At the July meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E, the commissioners took another vote on a revised Cloakroom settlement agreement before the establishment met with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to discuss a liquor license change. The commissioners also updated the status of a vacant 6E seat.
Commissioners Alex Padro (6E01, chair), Anthony Brown (6E02, secretary), Frank Wiggins (6E03, vice chair), Alex Marriott (6E05, treasurer), and Kevin Rogers (6E07) made up the quorum.
Cloakroom Settlement Agreement
The gentlemen’s club Cloakroom, located at 476 K St. NW, has been closed since May 2014, and the proprietors would like to reopen it with a rooftop addition. Doing so would require a liquor license change with ABRA that would permit the serving of alcohol on the new addition until 2:00 a.m. during the week and 3:00 a.m. on weekends. Several highrise condo units surround the property, and the agreement has been met with backlash from area residents. The Cloakroom was scheduled to meet with ABRA on July 19 to discuss the license change and present a settlement agreement that would address concerns from the community. Commissioner Marriott announced the hearing date and raised a motion to hold a special meeting to oppose or support the finalized agreement on July 18.
Cloakroom representatives previously met with the commission to solicit support for a settlement agreement during the March and June meetings that would include a rooftop enclosure and other measures that would limit sound escaping outside. The agreement was voted down on both occasions due to community input not playing a larger role during the agreement process. The commission unanimously agreed to Marriott’s motion.
The commission met two weeks later to discuss the revised agreement at a special meeting. The agreement was negotiated by an attorney and sound engineer who represented 128 protesters that reside near the property. The agreement set a sound limit of 60 decibels, which is human voice level. The plan is to build a rooftop enclosure and install sound meters that will record and store sound for 30 days. All sounds will be taken into account, which will include screaming, background music, and loud parties. At any time, a member of the commission can read the meter results and see if the 60-decibel limit has been broken.
The agreement showed that Cloakroom representatives were open by expressing that they wanted to be good neighbors and abide by the rules. The 128 protesters who opposed the original agreement came out in favor of the new measures taken to mitigate sound. Marriott noted that the new agreement is stronger and more enforceable and that the community and Cloakroom can move forward without bad blood. “It is important that the community’s interests were represented in the settlement agreement,” said Marriott.
The commission motioned, 3-2, to send a letter of support for the new agreement to ABRA.
Vote on Vacant 6E04 Seat to be Held During September Meeting
Three candidates have filed petitions with the Board of Elections to fill the 6E04 vacancy. Write-ins will not be allowed, and only 6E04 residents will be allowed to vote for the certified candidates, Miguel Ayala, David Jaffe, and Sterlicia Rodney.
The vote will be held on Sept. 5 at 6:35 p.m. during the ANC 6E meeting. A ballot box will be placed inside the meeting room, and each candidate will have an observer available to watch the voting. After the polls close at 7:35 p.m., two designated poll workers will open the box and count the votes. The results will be read to the commissioners during the meeting, and the commission will then vote on the winner to fill the vacancy.
Commission Supports Child Development Center Expansion
Bright Beginnings Deputy Director Doris Dupree requested support from the commission for expansion of a child development center before meeting with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). The center, located at 128 M St. NW on the first floor of the Perry School Community Center, started over 25 years ago to cater to homeless kids between the ages of six weeks and five years. The program offers educational services to children while their parents are looking for a job. The goal is to get the children kindergarten-ready by the time they leave the program so that they don’t appear to have been homeless. The center is licensed to take up to 98 children and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. during the week.
Dupree said that in order to provide services the center has had to double the staff and will need to expand. It currently has 28 teachers, and all but five have degrees in the childcare field. Those without a degree have met the required certificate requirements. Along with speech and physical therapists there are volunteers to support the staff. The center gives support to the children’s parents, guardians, and extended family during and after the program.
The commission passed a motion to send a letter of support to BZA for the expansion.
Commission Supports Housing Expansion
A representative of a three-unit apartment house located at 1400 Fifth St. NW requested support for BZA expansion to convert it into four, two-level units. The property is vacant, and the representative is trying to upgrade it. Commissioner Brown has met with the applicant and reviewed the blueprints. “The applicant has done his due diligence and the design is consistent with the makeup of the community,” said Brown.
The commission passed a motion to support the request with a stipulation that the petitioner includes support letters from adjacent property owners when meeting with the BZA.
6E Quick Hits
– The commission postponed a vote on a support request from Chaplin’s restaurant, located at 1501 Ninth St. NW, for a new enclosed sidewalk cafe, owing to the applicant’s not submitting the plans to the Historic Preservation Review Board.
– The commission supported a permit request for New Covenant Evangelistic Center to hold an event at O Street Park on July 22.
– The Metropolitan Police Department reported no homicides, two robberies excluding a gun, and three assaults with a dangerous weapon during June. It also reported 30 total property crimes: one burglary, 15 thefts, 12 thefts from auto, and two stolen autos.
ANC 6E will not meet during August and will reconvene at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 at the Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library, located at 1630 Seventh St. NW. Steve Holton can be contacted at email@example.com.