With everyone’s favorite amateur photog soliciting ANC support, a bi-decennial liquor license moratorium discussion, a Late Night Shots founder pushing for greater leeway for his new restaurant, and a debate about the relative merits of pizza and crepes as drunk food, May’s ANC meeting was about as exciting as they come.
Stalker Becomes Stalkee? DrunkenGeorgetownStudents.com founder Stephen R. Brown made an appearance yesterday’s meeting, donning a Canadian Tuxedo and asking the ANC to make a statement against students threatening residents. Brown claimed he has been stalked and threatened by students because of his website. Burleith Citizens Association President Lenore Rubino chimed in her support, saying that she knows of other residents who have been threatened and intimidated by students.
The ANC did not make an official motion on the issue, but they did do some speechifying against harassment. ANC Chair Ron Lewis declared, “We abhor threats to our residents” and encouraged Brown to work with the Metropolitan Police Department to address the issue. Lt. John Hedgcock said he was aware of one incident of threatening behavior towards Brown and that MPD is “actively investigating” it.
Crêpe Amour: The Next Philly P? When campus media was looking to anoint the heir to Philly P, they largely left out Crêpe Amour, the new M Street creperie. But the ANC has their suspicions about the restaurant, which is petitioning to extend its operating hours. The restaurant went into yesterday’s meeting hoping to secure permission to operate 24 hours a day. But the ANC, still healing its Philly P-induced wounds, was not having it.
“We’ve been through such incredible brain damage right around the corner,” Commissioner Bill Skelsey said. “What’s the difference between crepes and pizza?”
Crêpe Amour’s representative tried to back away from the 24-hour request, floating a 2 a.m. closing time instead, and the ANC’s Student Representative Aaron Golds testified that drunk college students actually are not equally fond of crepes and jumbo slices, but in the end the ANC agreed that further meetings would be necessary to hammer out an agreement.
After the jump, read about the exciting world of Voluntary Agreements and liquor license moratoriums!
LNS, Meet ANC: Remember last June when neighbors freaked out about the business moving in to the old Georgetown Billiards space? You know, the one that was actually a nightclub posing as a restaurant? The one that ANC Commissioner Bill Starrels reassured, “cannot be party central, cannot be a nightclub; it would be virtually impossible for them to legally run anything other than a restaurant,” without changing the previous tenant’s Voluntary Agreement?
Well, fast forward about a year, and the new business, George, is—if Yelp is to be believed—what would happen if “Smithpoint and Gin & Tonic banged out and had a love child.” And George’s owners—Late Night Shots masterminds Reed Landry and Hunter Campell and KStreet Lounge veteran David Chung—want to craft a new Voluntary Agreement.
Needless to say, the debate between George’s owners and lawyer and the ANC was … testy. Things got off to a poor start when the ANC wanted to dive into the nitty gritty and Chung interjected, “Hold on a sec, let’s introduce ourselves.”
“No, you hold on a sec!” a feisty Lewis retorted.
Lewis then quoted from an email he’d received from one of the partners which ended on this ominous note: “I was a trial attorney in D.C. for 10 years before starting my own business. Litigation is not only costly and time-consuming, but can result in some very surprising and unpleasant outcomes.”
The core issue seemed to be the establishment’s capacity, which is currently set at 99 under the current Voluntary Agreement. George’s lawyer argued that it was unclear whether the term referred to “capacity” or “occupancy,” but the ANC did not seem terribly impressed by his line of argument. Given how fraught the issue of seating in the Georgetown Court complex is, it seems like upping George’s capacity allowance is going to be a hard sell.
The George discussion ended after Chung accused Lewis and Starrels of blowing him off when he tried to meet with them. The two sides agreed more private discussion was needed before a final presentation on amending the Voluntary Agreement could be made.
Five More Years: Georgetown’s liquor license moratorium, which limits how many neighborhood businesses may sell alcohol, must be renewed every five years, and it’s up for review this year. While the ANC is generally not known for loosening liquor laws, they passed a resolution allowing for an additional seven liquor licenses to be introduced into the moratorium zone (there are currently 86 active licenses in the area, according to the Washington Business Journal).
The ANC and the Citizens Association of Georgetown were originally intending to up the number of license by just two, but the business community convinced them that more drastic measures were necessary since there are currently 14 fewer liquor licenses in use in Georgetown than there were under the original moratorium. According to Starrels, the attrition is due to restaurants moving out of the moratorium zone or “safekeeping” their licenses when they go out of business.