May 6 2004

 

Commissioner Guyot described the reappearance of Smarta/Broadway for a Temporary Stipulated license for a new nightclub (CN) located at 1919 9th Street.At our last meeting we approved a full license for the applicant, but they are currently applying for a temporary stipulated license, and ABRA asked that we vote specifically on the stipulated license.Commissioner Guyot moved support for the temporary stipulated license.A constituent asked who the applicant was, and Commissioner Guyot indicated that Mr. Smart was present.Mr. Smart was asked about parking for the club, and he stated that he had parking behind the building.Mr. Smart was asked if the parking was sufficient for the capacity of the club, and Mr. Smart indicated that the provided parking met ABRA standards.Commissioner Spalding indicated that he had received letters from the Westminster Neighborhood Association, and from Craig MacIvor with concerns about the new club.Commissioner Spalding made copies of the letters available to each of the Commissioners, and asked the applicant to meet with both the Westminster Neighborhood Association and the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association to address their concerns.Commissioner Spalding requested that the applicant check to determine if their club would be within four hundred feet of a school, notably Maya Angelou Charter School and Cleveland Elementary, and if so to meet with the administrations of the schools and address any concerns that they may have with a new nightclub.Commissioner Guyot stated that he agreed that the applicant should meet with WNA and CSNA, but that he had a serious problem of imposing a new condition on an applicant that was here at our last meeting, and on whose application weíve already voted in favor.Chairperson Thomas asked if the proximity to the schools was not a legitimate concern, and Commissioner Guyot responded that Chris Shaheen was in charge of changing the zoning on this block.Commissioner Guyot stated that Shaw Main Streets had met with Mr. Shaheen and objected to any zoning changes that would affect the businesses already operating on the block.This is another attempt to go around the existing businesses like the Georgia Avenue zoning changes.Warren Flint has proposed a faÁade program for the block, but I told him that he had to go and explain it to the businesses.So, my concern is that if we apply the school situation without ABRA applying it, letís just close down everything on Main Street.If ABRA forces them to do it thatís one thing, but we should not be in that position.Chairperson Thomas asked if Commissioner Spaldingís requests were a friendly amendment, and Commissioner Spalding replied that though we voted on this issue at our last meeting the discussion very short, it was curtailed too quickly, and was not explored as thoroughly as it should have been explored.I think itís preferable that the applicant check with the schools now rather than later.Commissioner Spalding said that the suggestions need not be accepted as a friendly amendment.Commissioner Guyot stated that he has had thorough discussions with applicant and forcibly required that they comply with all ABRA laws.Commissioner Skinner stated that it is important that the applicant reach out to address the community members concerns.We have to be careful about the stress on black owned businesses, and if you think there are any subtle racist attempts to make you do thinks that arenít right I extend my phone number to you.Issues regarding policing, inadequate parking somehow become the responsibility of a business owner.These buildings have been here before your business, and youíre not responsible for the design of the city.I think weíve had a constant real subtle attempt at trying to intimidate immigrant and black owned businesses.Weíll do a lot more than talk about it if thatís true.I hope itís a lot of ignorance not racism, and if those people are ignorant than we should teach them.If thereís anything out of the ordinary thatís tied to skin tone please let me know.Chairperson Thomas responded that those may be Commissioner Skinnerís opinions, but she felt that one because it insinuates something about her own character.Commissioner Guyot stated that this applicant has been commendable, everything that Iíve asked him to do heís done.Previous question was called by Commissioner Guyot, and it was approved on a vote of (6-1-0).

