This summer, Policy Restaurant
at 14th and T Streets requested a termination of their liquor license settlement agreement (SA) – terms and conditions agreed upon by neighbors and the restaurant to protect residents and help establishments gather support. Since January, Policy has been discussing with me and other neighborhood leaders their desire to stay open one hour later and to expand business into their basement.
The ANC decided to “protest” the termination application not because we thought their requests were unreasonable, but because we think settlement agreements play an important role in solidifying the relationship between an establishment and a neighborhood. Policy agreed and the owners and I began discussing language for a new agreement.
Four groups protested the termination: the ANC, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association, the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance and a group of five or more neighbors. At our first meeting, there was little if any agreement on terms to a new SA, even among the protestants. Concerns about noise, parking and trash were all discussed and it became clear that an agreement among all of the parties would be difficult but not impossible.
With the help of ANC Commissioners Kevin O’Connor and Will Stephens, the ANC led an effort to bring together all of the protestants and the restaurant and finalize an agreement that we could all get behind. We avoided a lengthy ABC Board protest hearing and set new and clear expectations for how Policy will operate as a member of the neighborhood.
Negotiations of this type have failed before, but this is an example of how the process is supposed to work: neighbors and businesses coming together to agree on how they can best coexist and thrive.
The owners of the restaurant, Raj Multani and Asim Walia, have been excellent to work with and the representatives from the neighborhood associations were equally willing to find a middle ground on issues important to those that live nearby.
Download the signed Settlement Agreement with Policy Restaurant below:
Today the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board took the advice of the Dupont Circle ANC and lifted restrictions on opening new restaurants on and near 17th Street NW. In August, I wrote about the 20-year old East Dupont Moratorium
and what it might mean to alter or eliminate it.
At our meeting in August, the ANC voted on two options: one was to recommend elimination of the moratorium altogether, the second was to continue the moratorium for three years, but only restrict new bars and nightclubs. As I did for the 14th and U Street proposed moratorium
, I voted against a moratorium as a legitimate policy option for our neighborhood. I think the unintended consequences of a moratorium outweigh any potential gain for residents, while creating yet another issue that divides our community every few years.
With a 4-4 tie, the Dupont ANC voted to recommend extension of the moratorium for three years, but only for bars and nightclubs. As they did with 14th & U, the ABC board listened to the neighborhood commission and implemented a significantly “overhauled” and less restrictive moratorium. You can read the Board’s press release here
SMDs 2B04 and 2B09
The District Board of Elections has proposed changes to almost every voting precinct in the city. At our October ANC2B meeting, the Executive Director presented the plan and discussed how it may impact our residents. The plan will change precinct boundaries to match Single Member District boundaries throughout the city. For residents of 2B09 the proposal is to share a voting location with those in 2B04.
You can read the full proposal from DCBOE here
.Many have concerns with the plan, including the timing of any change and how some voters may be confused about which is the correct polling place. There are, however, several positive effects of the proposal for our neighborhood:
1. Shorter lines to vote: Previously, we have voted in the same location with four or five other SMDs and lines were dependably long. Under the proposal, 2B09 would share a voting location with only residents of 2B04.
2. For many, a shorter walk to vote: The proposal right now is to vote at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church at 15th and R. For many, this would mean a shorter a walk to vote, while for others it would be slightly longer. Either way, the maximum distance is shortened from five blocks to four.
3. Leaving the Reeves Center for good: Saying goodbye to a location that required photo ID and a security checkpoint to vote is a win for our neighborhood and for civil liberties.
4. Cost savings to the city: the DCBOE claims the proposal will save approximately $80,000 in ballot printing costs per general election.
So what do you think? We have another month to submit comments and I’d love to hear from you about how the plan may impact you and your neighbors. In addition, we can request a different polling place if the Fifteenth Street Church is too inconvenient – what might be better? Let me know!
On behalf of over 20,000 residents of Dupont Circle, ANC2B submitted a Community Impact Statement to the sentencing judge for the case of a serial robber who has been arrested almost 50 times.
According to our MPD District Commander, Gregory Teal is the most likely suspect for any theft from auto in our neighborhood. He has been arrested and convicted of dozens of crimes, but he seems to consistently wind up back in Dupont, Logan, Foggy Bottom and U Street smashing windows and stealing from cars. Recently, he was once against convicted of a felony and MPD asked us to submit a statement to the judge requesting a tough but fair sentence.
Kishan Putta and I requested comments from neighbors who have been victims of these types of crimes and submitted the statement below to Judge Stuart Nash. Mr. Teal could face up to ten years in prison and though he was not convicted of a violent crime, we thought a significant prison sentence was just. In the end, we requested:
...to sentence Gregory Teal to several years in jail. Please sentence him to at least two or three years to give our residents some minimal relief (and justice) and to show other criminals that such callous recidivism will not be tolerated in the District of Columbia.
You can read the full statement, which includes neighbors testimony, after the jump.
Prince of Petworth has a story
about a man walking his two dogs at 14th and S this morning when a car struck them and dragged one his dogs for "30 or 50 feet". Miraculously the dog survived and no people we injured, but he needs witnesses who may have been there to come forward for insurance reasons. He explains:
I was anxious to get my dog to the hospital and left without getting any other information. I have made a police report, but after calling the driver’s insurance company I am now concerned that I might need witnesses to attest to the fact I was legally in the crosswalk.
If you were there this morning or otherwise witnessed what happened PLEASE get in touch – Jdf65dc(at)aol(dot)com.
He thinks the costs for his dog's treatment could be in the thousands and that her "best bet at this point is to have firm witness accounts documented in the police report so the driver’s insurance company might be compelled to cover the costs.”
