Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B
Minutes of Regular ANC Meeting
May 10, 2005
Commissioners Absent: None
There was a quorum for conducting business.
Adoption of Agenda
The Chair stated that under Presentation the Center for Child Protection and Family Support of DC would be making a presentation and have asked to be put on the agenda for next month.
Under Zoning the case for Capper Carrollsburg Consolidated will not be considered at the meeting because they have just made their initial filings and this issue will not be coming before the Zoning Committee for a number of months.
Commissioner Olson wanted to add under the ABC Committee, Remington’s.
Hearing no objections the agenda was adopted as amended.
Judy Jacobs who lives in the
400 block of
The Chair asked Mrs. Jacobs if she had spoken with the developer and her response was yes. He then asked her if she had tried to setup a meeting with the developer to discuss her concerns and her was response was no. Mrs. Jacobs stated that she had been unsuccessful in getting a copy of the plans from the architect. The Chair informed Mrs. Jacobs that the Commission would be happy to allow her to look at the plans. Mr. Randolph informed the Commission that he had allowed Mrs. Jacobs on Sunday to not only review the plans, but she was allowed to take the plans out of the office to reproduce copies for her use.
The Chair reminded Mrs. Jacobs, per his previous telephone conversations with her, the developer can proceed with the project “As a Matter of Right” and the developer can develop his project in regards to size and all the other specifications he has proposed by law.
Mrs. Jacobs asked if the ANC has reviewed the plans for the project.
Chairman Cernich stated that the ANC had reviewed the plans for the project on two occasions. The first time there were some observations and suggestions made regarding the plans, which he has spoken with her about on the telephone. The following meeting they returned with the revised plans. Commissioner Jarboe also stated that the developer had also spoken with HPRB and Restoration Society, and they were satisfied with the revised plans and ANC did not register any objections to the plans as presented.
Tom Heimemann stood and introduced himself to inform everyone that he was considering running for Ward 6 City Council and just wanted to say hello.
Community and Commission Announcements
There were no community announcements.
Commissioner Campbell announced that there will be a hazardous material collection site at the Carter Barron Theater this Saturday.
Commissioner Thomas thanked her fellow Commissioners and the Community for their expressions of sympathy and support during the loss of her son.
Commissioner Olson wished Commissioner Wright a belated Happy Birthday and Happy Birthday to Commissioner Glick.
Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Update – Al Miller represented DDOT and made the presentation.
Mr. Miller provided the audience with a very detailed Power-Point presentation of the current status of the project. He highlighted three area they are working on; 1) developing alternatives 2) what needs to be done 3) running traffic studies.
He also announced a potential
public meeting on June 21st to discuss the
Planning and Zoning Committee
Commissioner Campbell, Chair of the Committee made his report. Commissioner Campbell stated that he had been made aware that several of the people who were slated to attend the Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting the prior week did not, but are now present. However, he would first deal with the individual who did attend the meeting.
Commissioner Campbell presented the Committee Report as follows:
BZA # 17340, 1515 A Street SE,-Jason and Sandra Nelson – Special exceptions
Presenters: Sandra Nelson and architect Jennifer Cox Fowler
Sandra and Jason Nelson, are present owners of a single family home located at
Applicants wishes to demolish a single enclosed rear porch addition and construct a two story rear addition in its place. Presently the lot occupancy is 58% and with the new addition the lot occupancy will increase to 65%.
Applicant has submitted with the application letters of support from adjoining neighbors.
As there are no issues of concern exist regarding light, air or privacy from neighbors or members of this commission, the commission recommends this to the full ANC for consideration of support.
Commissioner Campbell then asked if there was anything new to add to their application. The architect informed the Commission that their building will not extend farther than the current building that is 4 lots down from them.
The Chair stated that this matter is coming before the Commission as a recommendation by the Committee in the form of a motion, requiring no second, all those in favor of adopting the committee’s recommendation to support this application to please raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (10 to 0).
Commissioner Campbell, seeking to determine if individuals who failed to appear before the Committee last week were present, did a roll call and the only establishment without representation was Aatish Restaurant. He announced that he will follow the agenda in reviewing each case.
Mr. Romon Buruca from Trattoria Alberto was present to answer questions.
