Posts Tagged “Jack’s Boathouse”
Today there’s a chance of storms with a high of 88.
To masticate today:
- Open house for the boat house: The National Park Service will hold an open house, have a presentation, and host a Q&A session about possible development scenarios for what used to be Jack’s Boathouse on the Georgetown waterfront. The meeting will be held at the West End Library beginning at 6 p.m.
What to look out for:
- Ewww, bugs!: The Cicada “Swarmaggedon” is here: the loud and large (and harmless) bugs have begun to emerge after being in the ground for 17 years. In the meantime, Vox is going to run to CVS and get some bug spray.
- Free to choose our subs: Jimmy John’s will be opening in Glover Park. No more Hoya Court Subway for Vox!
- From potholes to sinkholes: The Georgetown neighbors can’t really complain about excessive potholes anymore as a sinkhole closes an intersection at 14th and F streets.
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In a preliminary ruling last week, the United States Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Jack’s Boathouse’s case against the D.C. government, in which he claimed that the National Park Service no longer has jurisdiction over the land on which the popular canoe and kayak rental facility sits.
On Jan. 18, the NPS sent out a public notice requesting new tenants after it declined to renew the lease of Jack’s Boathouse in January. Ever since, Jack’s Boathouse’s owner Paul Simkin has been fighting the decision in court. Earlier last month, the NPS selected a winning bidder to take over the site, pending the resolution of the lawsuit.
The court only threw out Jack’s Boathouse’s case against the D.C. government, not the National Park Service, the decision for which will come in a later ruling.
Vox doesn’t quite understand the dense language of the ruling (commenters, lend a hand?), this decision does not bode will for Jack’s Boathouse—a favorite for Georgetown University students.
“[B]ecause [the] Plaintiff lacks constitutional standing with respect to one of its requests for declaratory judgment against the District … the Court shall GRANT the District’s Motion to Dismiss,” the decision read. “The Court shall address the Park Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss by separate order at a later time.”
Presumably, if Simkin lacks constitutional standing for a declaratory judgement with the District, then he also lacks standing to sue the National Park Service as well.
Read the full decision after the jump, courtesy Georgetown Metropolitan!
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The National Park Service has selected a company called B&G Outdoor Recreation to fill the the disputed Georgetown waterfront space currently owned by Jack’s Boathouse, according to a press release.
On Jan. 18, the NPS sent out a public notice requesting new tenants after it declined to renew the lease of Jack’s Boathouse in January. Jack’s is fighting the the NPS in court over claims that the service does not retain jurisdiction the waterfront property anymore.
D.C. still owns the land but transferred authority over to the NPS in 1987 under the condition that there could be no significant amendments to the deed. “There was a 50-page amendment to the deed, and so that is a significant amendment,” said Charles Camp, the legal representative of Paul Simkin, the current owner of Jack’s. “Under the D.C. resolution, I believe the jurisdiction reverted back.” The NPS, however, contends that the license of the company was never formally transferred to Simkin following the death of Jack’s original owner.
Since Simkin believes the NPS had no right to put up the land for auction, he did not put in a bid for the lease.
According to DCist, Simkin said the NPS’s move today violates a court order staying the eviction of Jack’s Boathouse till the end of March. He says he’ll be in court Monday seeking sanctions against the NPS.
B&G Outdoor Recreation, known as “Boating in Boston” operates five boat rental operations in Massachusetts.
Photo: Ryan Sandridge via Flickr
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Jack’s Boathouse, a popular Georgetown canoe and kayak rental establishment that has operated since 1945, is filing a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia this week to prevent the National Park Service from evicting it on Jan. 31, according to Washington City Paper.
NPS, which has leased the waterfront property to Jack’s Boathouse since October 1973, has not said why it is attempting to evict the business, though it plans to proceed with an open bidding session for the site.
Jack’s owner, Paul Simkin, and his attorney, Charles Camp, claim that the NPS no longer has jurisdiction over the land. The two brought attention to a 1985 D.C. Council resolution, which transferred jurisdiction of the Georgetown waterfront from D.C. to the federal government. They said the resolution specified that the land would return to the city in the case of amendments to a related deed and that two amendments had been made.
A 1987 letter between the NPS and the mayor’s office complicates the situation even further. In the letter, then-mayor Marion Barry and NPS National Capital Regional Director Manus J. Fish. agreed that the land would only revert to D.C. once amendments have been made other than those that are “technical or insubstantial.”
Camp said the letter and the resolution contradict each other and that the wording does not give NPS “blanket authority” over leased properties. However, Peter May, NPS’s associate regional director for the National Capital Region, told City Paper, that he believes the letter makes it clear that the Park Service still retains full authority over the Georgetown waterfront.
Patch reported that Simkin and his attorney brought the issue to the attention of the D.C. Attorney General’s office in the hopes that they would file suit, but the office would not make a public statement or offer an opinion in regards to the issue.
