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September 2016 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday September 20, 2016, 7:00 pm
The meeting was held at Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street NW.

Introductions / Etc.
Members present included Board members Chris Young, Christina Parascandola, and Monika Pamp. as well as Jack Farmer, Adam Conner, and Kurt Staiger. Guests included several residents of Florida Avenue, Belmont St., and 15th St., including Brett Wallace, Dara Katz, and Pierre Moster.

Franklin Hall, Proposed Tavern at 1346 Florida Avenue
This proposed tavern (ABRA license 103899) would be a sizeable beer hall at 1346 Florida Avenue (the Manhattan Laundry building). According to the ABRA placard, the proposed tavern would have a total occupancy capacity of 232 patrons, including 40 in an outside seating area.  The proposal would also include live music, inside and out, dancing, and allow for a cover charge for entry. Hours for the establishment, including alcohol sales and consumption, would run from 8am to 2am Sundays through Thursdays, and from 8am to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Also according to the placard, hours for live music, inside and out would run from 6pm to 2am Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Several neighbors to the proposed establishment, including members and non-members, attended the meeting and discussed the proposal. Chris Young explained what the placard means, including the various deadlines it establishes, and provided an overview of the ABRA process for community involvement. Meeting attendees had questions about where the outdoor seating would be located, as well as other questions about the planned operation. Unfortunately, an invited representative of Franklin Hall did not attend.
Neighbors and others in attendance at the meeting expressed concern about the size of the establishment (232 patrons), noise (both from the establishment itself and from inebriated patrons leaving), the impacts on parking and traffic including from ride services and taxis on the already-crowded residential street, and other concerns. Some expressed concern that the new 7-11 store attracts people after 3 a.m. already, and may become a noisy magnet after last call.
After discussion, Jack Farmer moved and Adam Conner seconded a motion that MHNA vote to protest the proposed license on grounds of peace order and quiet, effect on traffic and pedestrian safety, and effect on real property values, and that MHNA attempt to pursue an appropriate settlement agreement. The motion passed with a vote of 5 to 0 of members still present at the time of the vote, with zero abstentions.

ABRA License Renewals / Updates
Residents of Union Row have been leading negotiations with the establishment’s owner.  They are ongoing, and it appears that a mutually agreeable settlement agreement likely will be reached.
No other establishments were discussed or raised concerns.

New Business / Announcements

1355/1357 U St NW (Republic Gardens)
Chris Young described the proposed residential tower with residential space plus 33 condominiums (with 2 or 3 being affordable), and the requested zoning relief (only 3 parking spaces as opposed to the normally required 12, reduced rear setback, and others)—among other reasons due to financial hardship of complying with the “of right” requirements. The conversation noted that the developer requesting a variance should bear a burden of proof that meeting the requirements is an actual burden, but that the developer, Goldstar Group, did not appear to submit financial pro forma statements at all. Based on this discussion, members voted 5 – 0 to support having Chris oppose the variances at the upcoming hearing before the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment. 

Next meeting: October 18, 2016

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