 

 

August 5 2004

 

Commissioner Spalding introduced the reconsideration of Tena Cafťís application for a CR license located at 1119 V Street.This has been before us twice before and at our June meeting we voted to support the license, and at our July meeting we voted to reconsider and additionally to take it up at our August meeting with an invitation to the owners.Just prior to this meeting ABRA held the initial hearing on this application, and there were seven protesters of which four were allowed standing, and the other three were given time to establish credentials for standing.Mr. Pappas and the applicants are present.Maurice Evans stated that he is representing the applicant, and agreed that Commissioner Spaldingís review was correct with the exception that the applicant was awarded a stipulated license by the ABRA Board.Due to the allowed protesters the stipulated license has been suspended.The ABRA Board has given time for the applicant to meet with protesters prior to the next meeting on Wednesday, August 11th.Mr. Evans stated that he is still attempting to identify all of the protestants, and also attempting to work with the multiple scheduling difficulties presented.The notification from the Board stated that the protest involves an adverse effect on peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood, and that there is an adverse affect on residential parking, pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the neighborhood, and finally an adverse affect on real property values in the neighborhood.I am familiar with the neighborhood through my service as an investigator with the ABCC.This is a very simple restaurant that seats approximately fifteen people.The average age of the patrons of the restaurant is forty-five years old.There is a little Bose stereo system that puts out a little classical music, and it also puts out a little tiny amount into the summer garden area in the rear.I just canít see how this little bitty restaurant is disruptive to a neighborhood.I ask that the ANC support the reinstatement of the stipulated license, and ask that the protestors meet with me as soon as possible.Commissioner Wright asked if any of the protestors of the restaurant were present, and nineteen members of the audience raised their hands.Commissioner Guyot asked to move three things, and stated that I am the man who made the motion to reconsider.I am the person who got a commitment at our last meeting that he would close the yard.This Commission has a chance to do justice and it should do so.Chairperson Thomas asked if it had not been agreed that the single member district Commissioner offer the motion.Commissioner Guyot stated that weíve all heard Mr. Spalding, and Mr. Spalding led the demonstration in protest and he has a right to do that.I think to balance this relationship I should have some rights.Chairperson Thomas stated that nobody was denying Commissioner Guyotís rights, but I would still like to hear from the SMD Commissioner, out of respect if nothing else.Commissioner Spalding indicated that he was under the impression that it was Commissioner Wright who brought the motion for reconsideration at the July meeting, and Commissioner Wright agreed.Commissioner Guyot stated that he did not, I offered it, check the minutes, and I offered the motion to reconsider.I know what I did you check the minutes.Commissioner Spalding stated that he has been to visit the site, he has met with the residential neighbors.I have looked at what the composition of the immediate neighborhood is, and what is proposed for the immediate neighborhood.This section of V St. is now a residential street despite the underlying zoning of Arts Overlay which does provide the opportunity to put in a restaurant.Unfortunately for this applicant heís applying to put a commercial use into a solidly residential neighborhood.I have talked to both the names on the multiple protest petitions and other residential neighbors, and I have not found anyone who supports this application as it has been submitted.Half of the residents do not approve of a restaurant in this location, nothing to do with the applicant, but they do not support a restaurant in this residential context.The other half of the residents would support a restaurant in this location, but only under the terms of a very restrictive (hours, noise, parking) voluntary agreement.There will probably be six and possibly seven protesters to this license, and I think it is in the best interest of this ANC to participate in the process as one of the protesters rather than watch the seven protesting groups attempt the negotiations.My motion is that ANC1B protest Tena Cafťís application for a CR license as well as the stipulated license.Chairperson Thomas indicated that on page eight of the July minutes Commissioner Wright is identified as offering the motion to reconsider.Commissioner Guyot stated that the minutes are wrong, and I made the motion and I stand on that.Motion was seconded by Commissioner Esters.Commissioner Guyot stated that this is a site that does not serve twenty-five people, this is a site that this Commission voted to support, and this is a site that did everything that we asked him to do.We said please close the yard and he did not hesitate, he said yes.This is a site that has had no