether it would be language outright opposing the moratorium or seeking changes to it is something I will decide after March 20.”

Meanwhile, the liquor license affairs subcommittee of ANC 1B will meet publicly the evening following the listening session, ANC 1B liquor license committee chair Jeremy Leffler (Commissioner for district 02) said in an email. A report that there will be an up-or-down vote about the moratorium at this meeting could not be confirmed. Any recommendation emerging from this meeting would then be considered by ANC 1B as a whole.

“It’s my understanding that the full ANC 1B will vote on the moratorium on April 4, the day after ANC 2F does so. I also understand that ANC 2B might not vote on the moratorium until its May meeting,” Raymond said.

“It’s my goal, and I think it’s achievable, that all three of the remaining ANCs that haven’t taken a formal position might be able to agree on identical resolutions, which we believe will carry greater weight with the ANC Board than divergent opinions.”

The fourth ANC, 6E in Shaw, has already voted against the moratorium and will not be participating in the town hall tonight.

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by Borderstan.com March 19, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

"moratorium"

The zone for the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U NW area.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 1B, 2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan are hosting a public town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 20 to discuss the proposed liquor moratorium for the 14th and U Streets NW area. The meeting of the three ANCs will take place at The Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) at 7 pm.

According to the organizing ANCs, “Though this is the only joint meeting being held on the proposal, ANCs may hold additional smaller meetings — decisions or actions will not be taken at this meeting. Organizers intend to give each participant one to two minutes to speak and request that members of the community direct their comments to the ANC Commissioners present.” (See Liquor License Moratorium Roadshow Visits ANC 2F.)

The Proposed Liquor Moratorium

The Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA) and the Residential Action Coalition (RAC) citizen groups have filed a petition with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to establish a liquor license moratorium zone for the 14th and U Street NW corridor. The two groups request that a circular zone be established that extends 1,800 feet from 1211 U Street NW.

So far, almost 1,000 residents have signed a petition against the moratorium. ANC 1B briefly discussed the proposed moratorium on February 7, but there was no official motion or vote on the meeting or any other aspect of the moratorium. 

The filing of the moratorium petition by SDCA and RAC came just days after Mayor Vincent Gray officially enacted major changes to laws and regulations pertaining to alcohol sales. Among the changes in the law is a provision that would dismiss any liquor license protest by a group of five or more residents if an applicant reaches an agreement with their ANC.

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by Borderstan.com March 18, 2013 at 8:59 am 7 Comments

"Fainting Goat"

Future site of the Fainting Goat at 1330 U Street NW. It was home to Urban Essentials before the store moved to 14th and Rhode Island NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

ABRA permit. (Luis Gomez Photos)

ABRA Liquor License application. (Luis Gomez Photos)

“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.

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by Borderstan.com March 8, 2013 at 8:00 am 16 Comments

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

The District Pub Group, LLC, aspiring proprietors of the Fainting Goat Tavern at 1330 U Street NW, got caught in the cross fire at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B meeting last night, March 7. Most of the U Street corridor is in 1B. The tavern site is the former Urban Essentials space, which is now on 14th Street NW.

"ANC 1B"

Seated at table: ANC 1B commissioners at the March 7 meeting at the Reeves Center. (David McAuley)

After a session of conflicting recollections of past committee meetings and votes, ANC 1B voted against accepting the settlement agreement that would have kept the tavern license for the Fainting Goat on track (they were formerly called voluntary agreements). Attorney Michael Fonseca, representing the Fainting Goat, told the meeting that his client had been “kicked to the curb” and “treated very badly.”

Missing Piece of the Puzzle

The vote against accepting the settlement agreement was five to two, with two abstentions. Voting against were Commissioners E. Gail Anderson Holness, ANC 1B-11; Juan Lopez, ANC 1B-07; Marc Morgan, ANC 1B-01; Ricardo Reinoso, ANC 1B-05; and James Turner, ANC 1B-09.

Voting for the agreement were Commissioners Zahira Jilani, ANC 1B-12; and Emily Washington, ANC 1B-08. Abstaining were ANC1B Chair Tony Norman (District 10) and Commissioner Sedrick Muhammed, ANC 1B-3.

The missing piece of the puzzle was absent Commissioner Jeremy Leffler, ANC 1B-02, chair of the ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee. Jilani, speaking on Leffler’s behalf, claimed that the ABC Committee had voted at its February 21 public meeting to recommend accepting the agreement, at least in part.

Pushback from SDCA

Members of the community who were present at the February ABC Committee meeting, led by members of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), pushed back, saying that they had been present and no such vote had been taken publicly.

Jilani admitted that she had not been at the meeting and was only repeating what Leffler had told her. Two other members of the public, seemingly unaffiliated with the SDCA, agreed that they had been present at the meeting and no vote had been taken. No one present recalled a vote being taken, although Jilani cited meeting minutes which claim that the motion to accept the agreement with the Fainting Goat had passed.

SDCA has recently been in the public spotlight as the driving force behind the proposed 14th and U Street liquor license moratorium. Even before last night’s ANC meeting, the SDCA had planned to protest Fainting Goat liquor license application, with a view of obtaining a settlement agreement more to their liking.