The Commissioners reviewed the plans and noticed a discrepancy in the number of tables (8) planned for and the number of seats (18 individuals). A person with Mr. Buruca stated that there was a typo and the number should have been 16.
Commissioner Jarboe asked if the railing would be permanent or not. The response was that it would be temporary and would be removed and stored at night.
Commissioner Sheldon asked if they measure up (extend) to Banana Café is and the response was yes.
Commissioner Jarboe asked if his new plans were similar to how he had his sidewalk café before and Mr. Buruca’s response was no.
Commissioner Sheldon asked
Mr. Buruca if he had any objection to him taking a vote on this case because he
owns a piece of property 3 doors down,
The Chair asked all in favor of support Trattoria Alberto’s application for public space to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (10 to 0).
BZA #17332, 1230
Representing JPI – John Begert
The applicant is seeking two
(2) variances; 1) lot occupancy for the shotgun house which will be 3% above
the 60% allowed, and 2) residential recreation space, and one (1) special
exception for roof structure to allow for the construction of a 47 unit
residential condominium project at
They received HPRB approval two weeks ago.
Commissioner Jarboe asked if the lot occupancy, 3% over, was a variance or special exception. The response was a variance.
Commissioner Sheldon asked if there was any concern about the height of the structures. The response was that there had been and they had taken a look at that and after discussions have made several adjustments and have lowered the heights. There is not issue with the height, because it is a by right situation.
A lady from the community stood and stated that she has lived in the area for over 30 years and that she was in full support of the project and the interaction JPI has had with the community regarding the project.
Another lady from the
community stated that her concern is about the availability of parking for the
project. The JPI representative stated
that there was substantial amount of parking along
Commissioner Olson stated that the parking they (JPI) have is within the legal limits. She also suggested that they might look at getting rid of the parking meters and getting zone parking for residential parking.
There were no more questions. Commissioner Campbell made the motion that the Commission supports the application. The motion was seconded by Commission Hill. The Chair asked all in favor of supporting the requested special exception and variances to raise their hands. The vote as unanimous (10 - 0).
BZA #17331, 1229 E. Street, SE, - JPI Apartment Development – Special Exception
Representing JPI – John Begert
The applicant is seeking a special exception to allow an addition to an existing single-family dwelling not meeting the side yard requirements for an addition to a non conforming structure to establish a two family dwelling at 1229 E. Street, SE.
The building is in deteriorated condition and must be significantly renovated to render it habitable for residential purposes. The property is located in the Capitol Hill Historic District and the house contributes to the character of the historic area.
The applicant proposes to rehabilitate the existing structure, construct an addition at the rear, and use the renovated structure with the addition as a two-unit dwelling.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that the issue with all of the special exceptions will be with air and light and he wanted to know if JPI had spoken with the neighbors about the plans and did he have the support of the neighbors on both sides, the response with yes. Specifically, Peter Fields, the next door neighbor has reviewed the plans and supports it. In fact, Mr. Fields has no windows on the side that is next to the new building and JPI believes the same is true for the other neighbor as not having windows on the side where the new structure will be built.
There were no more questions or comments. Commissioner Campbell made the motion to support JPI application for the special exceptions. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Glick. The Chair asked all in favor of supporting JPI’s application to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (10 – 0).
HPRB #05-XXX, 609 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Aatish Restaurant – After-the-fact approval for construction of pre-fabricated storefront in public space.
No one was present to represent Aatish Restaurant.
After the Commissioners reviewed the photographs of Aatish Restaurant’s installed pre-fabricated storefront, Commissioner Olson asked if the changes that were made only required HPRB approval. Commissioner Jarboe stated that it never went before HPRB for approval. He stated there was an issue about the ambiguity of their permit. When they did their application it stated to replace bay in front of the building on existing slab and no excavation. Commissioner Olson stated that it looks as if they are on public space and Commissioner Jarboe agreed. He further stated that when it was for replacement it did not go to HPRB because it was replacing an existing structure. But as far as he can remember, there was never anything there to be replaced. Additionally, there was excavation done, because he was at the restaurant and almost fell into the hole coming out of the establishment. He further stated that the question is does the ANC support having them tear it down and put up something that is more in keep with the Historic District.