violations by ABRA.Our function is not to become an appendage of the police department.Our function is to deal with applicants pure and simple and not as a group of based on any of their characteristics.Hereís an applicant whoís obeyed the law.I move that we support the stipulated license, and then I will move that we oppose as a Commission any and all attacks on this license.Commissioner Skinner asked the applicant how many people the restaurant serves, and applicant responded fifteen.Commissioner Skinner asked how long they have been in business, and applicant responded six months.With all due respect I think as a Commission we uphold laws.Somebody might not like somebody, somebody might like somebody else, but I think based on what weíre charged to do is to evaluate this guy based on the law not based how people feel about it.Some people might want to open up a gay club next to me, and I might not like gay folks, but you know what theyíve got the right to be there.Somebody might open up a black club, and you might not like black folks, but thatís no reasonÖ Peopleís issues related to gender, race, sexual orientation, if a personís an immigrant or not, we shouldnít be using that to decide.I think weíve seen a lot more things thrown in here than just is this person going to run a reputable and a law abiding establishment.Thank God itís America. Chairperson Thomas asked if there could be representative spokespeople for the protesters present and three were identified.Sean Steffy, 1223 V St., stated that his neighbors are here and represent different races, different orientations, different genders, different occupations, but weíre all coming together before our ANC and we want you to listen to our concerns.Weíre very concerned about a liquor licensed restaurant on our residential street being open till 2AM on weeknights and 3AM on weekends.Weíre very concerned about the potential trash problem and how that will be met.Weíre very concerned about the outside patio in the back which abuts both V and 12th Streets.We have had an opportunity to meet with the owner, and he is genuinely a nice person and I have no doubt he can run a good business, and I would love to have him as my neighbor, and I would love to go to his restaurant if it were on U Street or 14th Street, but V Street is a residential street.It is a small one way street where we all live, and where we all get our rest at night, and even though this is a small establishment weíre all concerned with how this is going to affect the character of V Street.We also moved to this area to enjoy the diversity that is represented by this neighborhood.We have gone out of our way to patronize the Benís or Cravings instead of Quisnos.We avoid Starbucks and go over to Sparkyís Cafť.We willingly patronize the businesses located on U and 14th Streets, but weíre concerned with this restaurant thatís located in an area that is becoming more residential.Stewart Bunn stated that this application has generated an overwhelming outcry from local residents, and they are speaking out against having this license in a residential area.This has nothing to do with race or gay issues; itís simply a protest against having a liquor licensed establishment in such a dense residential district.The new neighbors are attracted to this community by the proximity of commercial choices on the commercial corridors.Issuance of a liquor license changes the perception of the restaurant and its history, which has been without a liquor license.I ask my Commissioner Ms. Thomas to oppose this application, and Commissioner Spalding in whose district the restaurant is located to oppose this application, and I ask the other Commissioners to honor and respect the Commissioners who represent this neighborhood and vote in opposition to this license request.Joyce Day, 2107 12th St., and my property abuts their property in the back yards.I would concur that this owner has been more considerate than previous owners, but I still have to get up in the morning, and there is a noise problem due to the courtyard in the back.Thereís just five feet between my bedroom window and the courtyard behind their restaurant, and music has been piped out there.The requested 2AM and 3AM closing times are what have many of us very concerned.We have to get up in the morning and go to work.Another concern is their trash disposal.The current method of trash disposal is a lady who comes around and she takes the trash can from out back, and she hauls it down by my house.She goes around the block to 11th and W and she proceeds to dump the trash in the public receptacles.If thereís not enough room at this location she takes it further down the block.I have followed her and talked with her and asked if the applicant knows what sheís doing with the trash, and she responds that yes they know, but Iím just helping them out.There has never been a trash removal contract for this business, and the present situation is just not acceptable.Chairperson Thomas indicated that there was a motion on the table to oppose the application.Commissioner Guyot stated that it failed for not having a second.Chairperson Thomas stated that it had received a second, and Commissioner Guyot moved that we defeat it.Motion to oppose was called and failed on a vote of (2-4-3).Commissioner Guyot moved