ANC 6C Opposes Nightclub Planned Beside Veteran Residences

ANC 6C Report

843

At their monthly meeting on Sept. 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6C) voted unanimously to protest a liquor license for Town 2, a new home for LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique. It also voted to earmark $10,000 for potential legal counsel through the process.

The original Town Danceboutique (2009 Eighth St. NW) closed in June 2018 after the building was purchased by a developer planning to build luxury apartments. The proposed new location is the former home of St. Philips Baptist Church (1001 North Capitol St. NE), which was sold to Douglas Development in 2017.

Town 2 submitted an application for a Class C Nightclub license with an entertainment endorsement, including DJ, dancing and drag shows. The application includes total interior occupancy of 524 and 125 outside, with hours from noon to 4 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and noon to 5 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The proposed location is mere feet from the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence (1005 North Capitol St. NE). That residence was constructed in 2014 in collaboration between a developer and non-profit Community Solutions to create housing for people at low-income levels, with a focus on veterans.

At the meeting, Community Solutions Representative Chapman Todd said that the 124-unit building houses 68 formerly homeless veterans who are on average about 66 years in age.

Todd said that as each Conway apartment has operable windows, the impact of club noise on residents is a major concern.

“Knowing how this process works, we have no choice but to oppose this to have any meaningful conversation,” said Todd.

Nightclub owner John Guggenmos acknowledged that the pursuit of a Settlement Agreement was inhibited by the fact that design and engineering for the club had not been completed at this early stage.

He said that the club would be designed to inhibit noise transmission on all sides of the building, adding that the terms of the lease also require work to the exterior structure of the historic building, helping to restore the building and to improve acoustical integrity.

“I get it: it’s the science. Can we not impact your residents? There is no disagreement and no surprise,” said Guggenmos, who himself is the Vice-Chair of ANC 2F.

“Either we will be confident, or we’ll withdraw the application,” Guggenmos added.

Commissioner for the area Drew Courtney (6C06) said that he did not think the issues with the application could be resolved by a Settlement Agreement. He recommended the ANC earmark funds for legal advice, saying that he thought the conversation could grow complicated.

“In general, I think bringing in new business and entertainment establishments is great for our neighborhood, and I like the creative re-use of buildings,” Courtney said, “and I want to name that I think it’s important that there are LGBT spaces in our neighborhood and in the District. But, as Chapman alludes to, there are really specific problems with this kind of establishment in this kind of location that I think are beyond what we can reasonably accommodate with a Settlement Agreement.”

Calvin Johnson lives in the Conway Residences. Speaking at the meeting, he said he came to represent his fellow residents. He said that living in the apartments gives many of the residents, including himself, a chance to renew themselves and make their lives better. Many, he said, have struggled with homelessness, substance abuse and alcoholism.

“The veterans do not need to be placed near a location that serves alcohol,” he told the commissioners. “I truly believe that.”

Controversy Over Logan School Buses
Representatives of the DC Public Schools (DCPS) and parents at Capitol Hill Montessorri at Logan (CHM@L, 215 G St. NE) discussed issues with the location chosen for bus pick-up and drop-off. The school, which serves children from Pre-K3 to Grade 8, is undergoing a two-year renovation. Parents have the option of dropping students at the CHM@L site to be bussed to the swing space at the Meyer School building (2501 11th St. NW).

The Commission voted to recommend that buses instead load and unload on Second Street NE, writing a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to request signage prohibiting parking at the location from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays.

Currently, buses are loading and disembarking on Third Street NE, double-parking on the road and disrupting traffic. ANC Commissioner for the area Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) said that there had been no signage to prevent parking and no notice to either the ANC or to many of the parents of the decision to use the street.

Parent representative Danica Petroshius requested that a crossing guard be installed at whatever site is ultimately selected in addition to an inclement weather cover for children to wait under.

In Other Matters
The Commission voted to:

  • Write a letter to DDOT asking them to clarify plans in regard to a bike lane going Southwest along Maryland to Stanton Park at C Street NE.
  • Support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application (4-0-2) for special exception to lot occupancy requirements for a rear addition at 310 Fifth St. NE. A neighbor had objected due to the effect on her quality of life, views, light and privacy, arguing that the most impacted spaces are those most used in the house.
  • Support a $3,000 grant to Ludlow-Taylor Elementary to assist with the FoodPrints Program, a nutrition, cooking, science and gardening program. The grant would allow expansion of the program to all classes and students and facilitate the purchase of cooking and scientific equipment.

The Commission unanimously voted to support the following on consent:

  • Approve an entertainment endorsement for Streets Market (51 M St. NE)
  • Protest the license renewal and change to Class C tavern License from Brothers Burger Bar (707 H St. NE)
  • Support the creation of a trial ‘Micromobility Corral’, a parking-space blocked off to drop scooters at Second and F Streets NE
  • Support a proposed 17-dock Capital Bikeshare Station at First and K Streets NE
  • Ask DDOT to change the bike lane on the 300 block of M Street NE to the south side to match 200 block and avoid street crossing, and to address issues with intersection of M and Fourth Streets
  • Support an application to the DDOT Public Space Committee for construction of second and third story bay windows that will extend into public space at ‘Storey Park’ (First and L Streets NE).
  • Approve the updated concept design as part of an Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for Logan School (215 G St. NE), with notes on inconsistencies between drawings
  • Support a BZA application to allow a massage parlor at 609 H St. NE
  • Support a requested waiver for set-down period for an application for a revision to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) at Eighth and H Streets NE. If the wait is cut by two days the application could be heard at the November meeting of the Zoning Commission.

All six members of ANC 6C were present at the July 10th meeting: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (Vice-Chair, 6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05, Treasurer) and Drew Courtney (6C06).

ANC 6C meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every other month in the ground floor conference room at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. NE). NOTE EXCEPTION: Next month, the ANC will meet at 7 p.m. ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER, 10th. Learn more at anc6c.org.