Commissioner Olson stated that it looked very unlike the Historic District.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that Aatish currently has a Stop Work Order and they are going back to HPRB for approval to keep what they have done and HPRB is asking the Commission for it opinion.
Commissioner Olson stated that she would hate to have to ask them to tear it down, but if it is not in keeping with the Historic District, there is no choice.
The Chair made the motion to oppose HPRB’s approval of the storefront for Aatish Restaurant. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Campbell. The Chair asked all in favor of opposing HPRB’s approval of the storefront to raise their hands. The vote was 8-0-1 with Commissioner Glick abstaining and Commissioner Wright was out of the meeting at the time of the vote.
Vice Chair Glick read the Committee Report:
EAST SIDE TRIO (t/a Zagora)
Zagora applied for a liquor
license for the building currently known as “The Peoples Church” at
The owners of the proposed
restaurant, Mr. Mostaf Meliani and Mr. Mauricio Fraga and their counsel Mr. Eli
Hurwitz were in attendance to present their request for a Class “C” Restaurant
License. The company owns several
Mr. Meliani explained that
the Zagora would be open seven days per week, from 5 pm until 2 am
Sunday-Thursday, and open until 3am on Friday and Saturday. It was explained that the placards
distributed by ABRA kept coming off the walls, and that they were finally
posted again in a more permanent fashion on Friday, April 15th. Because the public notice has not been
initially posted for the requisite number of days, the date of the hearing has
been moved from June 8th to June 29th. Mr. Meliani requested that the date for his
hearing be moved back up to June 8th, since the building is under
contract with the
The restaurant is expected to hold 300-350 people in a 4000 sq. ft. space. 50% of the top part of the restaurant will include two mezzanines for either private parties or dining. There will also be two catwalks that connect the two mezzanines. The front of the building will be glass patio type doors that can be opened for dining on the sidewalk.
The application requests for the restaurant to have live music, background music, a dee jay, dancing and a dance floor.
Mr. Meliani stressed that this new restaurant will be a restaurant and not a nightclub. The focus will be on food. Mr. Meliani and his attorney, both agreed that the restaurant owners would sign a voluntary agreement with ANC 6B.
Several neighbors of the
John Yellen, Randi Green,
James Hanna, Eddie Koblens,
· The playing of live music and having a dance floor, not being consistent with Capitol Hill;
· People being drunk and walking to their cars boisterously late at night;
· Parking in and around the neighborhood; there is not enough space for parking for residents let alone more and more people that Barracks Row attracts;
· Noise from the establishment if they are to have a DJ and live music.
· Sidewalk Café issues
Mr. Meliani explained that he understood the concerns of the residents. He stated that all of his bartenders will go to the ABRA course on the selling of liquor. He stated that he will remove the dance floor from his restaurant, and will also not remove tables and chairs later in the evening so it could create an informal dance floor. He also said he will not have a cover charge for the restaurant either.
The Committee then went into executive session, and came to no conclusion in regards to Zagora and recommended that it be discussed at the full ANC meeting. Some members of the Committee were totally against granting a liquor license to the proposed restaurant; other Committee members were in favor of not opposing a license under the condition that the owners sign a voluntary agreement.
It was noted that in order to craft a voluntary agreement, ANC would need to first protest the license before the ABC Board.
Therefore, the Committee recommends discussing this at the full ANC meeting.
Chair Cernich asked if there was any new information from the applicant. There was none.
Commissioner Sheldon informed
the applicants that he owned a property across the street at
The applicant asked Commissioner Sheldon if he lived in the property and his response was no. The applicant then stated that if he thinks he will be swayed negatively, then it would be appropriate.
Commissioner Sheldon stated that he would recuse himself, but he would be speaking out as a private citizen on the issue.
The Chair then stated for the record that Commissioner Sheldon was recusing himself from voting on this issue.
Commissioner Glick voiced his concern regarding Commissioner Sheldon voicing an opinion prior to a vote being taken. After some discussion with the Chair, the Chair stated that no where in the By-laws or in Robert’s Rules of Order does it indicated that Commissioner Sheldon cannot speak out as a private citizen on matters such as this. Therefore, he will be allowed to participate with the community.