that we support the provisional license, the stipulated license, after which I will offer a motion that we vote to oppose the opposition to the license.A community member asked if there could be a stipulated license in the context of the four to seven protesters to the application, Commissioner Guyot responded that yes there can be a stipulated license, but it can only be determined by the ABRA Board, and what they will look at is how conciliatory and whether or not thereís mutual reconciliation between the two groups.Motion to support the stipulated license for Tena Cafť passed on a vote of (6-1-2).Commissioner Guyot moved that ANC1B vote to officially oppose any and all challenges to this applicant, and it was seconded.Commissioner Spalding stated that this was an official opposition to his constituents airing their voice in front of ABRA, and I just donít think that such a motion is called for or shows any consideration for my constituents.You can vote for this motion, but my constituents should be allowed to go to ABRA and make their voices heard.This is certainly a controversial application for a licensed establishment in a residential zone, and I can understand other Commissioners deciding to listen to their own voices rather than the neighbors gathered here, but why should the Commission vote to oppose my constituents?Commissioner Guyot stated that the ABRA Board has never in its history given a single member district power as it relates to how it analyzes an application, the only power resides with the Commission.This Commission will not interfere with the present protestants, and this application is represented by a man who is experienced many years in ABRA.He has committed himself to negotiations, and all my motion says is that weíre not voting against anyone, weíre voting for a principle that says we as a Commission feel that this gentleman who has obeyed all the laws should not be challenged.Commissioner Skinner stated that he talks about how people are treated differently on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and all the rest we often have someone like the Congressional Club who come in here who have a bunch of Congress people willing to say anything, they could have all kinds of things but nobody follows them to the trash can.I donít know how they dispose of their trash because no one has taken the time to find out and thatís fine.Itís the prerogative of anybody to investigate anybodyís trash, and if anybodyís breaking that law they should be penalized.As a neighbor whoís trying to provide an opportunity for his family he shouldnít encroach on anybody else, just as much as you working late at night and driving home late shouldnít be disturbing your neighbors within reason.But it just seems like all the words like character of V Street, and I know what euphemisms are and Iíve seen them used a lot of places, when people start talking about those intangible keeping the characteristics.OK, so my point is looking at the real substance of the issue is the trash disposal, 2AM, and the noise, and those seem like reasonable issues that can be agreed upon without prohibiting this person whoís already operating a restaurant to also be able to serve some beer and wine.It just seems like when you say you oppose this personís liquor license and oppose his restaurant youíre going beyond just saying that I want a good neighbor, youíre saying that I should be able to dictate what this person does with his livelihood.As long as they are abiding by the law, and being a good neighbor which means not having some old lady dumping trash illegally, they should be corrected and get an opportunity to work.And if youíve got a noisy neighbor, that neighbor should be addressed whether itís a restaurant or just some with some loud funkstead.This all or nothing thing is not the direction that weíve spent a lot of time on U Street building this harmony thatís not like Adams Morgan and being like a community doing all kinds of ungodly things in our neighborhood, and Iím just saying weíve got to be able to manage all of this without trying to exclude people.Chairperson Thomas stated that people have the right, I donít care where you live or where you come from, and people have the right to voice their opinion.They have a right to feel the way the way they do.I donít feel that we should hinder anyone from the chance to speak their minds or express their opinions.In that note I will be opposing your last motion in opposing their protest.We now have a motion to support the stipulated license, and I think the ABRA Board should take it from there.We have an obligation to our constituents to take a stand in favor or against, but letís make those votes and move forward.Iím not willing to sit here for another hour listening to personal opinions.Commissioner Guyot said that he would be the last person on earth to deny their right to protest, and Iíve supported their right to protest.This motion simply says that we as a Commission are doing whatís responsible in saying that we oppose the protest.ABRA always asks whatís the position of the ANC, and Iím respectfully submitting, without interfering with anyoneís right to protest, but I support my motion.Motion for the Commission to oppose all attacks on this license was seconded and adopted on a vote of (5-3-1).