Please email him if you know anything about this incident. Thanks and be safe out there!
The Louis project’s construction is progressing nicely and scaffolding is actually starting to come down! Soon, the roof will take shape and construction on the 14th Street sidewalk and public space will begin. The timeline shows that the sidewalk will be completed next month and apartment and retail spaces will be available in early 2014.
If you have any concerns or questions about the project, please e-mail the project atJBGlouis14@jbg.com
. You may also contact Andrew Hennemuth, the construction manager for the project, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, Project Managers send out monthly construction updates and October’s is available here:
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The Dupont Circle ANC will have its monthly public meeting tomorrow, October 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Ave). The agenda is available here
Some highlights from the agenda for our neighborhood include:
1. Request from Policy Restaurant at 1902-6 14th Street NW to allow for additional holiday hours.
2. Application to HPRB and BZA for proposed zoning variance for renovation of 1421 Swann St NW.
3. Neighborhood Impact Statement for the sentencing of Gregory Teal – a serial burglar who has been connected to over 40 thefts from automobiles in our neighborhood.
Hope to see you there!
The proposal called for no new establishments in this 1800 foot radius.
Today the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board stood with the vast majority of residents and business owners in our neighborhood and unanimously rejected a proposal
to limit the number of restaurants and bars in the 14th and U Street corridor. All four affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, which the Board clearly afforded great weight
, had voted to oppose the moratorium proposal.
ANC’s from Dupont, Logan and U Street worked together for months to gather neighborhood input and draft resolutions that reflected the views of the community at large. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it was to work with folks like Jeremy Leffler (ANC1B), Matt Raymond (ANC2F) and Kevin O’Connor (Chair of the ANC2B Alcohol Policy Committee). Even if the decision of the Board were different, the process built lasting relationships and proved how important it is to collaborate across arbitrary neighborhood lines.
Back in May, I testified at the ABC Board on behalf of ANC2B – you can read our resolution here
With its decision today, the ABC Board confirmed that the influx of new liquor licensed establishments has been positive for the neighborhood, which we heard over-and-over again in our listening sessions. As I’ve shared before, a moratorium is a blunt tool that cannot distinguish between good and bad actors – it assumes any establishment selling alcohol will be detrimental to the community. It also unfairly favors incumbent businesses, turning their licenses into commodities that can be sold and traded.
As I’ve also said, we cannot ignore the concerns of neighbors who live near these businesses. They have legitimate complaints and there are reasonable controls that the ABC Board (with advice from the ANC) can implement to protect neighbors, including the negotiation of Settlement Agreements that require soundproofing, rat abatement, parking considerations, and limits on outdoor operation hours.
THANK YOU to all of the neighbors who called and emailed, met for coffee, and spoke up at meetings. This remains an important and emotional issue and no matter your viewpoint, I hope that you felt your voice was heard in the process. UPDATE
: The ABC Board has published a press release
on the decision, including a copy of their 32 page signed order
Today, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) made changes to the pedestrians signals at Dupont Circle that will help protect folks as they cross in and out of the circle. This is an enormous safety improvement for pedestrians that the Dupont ANC has been working on for almost 9 months!
The new signals allow pedestrians to cross the entirety of the four lane intersection at once instead of being trapped in the median as the picture shows.
Pedestrians trapped among moving traffic at Dupont Circle
Last year, we held several public safety meetings and the idea came directly from a Dupont resident. My colleague, Kishan Putta and I contacted the city and asked for the changes to be made. To DDOT's credit, we were never turned away or told 'no'. They did say it would take a while to program new signals and make sure vehicular traffic could still flow relatively easily (maybe just not make it worse?). The signaling folks at DDOT did a fantastic job, though it took almost weekly calls from me to make sure the project remained on track.
My full time job is in federal traffic safety policy and this type of work is exactly why I ran for ANC. I knew there was great work to be done to help keep our pedestrians and bicyclists safe on the roads.
Please let me know if the new signal timing is an improvement or if there are any small changes that need to be made.
Thanks so much to DDOT, especially Bill McGuirk, for their diligent work on this and many other projects.
Since 1990, a limit has been in effect on the number of liquor licenses on 17th St NW between P and R streets. This includes liquor stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The East Dupont Liquor Moratorium is up for renewal this year and ANC2B will vote on Wednesday on whether to recommend its extension.
The ANC has hosted three listening sessions and published a draft resolution and report that outlines one option the ANC and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has to extend the moratorium with significant changes.
The draft resolution and report, as well as minutes from those sessions are available HERE
Liquor licenses and moratoria are divisive issues in our neighborhood. We have heard passionate pleas from supporters of the limit as well as those who believe the moratorium should expire. The draft resolution attempts to find a compromise as it recommends that the moratorium continue on bars and clubs, but lifted on restaurants. This would likely result in the addition of new restaurants in the neighborhood, that could provide more competition to the existing ones on 17th St.
As I stated several times
during the discussion on a moratorium at 14th and U, I am sympathetic to the concerns of neighbors negatively impacted by noise, but I do not think a moratorium is an appropriate solution. In this case, the limit has been in effect for over 20 years and its relative success or failure has been debated extensively without consensus.
Though I do not favor this type of market-distorting policy, I may be willing to vote to extend a moratorium only on bars and nightclubs, which folks at the listening sessions tended to support. I've also received emails from neighbors who think any moratorium will negatively impact the area. We must seriously consider the impact of a temporary
solution that has been in place for almost a generation and that forces our neighborhood to rehash the same divisive discussion year after year.
I would love to hear from any of you about how you think 17th St has benefited or been harmed by the moratorium and how you think I should vote on Wednesday.
The meeting is Wednesday August 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Brookings Institution