The Chair then asked for comments from the community.
Susan Sherman who lives in
the 500 block of
Barbara Eck who lives on
Earl Godfrey stated that he was speaking from 40 years of experience living a block from 8th Street, the size of the establishment is too large and the noise that will be heard by residents living on 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Streets will be a nuisance, and he is against the application.
Kim Ross who lives in the 500
Irin Kouropatkina’s concern was the hours of the establishment because with that many people leaving at 3 a.m. it would create a serious noise problem. She also wanted to know what the purpose of the catwalks in the restaurant, if it is not a nightclub.
Mr. Meliani responded by saying that they would be used for dinning, special meetings, and to connect with the other side of the upper floor.
Jack Wolfe who lives on
Melina Count stated that based upon her experience, an establishment this size can only be lucrative by selling massive amounts of alcohol and in her thinking is what will make it eventually become a nightclub.
Joe Shay who lives at
Judy Jacobs who lives in the immediate area stated that her concern is with the size of the proposed establishment that the parking would be a tremendous problem and noise would also be a serious problem.
Lisa Mages who lives in the
500 block of
Clare Kincannon who is new to the area wanted to know what power did the ANC have to affect this application, such as voting the application up or down.
The Chair stated that since this is a new application the ANC would have to vote to support or protest the application. The alternative would be to support the application with conditions that would be memorialized in a Voluntary Agreement at the point that the ANC protest and then are sent to have discussions with the applicant. The ABC Board gives the Commission’s opinion what is called “Great Weight” under the DC Code to the extent that if the Commission was to oppose the license application in order for the ABC Board to grant the license over our opposition, they would have to specifically address our concerns in their decision in granting the application. The ABC Board could, none-the-less, grant the permit regardless of what the Commission recommends to the ABC Board, but if they did that they would have to address each and every concern raised with the ABC Board with regards to the application.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that when the commissioners take their oath, the oath specifically states that we will make our decisions to the benefit or to take into consideration of the benefit of the City as a whole. However, being local elected officials one is also aware of the constituents. He further stated on the process, in addition to this body taking a vote, it goes to a regulatory hearing at the ABC Board, which is the reason for the placards, any group of five (5) individuals or more can also protest a license. It has to be a group of five individuals or more and the information is on the placard that tells you how to go about protesting. The letter has to be signed by a group of five or more. Additionally, there can be multiple groups of 5, but each group must have at least five individuals to quality.
Christine Miller who lives in the 500 block of 9th Street voiced her concerns as someone who has lived through the experience of the Heart and Soul Restaurant, she can very easily remember how disturbing it was when Heart and Soul closed its doors at 3:00 a.m. and the noise that would wake her when the people were leaving the establishment. She is sure that this establishment will just bring the same if not more noise to the community.
The Chair opened the discussion to the Commissioners.
Commissioner Olson read a letter to the Commissioners and Community from Bill McLeod, Executive Director of the Barracks Row Main Street Program.
“I regret I cannot attend the regular ANC 6B meeting because I will be in Baltimore at the National Main Street Conference accepting an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the 2005 Great American Main Street Awards.
Although some business owners are charming and have
excellent reputations for their other establishments, the conversion of the
People’s Church into another restaurant/lounge would be an economic
disaster. The restaurants space would be
three times larger than the average restaurant on
There are alternative uses for the People’s Church, and every day entrepreneurs ring my doorbell looking for places to open new businesses. Our Economic Revitalization Committee has been working diligently for months with performing arts groups, such as the Helen Hayes Awards and the DC Commission on the Arts, to find a better use for the old theater. But, nonprofits need time to build capital campaign and pool resources.
I believe it is now time to create a moratorium on
additional liquor licenses to curb the spike in restaurants opening. Barracks Row needs more retailers, not more
eating establishments. We have the
opportunity to mold the revitalization of the neighborhood in a responsible way
or to allow the creation of another Adams-Morgan that is known as fun for
tourist but a nuisance to residents. During the day, Adams-Morgan is virtually
deserted because there is little retail left and they are desperately trying to
attract shops back to
Please don’t allow a dj, live music, and dancing at Zagora. Barracks Row needs to flourish as a shopping, dining, and arts destination. With the creation of this mega-restaurant/lounge, the chance of a lifetime fro the performing arts to return to Barracks Row will be lost forever.”
