ANC 2F Regular Monthly Public Meeting – December 7, 2011

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION

2F REGULAR MONTHLY PUBLIC MEETING

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 – 7:00 PM

WASHINGTON PLAZA HOTEL – 10 THOMAS CIRCLE, NW

AGENDA

COMMUNITY FORUM

  • Call to Order-  7:00
  • Commissioner Announcements – 7:00
  • Report from Executive Office of the Mayor – 7:00
  • Jack Evans, City Council Member, Ward 2-0 – 7:00
  • PSA 307 Report – Metropolitan Police Department, 3D – 7:10
  • DDOT Report –  Ward 2 Transportation Planner – 7:25
  • Community Announcements – 7:30

-10 Minute Recess-

Business Meeting

  • Approval of Agenda – 7:40
  • Approval of Minutes of Meeting of  November 2, 2011- 7:40

DCHSEMA/Street Closures – 7:50

ABRA – 8:00

  • Parc Deux Restaurant 1601 14th Street, NW– New License , Petition Date 12/19
  • Lima Restaurant, 1401 K Street NW- Sidewalk Café-Mr. Arman Amirshahi

Education Committee (Evelyn Boyd Simmons, Chair) – 8:10

DDOT – 8:20

Crime and Public Safety Committee (Bryan Goodman) – 8:25

Community Development Committee (Mike Benardo, Chair) – 8:30

  • 1324 14th Street, NW Historic review

Arts Overlay Committee – 8:40

New Business – 8:45

Treasurer’s Report (Sam Goekjian, Treasurer) – 9:15

  • Approval of Expenditures

Adjournment

NOTICE:  The agenda attached to this notice of meeting is provided by ANC 2F in advance of its public meetings contains matters that are expected to come before the meeting.  It is, however, subject to formal adoption by the ANC at the meeting, which may result in additions or deletions to the draft.   Individuals who may have official business before the ANC or persons with interests in specific matters are advised to contact the Executive Director or a Commissioner in advance of the meeting. See www.ANC2F.org for contact information.

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Liquor Licensees: The Good, the Bad and the Violent

A post on Shaw Deserves Better that Nick brought to my attention asks the following: “Why do problematic bars not get closed before people die?”  The question at hand was the deadly violence yesterday at Heritage India in Dupont Circle:

Anybody familiar with the “broken windows” theory of urban planning knows that, in summary, small, unenforced violations of the law lead to bigger violations. So, as these three previous violations did not (that I am aware) result in a fatality, using that theory, it becomes increasingly evident that there was some reasonable expectation that it might escalate to that level. […]

So, the question is really this: almost every bar that’s been affiliated with a fatality in my recent memory had been before the ABRA Board more than once. Certainly, there are many establishments who appear multiple times and still have no body count years later. However, it begs the question – with so many solid liquor licensed establishments in the city, why not put in a “three (or five, or ten) strikes you’re out” style law to kill off these repeat offenders? As is, even when ABRA gets an establishment permanently closed, often times a new establishment opens under the same license in the same location, prolonging suffering, and risk, to the surrounding residential community.

The blog post goes on to mention the ongoing problems at MOOD Lounge on Ninth Street NW, with which this ANC is very well acquainted, and concerns that the establishment might follow the same violent path as the one in Dupont.  The author notes, accurately, that some neighbors are so fed up with the situation–literally sick and tired–that they intend to oppose all new liquor licenses.

The following is a comment I added to the blog post:

Ask anyone on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F, and they will tell you that MOOD Lounge has been the worst of the bad liquor-license actors in the entire history of our service on the commission.

The license transferred to MOOD in January 2011, and only weeks later, the complaints began pouring in, the worst of which being noise violations. You would know that MOOD had a CT (tavern) license, because it is operating–illegally–as a CN (nightclub).

Other issues include drunken and disorderly conduct and loitering long after closing hours, fights and assaults, public urination and vomiting, and even one reported case of sexual intercourse on the hood of a car. These incidents happen again and again and again, and the management routinely disregards and fails to respond to the entreaties of nearby residents who lose untold hours of sleep.

The ANC has tried for months to get the city to sit up and take notice, but it has been incredibly frustrating, and the processes and bureaucracy that are put in place make it far too difficult to deal with even such a blatant scofflaw. One would think that after even a fraction of these kinds of instances that some sort of summary action could be taken against the licensee.

The ANC has been working with Councilmember Jack Evans, the MPD, ABRA and DCRA to address this. Thankfully, it is now squarely on the radar of those such as the ABRA director and MPD Chief Lanier. But it should not have taken this long.

I have long contended that the situation is unacceptable and out of control and, as the post above indicates, it is a matter of when, not if, a killing occurs that is tied to the activities in and around MOOD. Shaw and Logan Circle have made far too much forward progress in the last several years to allow our neighborhoods to slip back down the slope again.

That being said, blanket opposition to all future licensees won’t be a helpful or, frankly, a successful approach. As a matter of course, ANC 2F will “protest” new liquor licenses. I don’t like the term “protest” because it implies an adversarial relationship between the licensee and the community from the outset. But a protest is the only way the ANC or neighbors can have standing to ensure a licensee operates in a way that’s compatible with nearby residences. (As a general rule, we tend not to protest licenses in the downtown business district, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as an operator with a poor track record.  We also don’t protest if a Voluntary Agreement can be reached before the ABC Board considers the application.)

Protests and Voluntary Vgreements (another term that I dislike, in that the hurdle for a licensee becomes much higher if they don’t take this “voluntary” action) allow us to balance the needs of businesses and residents. But without them, we cede any input that we might have to the ABC Board, which unfortunately sometimes without enough regard for or knowledge of the needs of the community.

Protests should be undergirded by the law, ABRA regulations, logic and a solid basis for the terms sought in a VA. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek additional safeguards, such as new laws that make it easier to deal with bad actors. But if protests are arbitrary or seen as based upon whims, the ABC Board will begin to tune us out, and the problem might actually get worse–the law of unintended consequences, if you will.

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ANC2F CDC Meeting Agenda for November 16, 2011

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 2F
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 7:00 PM

The Washington Plaza Hotel
# 10 Thomas Circle, NW

  1. Meeting Agenda.
  2. Approval of Agenda.
  3. 1328 14th Street, NW – Presentation for BZA and Historic review for a new residential building that will include ground floor retail, with residential above. – Presentation by Kyrus Freeman, Holland & Knight.

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Leaf Collection Runs Nov. 7 to Jan. 14

The Department of Public Works announced that their annual leaf collection will begin this Monday, Nov. 7, and will continue through Jan. 14, 2012:

“Leaf collection is our most labor-intensive program,” said DPW Director William O. Howland Jr. “For two and a half months, our crews work six days a week, including Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day, across the District. We give each neighborhood two, two-week collection cycles, so please check the leaf collection brochure, which was mailed to households receiving DPW trash/recycling collection services, or go online to learn your collection weeks. […] “

More information is on DPW’s website.

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