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Posts Tagged ‘ABC Board’

On June 25, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted to extend alcohol sales at Safeway (1855 Wisconsin Ave.) by two hours in the morning. The grocer is now approved to sell beer and wine from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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The Glover Park Citizens’ Association is holding a special meeting on Tuesday, August 13 at 7 p.m. to vote on whether to support two Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B resolutions regarding JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.). The strip club reopened in June under new ownership, four years after its original building was destroyed by a fire. The meeting will be held at Stoddert Elementary School (4001 Calvert St.).

The resolutions—which the ANC passed in July—oppose the recent reactivation of JP’s liquor license and also the proposed use of tabletops and alcoves in the bar for semi-private dancing.

An Alcoholic Beverage Control Board hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14 at 9:30 a.m.

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From the May 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Construction delays have pushed the reopening of JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) into June, says managing partner Phil Mathew. “Things happen, minor things, like the lead time for a light fixture could be a little longer than expected,” Mathew says. “I’m not settling for mediocrity when it comes to our build-out. I want it to look exactly like the architect’s rendering.”

The decades-old strip club is being rebuilt after a January, 2008 fire destroyed its original building. The new interior will look like “more of a high-end lounge than a gentleman’s club,” Mathew says. “It’s well-lit, it’s not anything seedy.” The space will feature black walls with TVs in light oak frames, with a dark custom-made wood bar, he adds. The club’s staff will total about 30 people, including dancers, servers, and security personnel.

The club’s liquor license is currently in a dormant status called “safekeeping”; it must be reactivated before the club can operate. Once that happens, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B and near neighbors will be allowed to lodge formal protests of the license with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, as they are certain to do.

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An unsigned website created yesterday is collecting names on a petition to end Glover Park’s liquor license moratorium. “We support permanently ending the restaurant liquor license (CR licenses) moratorium in Glover Park,” states the site’s manifesto. Doing so “will create new potential possibilities for many of the retail vacancies in Glover Park, not just now, but in the future as well.”

The site, gpmoratorium.com, argues that Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B’s February 9 vote to preserve the license cap, while increasing the number of available CR licenses to 14, perpetuates a barrier to new restaurants in the neighborhood by inflating the price of each available license. CR licenses allow service of all alcoholic beverages. (There is no limit to the number of DR—i.e., beer and wine—licenses in Glover Park, though only one local restaurant, Café Romeo’s, holds such a license.)

The website urges like-minded neighbors to attend the Glover Park Citizens’ Association meeting on March 6 and vote in support of repeal. Since only dues-paying members can vote, the site encourages readers to bring checkbooks if they haven’t yet paid the $20 annual dues. But non-members with checkbooks will be in for a surprise: according to GPCA officials, the association has a 30-day waiting period before new members can vote.

(UPDATE: People who joined GPCA at the March 6 meeting were barred from voting there, but new members who had paid their dues one or more days previously were allowed to vote, attendees tell us. Nevertheless, the vote went in favor of the ANC’s moratorium plan—though moratorium opponents believe it might have gone the other way if prospective members had known they’d be allowed to vote if they joined before March 6. The vote tally was 29-4, and the anti-moratorium petition now has more than 100 signatories.

In fact, moratorium opponents have questioned the validity of barring any new members from voting. The GPCA bylaws posted on the GPCA website do not specify a 30-day waiting period for new members. Rather, they state that “[A]ny person who seeks to reinstate his or her membership” by paying dues at a meeting “shall not be reinstated for voting purposes until the next meeting following the meeting in which the dues were tendered.” According to GPCA president Pat Clark, “there has been a long time practice of waiting 30 days, I’m told by other presidents, that goes back for perhaps 15 or 20 years or more.” Long-term GPCA members recalled a vote codifying this waiting period, and are currently researching past meeting minutes to try to discover the wording, she says, adding that “this issue may be overcome by events, as we are in the process of making some amendments to our bylaws, and the new wording will be more explicit so that we don’t have to interpret it.”

Says Joe Kildea, a spokesman for the anti-moratorium group, “While we applaud the GPCA’s efforts to clarify the bylaws and create an enforced standard, it is at least concerning that the organization only did so after being called out for suppressing a vote. Consistent bylaws are an item of basic competence for a community association and hopefully this will encourage more residents of Glover Park to participate in our community.”)

Neither the ANC nor the GPCA has final say on whether the moratorium is extended after it expires in April. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will decide that, though by law it must give “great weight” to the ANC’s vote.

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From the February 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The long-vacant Margarita’s Restaurant storefront (2317 Wisconsin Ave.) is under contract to be sold—and there could be a scuffle for the restaurant’s unused liquor license. Licensee Maria Villalta has been holding onto the license since her restaurant closed in 2008, because she hoped to re-rent the building, either from her former landlord or from a new owner. (The building was listed for sale at $1.315 million last March.)

But Villalta’s former landlord recently notified her that the building was under contract and that the future owners wanted to buy her license, she told the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at a January 11 hearing. “I was hoping to reopen the place,” Villalta said at the hearing. “So now it’s like, OK, I will sell the license.”

Intriguingly, Villalta has also heard from the leasing agent for the JP’s building across the street, according to Jonathan Wilson, a friend who accompanied her to the hearing. The agent wrote Villalta a letter stating that he knows several people who might be interested in buying her license to use at 2412 Wisconsin Ave., Wilson told the ABC Board.

Due to the Glover Park license moratorium, anyone who wants to serve hard liquor at a restaurant in the neighborhood must acquire an existing license. (Restaurants can apply to serve beer and wine without regard to the moratorium.) The only two restaurant liquor licenses currently available are the license held by Villalta and the one that was used by Town Hall at its former location, 2218 Wisconsin Ave., which is being offered as a package deal with a lease on that building.

Villalta told the ABC Board that she was willing to sell to anyone. “I will sell the
license, and I will do it as soon as somebody comes with an offer, either the building on 2317 or the other across the street,” she said. “I’m open.”

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From the November 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) finally has a new owner: as the Gazette foretold, a man named Brian Petruska now controls the dormant strip club’s liquor license. The original JP’s building was destroyed in a January 2008 fire, and the replacement structure has sat vacant for more than a year. But on October 19, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved an application to transfer the club’s recently renewed liquor license from BJ Enterprises—a company held by longtime JP’s owner Michael Papanicolas—to Wisconsin Ventures LLC, a company held by Petruska, who is identified on the application as President/Secretary and Manager of Wisconsin Ventures.

According to the application, the business will not change substantially with the transfer: when it reopens, JP’s will be a restaurant serving sandwiches and burgers and featuring “non-sexually oriented nude dancers,” whatever those are. In September, the ABC Board ruled that neighbors would be allowed to formally challenge the liquor license before the club reopens. A recent neighborhood challenge to the license’s renewal was unsuccessful, though it did result in a later start time for nude dancing.

The phone number listed on the transfer application as the JP’s “business telephone” was not in service, and we have been unable to locate Petruska for comment.

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From the October 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Before JP’s Night Club reopens in its former space at 2412 Wisconsin Ave., the strip club—closed since a January 2008 fire—must face a new challenge to its liquor license, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has ruled. Though the club recently won a license renewal over neighbors’ protests, neighbors will get a second opportunity to protest the license when the building’s interior is completed and the bar is set to open, according to a September 14 ABC Board ruling. James Charles, a representative for the club’s owner, has said that the prospect of a second protest period might scare off an investor planning to pay for interior renovations to the reconstructed building. Charles did not respond to a request for comment.

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