Adopted Minutes - Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Special Public Meeting, June 22, 2010 - Adopted on July 26, 2010

 

The meeting started at about 7:15 p.m. at Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue, N.W., Chair Yvonne Jefferson (also ANC 4B08) presiding.  Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Monique Michelle Smith, 4B04 James Sydnor, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B06 Idriys Abdullah and 4B07 Judi Jones.  A quorum was present throughout.

 

Actions

1.  Following a motion from Commissioner Green, the agenda was approved in a unanimous show-of-hands vote. No other action was taken

 

There was a lengthy discussion with Cynthia Simms, of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Retta Makonnen, the owner of the Nile Restaurant and Market, 7815 Georgia Avenue, N.W., and Andre Carley, of 9th Street, N.W., the Vice President of Concerned Neighbors, Inc.

 

Commissioner Green said she wanted to hear community views on the Nile license and ask Ms. Simms questions about ABRA regulations. She also said she wanted the Commission to clarify its position on the license. On May 24, 2010, ANC 4B voted to sign a voluntary agreement extending the Nile's weekend hours to 1 a.m. and permitting some live entertainment, among other things.  Also, during the same meeting, Commissioners voted to support a 2 a.m. closing and dancing.

 

Ms. Simms said the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) is changing the way it handles voluntary agreements. Agreements older than four years can be changed at one party's request, she said, noting that the Nile's agreement is about ten years old.

 

She said that despite the fact that there is an existing voluntary agreement that Mr. Makonnen wants to change, he must formally apply to ABRA for a "substantial change" to his existing license if he wants to extend his weekend hours from midnight to 2 a.m. and offer live entertainment.  ANC 4B and the community will be notified of the application. They can support or oppose the request. ANC 4B and/or the community can then negotiate a voluntary agreement or the matter will be decided entirely by the Board. The voluntary agreement applies to everyone who holds that license, she added.

 

ANC 4B and ANC 4A both have "great weight," but the Board will consider many factors, she said.

 

Mr. Carley distributed a petition signed by 16 residents who oppose a 2 a.m. closing. Neighbors want to negotiate a compromise, he said. Commissioner Abdullah said 16 residents do not represent a neighborhood and that most of these residents live more than one-half-mile from the restaurant.  Mr. Carley said everyone who signed the petition lives much closer than one-half-mile from the Nile.

 

Commissioner Abdullah said that a 2 a.m. closing is consistent with other nightclubs in the city.  Mr. Carley responded that the community is looking for a restaurant, not a nightclub, at that site, and there is a concern that other nearby restaurants will ask for the same hours and live entertainment.

 

Commissioner Jones said this special meeting was not necessary, that the community had an opportunity for input at previous Commission meetings.

 

Mr. Makonnen thanked the Commission for holding the meeting.  He said that he did not understand the process. Others agreed and said Ms. Simms' presentation was very helpful. The meeting adjourned at about 8:15 p.m.

                                                                                           --- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary