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May 2018 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes – Tuesday May 15, 2018
The meeting was held at the Gingras Center, 1419 V St NW, at 7 pm.
(Note the April meeting was cancelled.)

Board members included Chris Young, Christina Parascandola, and Monika Pamp. Visitors included DC Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Tai Meah from the office of CM Nadeau, and Mohammed Rashed and Hani Abo Awad for Pal Mediterranean Spot. A quorum was present.

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
Councilmember Nadeau provided an update from the day’s budget hearing, among other things, reporting that (1) funding was allocated to provide full-time staff at Harrison Recreation Center (this is widely viewed as needed and the news was well-received); (2) it is possible that Harrison Park and Recreation Center will have a program partner, but it will not be the Anthony Bowen YMCA as previously considered; (3) she succeeded in securing funding for a dog park in Columbia Heights; (4) weekend pool hours will resume at Marie Reed in fiscal year 2019, as well as morning hours at outdoor pools; and (5) the schools budget is adequate for the year. she also reported on criminal justice reform and social integration, and issues of access to justice and legal representation for the immigrant community.

15th and U Sunoco station
A concerned resident who raised an issue of unnecessary noise ricocheting up the new alley caused by the new Berkshire 15 apartments was not in attendance. We discussed possible interventions and solutions to the problem, and will continue the discussion.

Meridian Hill Park Cooperation
Chris reported that interest in improving the Park seems strong this year. He has heard from residents of the Northumberland on New Hampshire who are interested in working on several improvements such as turf, painted benches, etc. They have been corresponding with NPS about these potential projects and the associated budget. He also received other inquiries from a resident of the 1300 block of Corcoran, among others. We discussed working with Commissioner Ackerman, Washington Parks and People, or other groups. The discussion will continue. The Rita Bright project will earmark 15 of the 50 units for seniors.

ABRA License Renewals / Updates

Mediterranean Spot
Pal The Mediterranean Spot (ABRA-092484) has submitted a Request for Substantial Change to ABRA to extend its hours of alcohol sales to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. We had a long discussion. Mr. Rashed stated that the establishment currently averages about $70 per night in alcohol sales. He also stated that he wants to increase the sales, as well as that there is no live music allowed, and that he is not requesting extending hours of the outside seating area. Concerns raised include that the request contradicts earlier statements made during the original application process, that it represents a change in operations away from being a restaurant to an alcohol centered business, proximity to multiple residences, loud patrons in the outside area, inappropriate placement and use of trash storage facilities, and blocking of rear alley egress of neighbors. Members also noted that most alcohol licensed establishments in the area have a substantive settlement agreement on file. Mr. Rashed stated that he is willing toward an agreement “but can’t promise anything.” Members present voted unanimously to protest the application for substantial change.

Chris in his personal capacity noted his support for a Group of 5 that was dismissed from an ABRA proceeding due to an ANC signing a settlement agreement, even when it was not a party to the proceeding.

Executive Session
Following the open meeting, members of the MHNA Board met briefly and confirmed that the bylaws permit an Officer to retain his or her position for the entire calendar year for which he or she was elected, whether or not he or she continues to reside in the Association boundaries for the entirety of that year.

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