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Posts Tagged ‘GPCA’

From the December 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) has lost its bid to offer tabletop and alcove dancing, at least for the time being. On October 23, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied the strip club’s application to use the small performance spaces after club spokesman Paul Kadlick failed to appear at a hearing on the matter. Kadlick later wrote to the board apologizing for his absence—which he attributed to unexplained tardiness compounded by a Secret Service road closure—and requesting that the club’s application be reinstated. On November 13, the ABC Board denied that request. But there is nothing stopping JP’s from submitting a new application.

Meanwhile, an effort to question the club’s recent liquor license renewal seems to be at an end. On September 18, the ABC Board dismissed a protest of the license renewal by ANC 3B and the Glover Park Citizens’ Association. Because the groups’ joint protest focused the fitness of the club’s owners for licensure rather than the appropriateness of the club to the neighborhood, the Board ruled it “outside the possible grounds” for protest as outlined in the relevant statute. (The ANC recently used the appropriateness argument to get the club’s opening time changed from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) On September 30, the two groups filed a joint request to reinstate their protest, arguing that the Board had misunderstood the statute. On October 16, the Board voted to hear oral arguments in the matter, but on October 23, its members reconsidered their decision to reconsider and voted to deny the reinstatement request without hearing oral arguments. “I feel that we don’t need to hear oral arguments,” said Board member Nick Alberti at the meeting. “If the protestants have relevant information about the licensees’ fitness for licensure, then the Board will be interested in hearing that, and we will deal with it appropriately.” The club’s license will come up for renewal again in 2015.

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Happy Small Business Saturday! As a reminder, Glover Park Citizens’ Association members get discounts at several local merchants. Here are the current deals, per the GPCA website (double-check with merchant before ordering):

Bourbon (2348 Wisconsin Ave.): 10% off your meal
Capitol Termite & Pest Control (5455 Butler Road, Bethesda): 10% off
Heritage India (2400 Wisconsin Ave.): 10% off weekend brunch
Penske Truck Rental, Bethesda, 301-951-0437: 10% off
Sargent Cleaners (2420 Wisconsin Ave.): 10% off dry cleaning
Whole Foods (2323 Wisconsin Ave.): $2 admission to Winesday events (regular price is $5)
Z Burger (2414 Wisconsin Ave.): 10% off

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Mason Inn rooftop designIn January, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B lodged a formal protest to the application of Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) to serve alcohol on a new rooftop deck. Citing a history that includes multiple assaults inside the bar and a pending charge of violating a noise ordinance, the ANC expressed doubt about the bar’s ability to maintain order outdoors.

“ANC 3B feels strongly that the Mason Inn’s long record of disturbing the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood disqualifies it for the privilege of taking its business outside into public space,” wrote Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal in a letter to the chair of the ABC Board. “This is especially relevant given the close proximity of residences to the Mason Inn.” Other formal protests came from ANC 3C, which represents McLean Gardens and Massachusetts Avenue Heights; the Glover Park Citizens Association; and a group of 19 residents and property owners from the 2300 and 2400 blocks of 37th Street, represented by attorney Milton Grossman.

At the same time, many Glover Parkers expressed support of the roof deck plan. More than 150 neighborhood residents sent emails in favor of the deck. In addition, six residents (two sets of housemates) from nearby 37th Street submitted a letter strongly supporting the application, as did two Glover Parkers who live within blocks of the establishment. “It is clear that the ANC 3B is advocating their own agenda and not expressing the wishes of their constituents,” one of these letters states. “There is overwhelming support in the neighborhood for this application and there is talk that some residents may run against the ANC members due to their outrageous behavior.”

The ABC Board identified multiple groups, including ANC 3B, that have legal standing to protest the application. The Mason Inn will negotiate with these groups in an attempt to address their concerns in a modified license application. If a compromise can be reached, the protests will be withdrawn.

In the meantime, The Mason Inn received a warning letter from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration after a December 1 incident in which a visibly intoxicated man was served alcohol at the bar. According to a police report, at about 2:20 a.m., a detective watched a man with very red eyes and slurred speech “stumble to the bar and, while leaning on the bar, order two Bud Light beers.” The bartender served the beers, which were immediately confiscated by the detective “in fear that [the patron] would consume them quickly and become more intoxicated,” the report states. Selling alcohol to drunk people is against D.C. law. The next such incident could lead to charges against the bar, ABRA’s warning letter states.

A hearing on The Mason Inn’s pending noise complaint is scheduled for April 3.

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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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At a meeting last night, ANC 3B voted to extend Glover Park’s liquor license moratorium for three years, while adding two full-service (CR) licenses to the neighborhood’s limit, for a total of 14. (There is no limit on DR licenses, which allow the sale of wine and beer, but not spirits.) The Glover Park Citizens’ Association will vote on whether to endorse the plan at its March 6 meeting.

Although the final decision rests with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, that board typically follows the ANC in such matters. Glover Park’s current moratorium is scheduled to expire in April.

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