 

 

 

 

April 1 2004

 

Commissioner Spalding initiated a review of the current status of ďBetween FriendsĒ nightclub.Following the murder this past month at the club ABRA held a hearing to discuss the license. Commissioner Spalding indicated that he did not know if the ruling had been finalized, however, the result appears to be to allow the club to reopen with a long list of restrictions regarding security, types of music, and leasing to other people.Commissioner Guyot stated that the decision is clear and final and included in a copy of a March 25 letter from ABRA that he had distributed.Commissioner Guyot stated that the incident occurred at an even called ĎDance for Peaceí that the owners had put on to deal with the pressures of violence amongst our young people.There were fifteen or twenty people on security that night.The ABC Board to its credit listened to extensive testimony lasting an entire day, and then there was a 4-1 vote to reopen the establishment on April 10th along with the conditions.A community member stated that this past Saturday night was the first quiet Saturday night in some time due to the temporary closure of the club.Commissioner Guyot responded that how can the residents know which club is responsible when there are so many licenses in the same area.I understand that there will be constant attack on all black owned liquor licenses on U Street; I understand that and I accept it.Thank God for the ABRA Board, there was one policeman in my life who received public acclamation by people standing and clapping was Officer Gunther.My concern in this is that we have what we have and thank God for ABRA; they have been fair in enforcing the liquor licenses.Itís interesting that the reason for the delay to April 10th is that the police asked that the club be closed.Commissioner Glover asked about the restriction on the type of music played, and Commissioner Guyot stated that he was part of that deal that the club was afraid that if they contested the hearing and lose, and I think they would have, or should they go with the regulations that stated no go-go music.This was not a popular position but it was part of the agreement that will run with the liquor license.This position will be challenged by others, but in this case it was the decision that the club thought it had to take.Commissioner Skinner stated that he is outraged by the terms requiring that a club cannot play a certain genre of music.Itís really like what happened to jazz, and its like we take things out of context, when jazz was popular it wasnít the same love as today, it was one of those underground things.It seems that something that is such a part of DC, and I note the Councilmemberís reference to a culture of violence, this has to be either racism or ignorance.I think for somebody to somehow think that weíre naÔve enough to think that playing go-go makes people kill folks, this is a false conclusion.This gives us a false sense of security, that if we donít have go-go in the room that people wonít get stabbed.This is an unfair attack on black people whoíre the ones who play the go-go music.If I went to Idaho and they were playing hillbilly or country western music and somebody gets in a fight or shoots somebody Iím not going to say that itís the country western music that made him shoot him.If weíre going to be serious about enhancing the quality of life, and securing the safety of our young people then we canít allow hysteria, racism, or ignorance to be our guide and say things like a club canít have live or recorded go-go music.Commissioner Jim Graham led this fight; he attempted to recruit Phil Spalding and the president of the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association to intervene in this case, despite the fact that this was a hearing that was simply dealing with the question of removing the license or restoring the license.Now the concern for me is that at the same time that Jim Graham would move to intervene, which was denied thank God by the Board, he was also negotiating with Ms. Walker and her attorney.So here we had a situation where there was an attempt to nullify negotiations.So letís be clear, I wish to God that we could look at these on the merits, do them case by case, but if we donít do that than weíll just do it illegally.Commissioner Glover asked if anyone had any information that would lead to the proposition that go-go music leads to violence.A constituent who lives on 12th Street near the club stated that he was offended at being branded racist because he was concerned about the noise and the quality of life in his own neighborhood.I donít care what kind of music anyone wants to play, just please keep it in the building.Iím asking that at three oíclock every morning people wouldnít pee in my windows.The police are not responding to the issues that are hurting the quality of life for residents, the clubs are not the problem itís the behavior of those who attend and leave the clubs.I like to sleep, I work and need my sleep, and we should not be held hostages in our neighborhoods.Community member Lou Nayman agreed with Commissioner Skinner that banning go-go music was foolishness.The neighbors problems is with the owners who fail to operate respectful premises.Mr. Nayman asked that the Commission exercise a certain amount of discipline in regard to inflammatory and racist comments.To throw such loaded and divisive rhetoric in the context of a Commission like this only inflames the angers.Iíd ask that the Commission enforce a certain amount of decorum on its members so that we donít have loose and inflammatory charges thrown around. Chairperson Thomas responded that she whished that she had some control over what comes out of some peopleís mouths, and that she would like all of the participants to treat each other with respect, but that appears to be asking for something thatís not realistic.I can only speak for myself; I canít control what others choose to say.Commissioner Guyot stated that he agreed with the community member about the quality of life issues, however, it is that the absence of police services simply adds to the racial polarization.Letís look at that club, the police didnít respond, but they were willing and able to testify to close it down.If we deal with the question of police security of neighborhoods, then I think weíll go a long way towards calming the racial polarization that I see rising.Iím a public official and Iíve been recognized by this city as a recipient of the ďLiving the DreamĒ of Martin Luther King award, Iím an integrationist by practice, by promulgation, and by belief, but I believe that I have a responsibility