Commissioner Olson then stated that this is her SMD and her neighborhood that Zagora would be moving into and she will vote to oppose the license because she believes it is too big for the community. She further stated that the Commission has to deal with parking, noise, and quality of life, and she believes that 300 patrons coming out of the establishment will be a terrible detriment to the neighborhood and she hopes the Commission will support her on this issue.
Commissioner Glick stated that since many of the Commissioners and community people were not present at the ABC Committee Hearing, he would like to give the applicants an opportunity to speak.
The Chair then asked the applicant if they had any comments.
Mr. Ely Hurwitz stated they appreciated the fact that the community and Commissioners would like to have a theater in the location, but even if it is in the location there will still be a large number of people coming to and from the theater, which means a lot of traffic and parking problems to accommodate the facility. Their intent was to accommodate the people from the community and not so much from the outside. He further stated even though they presented the maximum of patrons who could be in their establishment at any one time, they do not anticipate that many people being there every day of the week, and in reality, the average numbers maybe 75 to 100 at any given time. He thinks it would be an excellent addition to the community to have a full-service restaurant in the community. They have agreed to not have a dance floor and would not promote dancing in the restaurant and will have music that is both dee jay and background for their patrons and on occasion they will have a live combo group.
Mr. Meliani stated the property is as-is and if he could have a couple thousand square feet less, then he would gladly take it. He further stated that they are trying to work with the space as it has been presented to them. He has no intention of becoming a nightclub and he wants to be a full-service restaurant only.
Commissioner Russell stated that the magnitude of the restaurant is more than what the neighborhood can stand because there is no place for the patrons to park, which is the major problem with the restaurant. She further stated that the parking on Capital Hill is so concentrated that she could not imagine where his patrons would find parking.
Mr. Meliani stated that he will look into ways to solve the parking problem, but he can’t make any guarantees about the outcome.
Christine Williams, who lives
on the 800 block of
Commissioner Glick stated
that Commissioner Campbell had mentioned at the Committee Meeting the potential
Commissioner Campbell stated that his suggestion was to address the parking problem it would be a good idea to look at using Hines Junior High parking facilities on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday night to help address the problem. He believes that the 80% to 90% of the funds could then be turned over to Hines for use in their programs. He also stated that other schools in the neighborhood should also be considered for potential revenue generators to aid the schools. His recommendation was intended as an alternative plan that Mr. Meliani should look at to help address the parking problem.
Commissioner Russell stated
that what the Commission wants
Commissioner (Chair) Cernich stated that over his 2 ½ years as a Commissioner, this is the first time he has received more than one call from constituents on any issue. However, on this issue he has received more than 10 to 12 calls and all of those comments were in opposition to this application. He agrees that the problem is with the size and the parking problem and foot traffic in the neighborhood at closing is not appropriate at this time.
Commissioner Jarboe stated
that he will support Commissioner Olson in protesting this license for two
reasons; 1) if the Commission does not protest there is not further discussion
possible on the issue. 2) they must sign
a Voluntary Agreement. He has three (3)
problems – a.) Parking – valet parking – when they were working with Heart and
Soul the Commission was told by Heart and Soul that they had an agreement with
Hines, but it never happened. Evidently
the school district was very reluctant to allow the use of their space for
several reasons like liability and others.
He does not know if you can work that out, but he does not think you
can. He knows that the Marines have a
Commissioner Olson made the motion that ANC 6B protest this license on the grounds that it will have a negative impact on neighborhood peace, order and quiet, and negatively impact parking. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jarboe. The Chair then asked all in favor of Commissioner Olson’s motion to raise their hands. The vote was 9 to 0 with Commissioner Sheldon recusing himself.
Committee reports and announcements
announced that there would be a meeting on Wednesday night at 15th
Remington’s Renew of Liquor License
ABC Committee Chair, Commission Wright reported to the Commission that the Committee met with Remington’s in good faith in a attempt to come up with a Voluntary Agreement, but Remington’s did not want to sign the agreement. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the Commission withdrawn the protest and ask the ABC Board for reconsideration of the one which was signed in 1991.