In spite of this, Fainting Goat management and their attorney had an amiable February 21 public meeting with SDCA, where the two parties agreed to disagree. At that time, SDCA alcohol licensing committee chair Elwyn Ferris even praised Fonseca’s work cooperating with the committee.

In the end, the Fainting Goat got caught in a feud not of their making, fueled by a combination of citizen mistrust and sloppy government. Leffler was absent, and the ANC1B commissioners present had not been adequately briefed. SDCA members told ANC 1B that the public still had until March 11 to file protests with the DC government about the application, so an ANC vote now would be premature. Holness Anderson said that she could not vote to approve the agreement because it must “go to the community first.”

Settlement Agreements

Settlement agreements are normally negotiated between liquor-serving establishments and interested members of the community. They cover topics such as hours of operation, time of trash pickup, sidewalk cafés, valet parking, vermin control, among others. You can download a model settlement agreement. They were called voluntary agreements, or V.A.s prior to the passage of new alcoholic regulation legislation by the DC Council and mayor, which went into effect in January.

There are signs that ANC 1B may try to improve its communication with public. At the meeting’s end, it was announced that ANC1B had just rolled out a new website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. The general email address for ANC 1B is 1b[AT]anc.dc.gov. It was pledged that meeting announcements and other relevant information would be posted in these places in the future.

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,381 0

"politics and government"

Five of the 10 most popular 2012 Politics and Government stories were related to local ANC races. (Collage by Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s that time again… a look back before we start 2013. Like last December, we will provide you with a list of the most-read stories on Borderstan by category. Today are the Top 10 from the Politics and Governmenet section.

The web is forever, so they say. Posted stories continue to get hits a long time after originally going up on the site. As a result, some of the most-read stories for the year were sometimes published the year before — especially if they were published late the year before (although that was not the case with following stories, all from 2012).

Top 10 Politics and Government Stories of 2012

These Politics and Government stories were Top 10 most read last year on Borderstan.com. Five of them were related to local ANC candidaes/races in Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 1B, 2B and 2F. section.

  1. Meet Walt Cain: Candidate for ANC 2F-02 (Rachel Nania)
  2. Where to Follow the Election Online Today (Borderstan)
  3. Mayor Gray Dines at Hank’s Oyster Bar, Shows Support for Restaurant (Tom Hay)
  4. Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races (Rachel Nania)
  5. Have Our National Monuments Become Too “Disneyfied?” (Maggie Barron)
  6. Streetscape Project: U Street Rehabilitation To Begin June 11 (Tom Hay)
  7. Contested ANC Races: Compare the Candidates’ Positions (Borderstan)
  8. Borderstan ANC Races: Six Contested Races in 2B, 2F and 1B (Tom Hay)
  9. Meet Zahra Jilani: Candidate for ANC 1B-12 (Rachel Nania)
  10. Poll Closes Sunday: Should Just 5 People Be Allowed to Protest a Liquor License? (Rachel Nania)

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by Borderstan.com November 7, 2012 at 9:15 am 2,120 3 Comments

"ANC"

Waiting for the provisional and absentee ballot count: Four winners, two races questionable in local ANC races. (Collage Luis Gomez Photos)

All 143 DC Precincts have reported in, but provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted. Even with some votes still to be counted by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, there seem to be four clear winners — and two races that could depend on the uncounted votes — in local contested races for Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) seats in 1B, 2B and 2F.

According to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE), provisional and absentee ballots must be counted no later than 10 days after an election. As of early Wednesday morning, DCBOEE was unable to say how many such ballots are outstanding in DC.

Tuesday Morning ANC Race Results

  • U Street: In the four-way 1B-12 race, Zahara Jilanni has 263 votes with her nearest competitor, John Green, holding 245 votes, an 18 vote difference. Erling Bailey and Dan Wittels finished further back. The question in this race comes down to those outstanding votes.
  • Dupont: In the 2B-03 race, Stephanie Maltz holds a commanding lead over Bevan Mace, 404 to 102; Maltz has 78% of the vote.
  • Dupont: In 2B-04, Kishan Putta has 62% with 497 votes. Stephanie Sheridan is in second place with 208 votes and Martin Espinoza has 87 votes.
  • Logan: In 2F-02, Walt Cain holds a 51 vote lead over Adam Stempel, 292 to 241.
  • Logan: In 2F-04, John Fanning has a 14 vote lead over Joel Heisey, 299 to 285. Again, could provisional and absentee ballots change the result?
  • Logan: In 2F-08, Matt Connolly holds what is probably a comfortable 47 vote lead over Howard Marks, 235 to 188.

ANC 1B-12

  • Erling Bailey: 127
  • John Green: 245
  • Zahra Jilani: 263
  • Dan Wittels: 85
  • Write-In: 9

ANC 2B-03

  • Bevan Mace: 102
  • Stephanie Maltz: 404
  • Write-In: 147

ANC 2B-04

  • Martin Espinoza: 87
  • Kishan Putta: 497
  • Stephanie Sheridan: 208
  • Write-In: 7

ANC 2F-02

  • James Baker: 75
  • Walt Cain: 292
  • Adam Stempel: 241
  • Write-In: 6

ANC 2F-04

  • John Fanning: 299
  • Joel Heisey: 285
  • Write-In: 12

ANC 2F-08

  • Matt Connolly: 235
  • Howard Marks: 188
  • Write-In: 6

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