to call it like I see it.Iím glad you said what you said about quality of life issues, but what we must understand is that when we donít have police services we look for other victims.We have come close to criminalizing liquor licenses and it frightens me.Would anyone close that restaurant over there if someone was killed there if they didnít have a liquor license?Dealing with the question of racism is not easy, but weíve never really done that.Commissioner Skinner stated that if youíre a racist, then everything I stated about racists applies to you, and if youíre ignorant youíre ignorant, if youíre none of the two then youíre none of the two.If youíre offended and you talk about racist to me Iím not offended because Iím not a racist.I think I know what racism is.If you go into some of these areas where there are homosexuals, and there are people who donít like gay people, and who beat gay folks up.And if a gay person said to me that that was a homophobic remark, and Iím going to give him the benefit that he might have a sensibility to that issue, and at least not be so bold as to tell a homosexual what homophobia is.This is a difficult issue to deal with, and I know that this neighborhood has got racists in it, so Iím not crazy.We should decide to deal with this in a real way, but to go on and look at these issues and blame clubs for poor policing is not right.For people who have been living here for decades have been crying for better policing and now that weíve got more affluent people moving in weíre seeing changes.Now I could say that its demographic changes and I think it is, but the same comments were made ten years ago when the neighborhood was all black these concerns were just as important, and now the response time is a half an hour instead of an hour, and it still isnít good enough.When I look around this room I look like a person who could get shot tonight.So, if anyone should be concerned with getting shot, and itís not attributable to the clubs and the go-go, itís me.My roommate was killed in January and he looked like me.He was a victim and heís gone.So I donít think that this is somehow trying to play the race card, but its saying letís not allow false solutions to put a band aid over something, because another young brother could get killed tomorrow.Now if they start killing older white males it might become a crisis and theyíll have the National Guard out, but as long as it looks like Jo Jo or Ray Ray then itís just a part of how it is.I want a future and I want a future for anyone who looks like me.We have an issue thatís related to race in this city, and where thereís a majority of whites thereís lower crime, better police response.Look in Adams Morgan thereís nightlife there, but thereís a cop everywhere and itís diverse.But if you look at where there are black clubs, you get police after thereís gunshot, asking them to lay down.Now you got all the cops in the world, you go to Georgetown you canít help but be told to move by a cop.But if Iím on U Street itís not till I get shot that I get told to move back.We need a class to really speak honestly about how this is.Itís just like if I move into Dupont Circle or someplace where thereís a predominance of homosexuals, I might not notice a thing.I might move in and miss the homosexuals, and not understand something.And they might correct me, and Iíd not be offended and Ďmy badí I didnít know this was XYZ, and Iím going to be respectful.But the tendency on this side is that we donít get the same respect.All Iím trying to say is that love the fact that weíve got a lot of rich white folks moving into this neighborhood, and I love the fact that weíve got a lot of wealthy black folks moving into this neighborhood, but I just want us to be able to work together based on reality not stereotyping on solving this problem.We all have something to add to the solution, but we all have to avoid using our stereotypes, and we all have to be good listeners.But if we allow politics or racial and social economic drivers that have nothing to do with the problems to motivate us weíll never solve the problem, weíll just push the problems further out and let PG County deal with the problems.I just hope we can all keep an open mind on these problems.A community member asked if this was not a noise issue, and Chairperson Thomas responded that in her residential neighborhood that is near some clubs it is a noise issue.Commissioner Skinner agreed that there is an issue of noise in the residential neighborhoods when the clubs let out, but how can we revitalize the entertainment and maintain the needs of the residents.It shouldnít be an issue about what kind of music is played in the clubs, but we should care about the businesses.If the businesses canít make money and they have to go out of business, then that might not be good either.New people coming in with new ideas are a good thing, but we need to have a dialogue that allows us to be open to things.What we need to avoid is saying shut things down, which might not be the answer.Scott Pomeroy added that the 14th and U Main Streets Initiative has been working with community members and the Responsible Hospitality Institute to address the quality of life issues embodied in tonightís debate.There are always going to be issues when entertainment districts are so closely bounded by residential districts, but there are other cities dealing with similar problems, and solutions that we can adapt to our own neighborhoods.Commissioner Guyot stated that Capt. Groomes came to our ANC meeting and said Ďlook we donít do it this way in Georgetown, we donít have police dealing with traffic control in Georgetown, and we have traffic people dealing with traffic.íAnd when I repeated this to the ABC Board, they said I must be mistaken, and I responded that I was quoting Capt. Groomes.Now why canít we understand the difference of what comes out of the Police Department.Capt. Groomes in testifying before the ABC Board on the Between Friends case said Ďwe have problems with that Coach and IVí.This was not on the agenda.Officer Rember said ĎIíve worked this area for seventeen years, and Coach and IV has cleaned up its act substantiallyí, and the Chair of the ABC Board said Ďthatís correct.íSo please, when we try to move down this path letís understand that thereís some truths that reside inside the Police Department that are not constant.If a police officer of that rank can say in our ANC meeting, we donít do it like that in Georgetown, but if you do it here itís a problem.And itís a problem with those bad dastardly people who own those liquor licenses, and I canít intellectually accept that

