Minutes - Adopted April 24, 2008, As Amended

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

February 28, 2008 Public Meeting

 

The meeting began at about 7:15 p.m. at Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue, N.W., Chair Douglass Sloan (4B09) presiding.  Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Frederick Grant, 4B04 Malik  F. M. Johnson, 4B06 Gloria Palmer, and 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions

1) Chair Sloan appointed Commissioner Jefferson as ANC 4B's Sergeant At Arms after she volunteered to do it for one meeting.

 

2) In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Green's motion to adopt the agenda.

 

3) The Commissioners informally agreed to table a recommendation vote to extend the current Ward 4 Moratorium on the sale of single bottles of beer, wine, and malt liquor until the March public meeting.  Ward 4 City Council Member Muriel Bowser was invited to speak at the meeting to detail her proposed legislation on the issue.

 

Ms. Cynthia Simms, of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, described the current law, noting that Wards 7 and 8 are considering similar moratoriums and that the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood has had a moratorium in place for a while. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hold its own hearings on the issue, she said. 

 

Mr. Tom Black, of 12th St., NW, and Mr. Andre Carley, of 9th St., NW, who is also the Vice President of Concerned Neighbors, Inc., supported making the moratorium permanent, citing improvements in the quality of life on Georgia Avenue.  Mr. Black said that there are fewer people "hanging out" on Georgia Avenue than before the moratorium.  He also said there is less trash and discarded beer cans and bottles.

 

Others, including Mr. Paul Montague, of 3rd St., NW, Mr. Andrew Thomas, Jr., of Underwood Pl., NW, and Mr. Aaron Moody, of Church St., NW, do not support extending the law.  It has made little difference, Mr. Montague said. Mr. Moody said he does not believe selling single bottles of beer is a problem.

 

Ms. Regina Page, of Eastern Ave., NW, said she has not made up her mind and is not sure that her neighbors want the moratorium made permanent.

 

Commission Wheeler said negotiating for moratoriums on a store-by-store basis has been difficult and time-consuming.                                                                                                   

 

4) In a unanimous show-of-hands vote on a motion made by Commissioner Grant, the Commission agreed to hold a special public meeting on Saturday, March 8, 2008, at noon, in the lobby of the Commission's office, 6856 Eastern Ave., NW.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss Haydee's application to change the class of license from a Retailer's "C" Restaurant to a Retailer's "C" Nightclub, and a voluntary agreement with the restaurant.  It was also agreed that Commissioners Grant and Wheeler would meet with Haydee's owners and Ms. Sang Nahm, of 6301 Georgia Ave., NW, and other interested parties, to draw up the agreement.

 

The vote followed a lengthy discussion on Haydee's application with Haydee's owners, Haydee Vanegas and Mario E. Alas, and others, including their attorney, Ely Hurwitz.  Ms. Vanegas distributed a printed statement detailing her plans for the restaurant.

 

Ms. Vanegas said the restaurant is currently permitted to have live entertainment five nights a week (Wednesday through Sunday) but now only offers it for three nights a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and has been doing so for about one year, with no complaints. 

 

The restaurant is asking for the license change because the city's restaurant regulations do not permit the construction of a stage, Mr. Hurwtiz explained. No other changes are contemplated, the lawyer said. He said the Haydee's owners are prepared to enter into a voluntary agreement to that effect and would limit their hours of operation.

 

Ms. Nahm, who owns the adjacent building, said that her apartment tenants moved out because of the noise from the music. 

 

The owners, and their architect, Mr. Cyprian Alozie, said that they would provide sound proofing, and that it is likely that moving the music from the first floor to a stage, which would be built as a new mezzanine level between the first and second floors, would reduce noise to the adjacent buildings.  They also promised to restrict music to inside the restaurant.

 

Mr. Jonathan Young said he is in charge of security, and is assisted by two other guards or off-duty police.  Everyone is searched and there have been no problems, he said.

 

Several residents spoke in support of the restaurant, including Mr. Aaron Moody, Mr. Charles Allen, of Sheridan Street, Mr. Baron Harris, of Rittenhouse Street, Mr. Hasin Dawkins of Tewkesbury Place, and Mr. Carleton Davis, an adjoining business owner.  Mr. Davis said Haydee's is located in a commercial zone and enhances his neighborhood. Mr. Dawkins, an official with the 70-member Beacon Brightwood Business Alliance, said he could support the application if the noise issue is addressed.  Mr. Moody said that Haydee's owners helped his nonprofit community group raise money.     

                                                                                           

Commissioner Green said she supported a voluntary agreement to protect neighbors, but wanted the Commission to protest the change until one was drawn up.  This way, ANC 4B would protect its standing in the case, she said. Commissioners Grant, Wheeler, and Sloan said they thought an agreement was the best solution and that it could be drawn up in a week.

                                                                                                                  

5.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Johnson's motion to support the special exception request of Little Rascals Doggie Day Care for its 6917 Georgia Avenue facility (former Curtis Chevrolet building).

 

The vote followed a discussion with Little Rascals Owner Ms. Debbie Gomes. She said the business is not a kennel or a shelter.  Dogs will not stay at the facility overnight. She said the dogs will always be kept inside.  She also said that there are strict health regulations to follow.  Ms. Gomes also said that she has a two-year lease.

 

Ms. Karina Simmons, who lives next door to the business, said tow-trucks block the alley/driveway her apartment shares with businesses at the former Curtis building.  Ms. Gomes said that the tow truck company has a separate lease and that she has no control over their behavior.  Council Member Muriel Bowser said she would investigate the problem.

 

Commissioner Johnson reported that he held a community meeting to discuss the business and its request and that those who attended supported granting the special exception.

 

6) In a 4-1-0 show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Green's motion to add the Treasurer's Report and the approval of the Minutes to the agenda at the March 8, 2008 Special Public Meeting.

 

Presentations and Reports

1) In honor of Black History Month, Mr. Ned Sloan, of the District of Columbia Chapter of the NAACP, spoke about landmark events in the history of African Americans.

 

2)  MPD 4th District Officer Heather Straker reported on outstanding crime issues in the community, including thefts from autos, particularly GPS devices. 

 

Community Concerns

1)  Mr. Paul Montague, of  said he has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for financial records and wants comprehensive audits of ANC 4B's finances, beginning from 2001.

 

2)  Mr. Andrew Thomas Jr., of Underwood Street, said he also wants the Auditor's Office to perform the audits.  He also said he has not received the copies of checks and grants for the period of July 2006 to September 2007.  Chair Sloan said he would provide the latest financial report. Both Chair Sloan and Treasurer Grant said they would ask the Auditor what documents should be provided.

 

The meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.  -- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary

 

 

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