Camp said that they would sue any other business that attempts to operate on the site if NPS awards them the contract.
Voice News will have the full details of the Jack’s Boathouse legal controversy in the print issue Thursday.
Photo: Hilary Nakasone/Georgetown Voice
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Update: Georgetown Patch reported Thursday that the National Park Service has put the eviction on hold for the time being due to public outcry. It remains unclear how long the NPS will continue leasing the waterfront property to the boathouse.
Original Post: The Georgetowner reported late last week that Jack’s Boathouse, the popular canoe and kayak rental establishment on the Potomac River, will lose its lease on Jan. 31 of next year. The National Park Service has been leasing the waterfront property out to Jack’s Boathouse on a monthly basis since October 1973 and has not said why it is evicting the Georgetown landmark, which has operated continuously since 1945.
According to the Washington Post, four years ago, current owner Paul Simkin liquidated about $300,000 of his retirement assets to upgrade and renovate the boathouse. Since then, business has expanded in size to serve 72,000 customers—up from 4,000 a few years ago.
In response to the news of the impending closure, a page on Facebook to save Jack’s Boathouse has cropped up and gathered over 600 likes. The page even includes a petition to the President to halt the closure of the boathouse.
The National Park Service informed Jack’s Boathouse of its decision to terminate its lease by a form letter, according to the Georgetowner:
“The Jack’s Boathouse family is heartbroken that after 70 years on the same location, we are told in a form letter that we must be out by 30 days,” Simkin said. “Hearing this at Christmastime will be a huge blow to our 27 employees at Jack’s Boathouse who are losing their jobs which makes this even harder.”
Simkin told the Post that he plans to sell the business’s 300 boats and lay off its 27 employees. As part of revoking the lease, the owner is responsible for breaking up the dock and removing everything from the property.
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These days, $1,000,000 won’t get you very far—at least not on the shores of the Potomac.
Despite spending seven figures on lobbying efforts aimed to get the National Park Service to approve the construction of a new boathouse in the C&O Canal National Historic Park, the University hasn’t gotten the NPS to budge an inch.
In fact, Georgetown’s dreams of a new boathouse may be slipping further away, according to the Georgetown Current‘s Carol Buckley. In last week’s issue [PDF] of the Current, Buckley reported that “new information” led the NPS to “expand the scope” of its Environmental Impact Study.
The unnamed information is “significant enough to lead to additional public meetings,” according to NPS spokesperson Bill Line, who Buckley interviewed. “I cannot say when the entire process is going to be completed,” Line said.
When coupled with the University’s dwindling payments to the Carmen Group, the lobbying firm hired to push NPS to approve the plan, this new focus on the Environmental Impact Survey suggests that the chances of a new boathouse are slim.
From January to March of 2010, the University paid $5,000 to the Carmen Group, which follows the spending pattern it established in the last half of 2009. So, what did the University get for $5,000?
“No direct contact with the National Park Service, but ongoing consultation[s] with Georgetown with regard to environmental documentation,” according to public disclosure forms.
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This is exactly what it’s going to look like
What do you get when cross “elite Washington field office of the FBI and a team of agents with exceptional and diverse skills who are called together for only the most critical cases” in a TV show?
Exploding boats! Visible from the Key Bridge!
That’s right—in the coming weeks, CBS Paramount will be filming the pilot for their new show, “Washington Field,” and the first shot of the pilot will involve an exploding sculling boat near Jack’s Boathouse, according to an email from a District Department of Transportation employee:
In the scene, there will be six sculling boats on the Potomac River and one of them blows up. The special effect simulating the explosion will occur on Wednesday March 25th between 9:30am and 12:00p.
NOTE: It will NOT blow the boat into a million little pieces. Instead there will be a 20′ to 30′ high fire ball that will last approximately two seconds. All material will be vaporized and there may be a small plume of smoke. The sound will be a low thud; not a loud bang.
Cool! Georgetown Metropolitan thinks that the show itself sounds totally lame. But who cares! There’s gonna be a “plume”! Explosions!
Full text of the email! After the jump!
Update: Josh Friedman of the D.C. Film Office reiterates the whole “seriously guys, this is not a big deal” line on the Post’s D.C. Wire:
“That word is misleading,” [Friedman] said, trying to calm any concern. “It will be a self-contained pyrotechnic special effect. ….. It’s actually out on the water. Nothing is being blown up.
There’s no impact or force of any kind. I think there was some indication that a boat was going to be blown up, and that’s not the case.”
Okay? Don’t worry.
“It will last for two seconds, not two minutes. It’s really just going to be a flash of light and a puff of smoke, and it will be vaporized into the air in seconds. Really. I mean, if you blink, you’ll miss it. It’s really a nonevent.”
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