 

November 6, 2003

 

Class B renewal for Sonyaís Market at 2833 11th Street was opposed by Commissioner Skinner.Applicant was not present, and Commissioner Skinner indicated that there was little or no interaction between the applicant and community leaders or associations.The problems are the same as those with other liquor licenses in his single member district, and the difficulties stem from the owners lack of respect for the communities in which they are doing business.Opposition was moved by Commissioner Skinner, and it was seconded and adopted unanimously (7-0-0).

 

 

Class B renewal for Shop Express at 2400 14th Street was introduced by Commissioner Butler who indicated that the owners of the business were in attendance, as well as opposition by local residents and also opposition from the South Columbia Heights Association.Erica Lindquist as a resident of 1417 Chapin Street indicated that twenty-five local residents had drafted and signed a comment letter that detailed their concerns with Shop Express.Their concerns are drinking and loitering outside the business, public safety as exemplified by the shooting recently, trash and health concerns associated with the trash, public urination, and nighttime noise.They also proposed possible changes that could help the business, and those were listed on the handout provided.Ms. Lindquist also indicated that the residents did appreciate the store and its location; however, unless their concerns were addressed they would stand in opposition to renewing the liquor license.A representative of the South Columbia Heights Association also spoke in opposition to the renewal, and also indicated that they were not interested in closing the store, but rather in reaching a voluntary agreement with the store owners to address the same issues that had been brought up in Ms. Lindquistís testimony.She also indicated remedial steps that they were recommending, and those suggestions were printed on a handout distributed to the Commissioners.Commissioner Thomas asked the Shop Express owners whether they had reviewed the handouts, and they responded that they had just seen the complaints earlier in the meeting.The owners indicated that they have been operating for the past six years at this location, and that they had made a significant investment in the store in a location that could only be called a hazardous business location. The business is located in a small mall area and the concerns of residents should be applied to all the businesses, not singling out the Shop Express.The problems with trash are indeed a problem, but they are not of Shop Expresses making.The ownership pays double what they do in other locations to attempt to deal with trash.The local residents use the dumpsters of the Shop Express illegally, and it has been impossible to stop this use.Horning Brothers (landlord for the mall) has not been responsive to Shop Expressí complaints about the misuse of their dumpsters.Shop Express has installed a substation for the police inside the store, and does actively attempt to get loiterers to move from the area in front of the business.Commissioner Glover stated that the residents were not opposing the business, but were expressing concerns with the ongoing operation of the business.Commissioner Thomas responded that the owner was responding to the concerns.The owner said that he felt ambushed by the concerns appearing at the last minute before his appearance in regard to his liquor license.The Shop Express owners said that they are attempting to deal with doing business in a difficult location, and that the majority of surrounding residents used and approved of their business.Commissioner Butler stated that the Shop Express has been an anchor business for the mall, and that many of the concerns raised are beyond the scope of normal business.The collection of trash appears to be as much a problem of the community availing itself of the businesses dumpsters than of trash generated by the business itself.Loitering is a problem that is exacerbated by the design of the mall, and that police do attempt to move the loiterers