Commissioner Jarboe, as a point of reference, pointed out that there was a noise complaint at Remington’s back in March of 2004 and the ABC Board threw that complaint out by saying that a) the Commission did not have a Voluntary Agreement with Remington’s even though the Commission said it did, they (ABRA) did not have it on their files and the owner said he hadn’t signed it and that the manager signed it and therefore it was not valid, so they threw the 2002 Voluntary Agreement out. They then threw the complaint out because the inspector said that is was in a commercial area, which according to Commissioner Jarboe misread the statue which stated that if the complaint is coming from a building in the commercial area then the noise restrictions do not apply. This is the case of the Ugly Mug situation where the tenants are upstairs in a commercial building. This situation is clearly different because the complaint if coming from across the alley in a residential area, so the inspector got the law wrong. He further stated that if Remington’s does not want to update their Voluntary Agreement, fine. The Commission will say to the ABC Board that it has a signed copy of the 1991 Voluntary Agreement with Remington’s and the Board’s Order of the 1991 Agreement making it part of their license. Therefore, the Commission will revert back to the 1991 Voluntary Agreement, thus the March 2004 incident violates the 1991 Voluntary Agreement and violates the law, therefore the Commission would like for the ABC Board to reconsider their decision throwing the complaint out.
Commissioner Campbell stated he wanted to recuse himself from the matter because he has been contacted by one of the owner of Remington’s, who is a neighbor across the street from him and has voiced a number of concerns regarding the need to sign a Voluntary Agreement, and that the complaint coming from a tenant who is no longer in the building. The owner is a personal friend of his, but he does not have an involvement with Remington’s and if the Commission feels that because he has a relationship with the owner then he will gladly recuse himself.
The Chair and Commissioner Jarboe both stated that neither saw a need for him to do so. Commissioner Jarboe further stated that if he Commissioner had to recuse themselves from matters involving a neighbor or people they know, nothing would ever get done.
Commissioner Jarboe seconded Commissioner Wright’s motion. The Chair then asked all in favor of Commissioner Wright’s motion requesting a reconsideration of the Boards decision as articulated by Commissioner Wright (the Committee recommends that the Commission withdrawn the protest and ask the ABC Board for reconsideration of the Voluntary Agreement which was signed in 1991) to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (10 to 0).
Commissioner Glick mention that the Commission did not made a decision regarding the placard for Zagora. The consensus was that as long as it is made clear to the community what the protest date was, everyone was in agreement to allow the original date to be honored. Commission Jarboe made the motion that the original placard date by Zagora would be honored. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Olson. The Chair then asked for a vote and the vote was 9 to 0 with Commissioner Sheldon recusing himself.
Commissioner Sheldon wanted
to discuss an issue in
The other issue was that he had been roundly criticized by the Chairperson of EMCAC as well as several members of EMCAC for having been quoted in Duncan Spencer’s column. Mr. Spencer did not attend the EMCAC meeting, he asked Commission Sheldon about the fact that administrative costs are for more than 50 percent of the budget for EMCAC and legal accounting fees have exceed the year’s budget by over double of what they had allotted. This concerned him and he did not speak on behalf of EMCAC or as his position of Chair of the Budget Sub Committee. It was pointed out in an e-mail to him by the Chair that he needs the approval of EMCAC to speak to the press. He was speaking to the press as a citizen and not in an official capacity. He has subsequently been notified that he is no long the Budget Sub-Committee Chair for EMCAC; although he is still the Vice Chair.
Executive Assistance Compensation
The Chair stated that the Executive Director has been with the Commission for a year and it is time to consider a pay increase for him.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that the Executive Committee recommended that the Commission increase Bert’s compensation by the same amount given to previous staff people when they had come to their one-year renewal and he checked the past minutes and it $3.50 per hour increase, which is well within the budget. The Chair asked all in favor of the $3.50 increase for the Executive Director to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (10 to 0). Commissioner Jarboe stated that the raise will be effective immediately.
There was no further business and Commissioner Hill made the motion that the meeting be adjourned until its next meeting date of June 14, 2005. The motion was seconded, and the vote was 10 to 0.