ANC 2G Talks ABCA Licensing

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2G held its monthly meeting on Thursday Jan. 11. Commission Chair Alexander M. “Alex” Padro (2G02) called the meeting to order. Commissioners Anthony “Tony” Brown (2G01, Treasurer), Sranda Watkins (2G03), Steven McCarty (2G04, Secretary), Sheena Berry (2G05) and Rachelle Nigro (2G06, Vice Chair) were in attendance.

Election of Officers

The ANC elected officers for the year. Rachelle Nigro was elected Chair, Steven McCarty Vice Chair, Sranda Watkins Secretary and Anthony Brown Treasurer.

Third Police District Report

Lieutenant Christopher Vandenburg of the Third Police District started by noting crime for the month was slightly less than it was the year before. There were only two violent incidents in December 2023, compared to 10 in 2022. The number of thefts from auto was up one, but motor vehicle thefts were down one.

Commissioner Berry said that she had mentioned that the police camera at Fifth and O Street was not working. Vandenburg said that was not sure of the camera’s status, but that he would bring the issue to Lieutenant Romeo’s attention.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)

1541 Street NW, Play DC Restaurant and Lounge. There was a settlement agreement proposed for the establishment, however some questions arose at the December 2023 meeting on whether neighbors to the business were aware of the provisions of the agreement. Doug Bunch, whose house is an abutting property to Play DC, and Leila Sidawy, who led a group of five residents protesting the license renewal, attended the January ANC meeting. They said that while the agreement was not perfect, it adequately addresses some issues. There is now a security plan that calls for the business to participate in the District’s Reimbursable Detail Officer program.

Commissioner Nigro asked the protesters if there were still problems with Play DC. Sidawy said she had seen improvements, but there was still a loitering problem that was not easily addressed under District law. Nigro then asked Commissioner Watkins, in whose single member district Play DC is located, if she supported the settlement agreement. Watkins said that she did. Nigro then said that she would support approving the agreement, but that she thought that Play DC would create trouble in the neighborhood in the future. A motion to approve the settlement agreement, ending the protest of the license, passed unanimously.

1126 Ninth Street NW, Don Fuego. A request for a new Medical Cannabis Retailer’s license. This is the first request for a cannabis license in the ANC 2G area, under the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration’s (ABCA) effort to legalize broad sales of marijuana in the District. There are two other stores on the block that operate as “I-71” referendum-based establishments that attempt to get around the lack of regulations for the sale of marijuana. Those two stores have not yet applied to ABCA for legal status.

Don Fuego had been operating as an I-71 establishment since 2015, but the Ninth Street storefront has not yet opened. The operators have worked with Commissioner McCarty to develop a draft settlement agreement. McCarty noted that a licensed shop will actually reduce the saturation of marijuana purveyors in the area. McCarty motioned to support the cannabis license, which won a unanimous vote.

600 T, 600 T Street NW. Request to add a summer garden and also get a stipulated license. The owner had gotten approval for both requests from the ANC in the past, but a problem with the certificate of occupancy led ABCA to rescind the approval for a substantial change in operations. A motion to support the substantial change and the stipulated license was passed by the commission unanimously.

Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)

901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, STK Steak House. An application to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for a public space permit for a partially enclosed and unenclosed sidewalk café. The space on the corner of 10th and Massachusetts Avenue had been previously occupied by another restaurant. Support for the public space permits was approved unanimously.

1100 – 1200 blocks of Fifth Street NW. Commissioner Nigro said that she wanted a resolution requesting the installation of speed bumps along the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Fifth Street to deter drivers turning north and speeding from New York Avenue. The resolution passed unanimously.

Intersection of Sixth and M Streets NW.  Commissioner Nigro also wanted a resolution asking DDOT to conduct a traffic safety investigation at the intersection of Sixth and M Streets. She said that there was a problem of traffic crashes there from cars turning left trying to reach the I-395 entrance on Fourth Street. The resolution passed unanimously.

1000 – 1700 Ninth Street NW. Commissioner Berry said that the entire roadway and the traffic markings along Ninth Street from Mount Vernon Square up to Florida Avenue should be reviewed. After the street was redone to accommodate protected bicycle lanes and incorporate supposed safety measures, there have been traffic tie-ups during deliveries and drivers have been forced to make sudden lane changes. She said that DDOT has to look at Ninth Street again to determine what is and what is not working. Berry’s motion to call for a DDOT traffic safety study of Ninth Street passed unanimously.

ANC Committee Elections

The ANC 2G Bylaws establish one-year terms for committee chairs. However, there were no volunteers for new chairs of the commission’s affected committees. Rachelle Nigro will continue to serve as chair of the Zoning, Planning and Historic Preservation Committee, while Alexander Padro will continue as Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee Chair until new committee chairs are appointed.

ANC 2G will hold its next meeting on Thursday Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc2g.org for more information.