on.Commissioner Butler stated that he is willing to work with the residents and with Shop Express to address the concerns, and possibly refine a voluntary agreement that everyone can work with.Commissioner Thomas stated that there appeared to be a lack of concern with the owners of the mall, and that concentrating opposition efforts entirely on the Shop Express might be misplaced.Members of the SCHA stated that they have been working with the ownership of Shop Express for the past year, and that they had invited Horning Brothers to meetings to discuss the concerns.A member of the resident group indicated that it is indeed an area for hanging out, and that these nuisance loiterers are not going to the mall to use the bank or the dry cleaners, but that the business that is open and being patronized is the Shop Express.Shop Express may need help in moving this crowd and a voluntary agreement could help ownership to do so.Commissioner Skinner stated that his single member district has lingering problems with similar liquor establishments, and as shown earlier in this meeting they had not even had the decency to attend tonightís meeting.The owners of Shop Express appear to be attempting to address all of the concerns listed in opposition tonight.Commissioner Skinner stated that heís in opposition to gentrification, and that new residents need to understand the commitment of business owners who fought to establish businesses in difficult locations and who continue to try to do the right things for the community.Concerns about the mall should be addressed to the owners of the mall and not concentrated on one business owner.The level of arrogance shown in the handouts is obvious, and your efforts should be placed on getting the District government to deal with the problems and not the business owner.Commissioner Guyot stated that recently ANC1C and ANC1D had agreed to do away with voluntary agreements not brokered by the ANCís, and tonightís discussion is a perfect illustration of why this should be.These complaints are not going away, and neither are the residents who have trouble with the activities surrounding your place of business.You have to find a way of working with this opposition, but do not give up those things that you are not legally required to give up.You should work to draw up a voluntary agreement, but any agreement should come back to this ANC.Commissioner Guyot moved that ANC1B support a process that involves, Commissioner Butler, the owners of Shop Express, and the various community groups and Horning Brothers to craft a voluntary agreement that is brought back to ANC1B for its consideration and endorsement, and that Commissioner Butler is to be the arbiter of whether the parties have acted appropriately in response to this charge.The motion was seconded and adopted on a vote of (5-1-1).

 

 

May 1, 2003

 

Commissioner Skinner raised the difficulty with our new rule that an applicant must be present to consider an ABC license request.This allows a license holder who has opposition from the community to duck the ANC meeting, and the community members opposing the license request are disenfranchised.Commissioner Guyot stated that the intent of the rule was to encourage participation by the license owners, but did not preclude the Commission from hearing a case where there was community dissent accorded to an application.Commissioner Skinner stated that the applicant had been properly notified and that their absence was (by our interpretation of the new ANC1B rules) precluding participation by concerned constituents.Commissioner Skinner requested that ANC1B hear the liquor application of Harvard Liquors and it was agreed to by a unanimous vote.

 

Liquor license application #2599 for Harvard Liquors (A) at 2901 Sherman Avenue.Commissioner Skinner stated that there have been ongoing problems with this license holder, and that they were also not responsive to constituent complaints.Community members echoed the sentiments expressed by Commissioner Skinner.Commissioner Skinner moved to oppose the license renewal, and it was seconded and adopted (6-0-0).