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ANC 6C Meeting Wednesday October 9
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ANC 6C Meeting Wednesday October 9

October 8th, 2013 by Maria Helena Carey · 9 Comments · Capitol Hill

What: ANC 6C meeting

When: Wednesday, October 9th, 7 pm

Where: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE

Why: Because you want to know what’s going on in your Advisory Neighborhood Committee and you want to get to know the neighbors who are involved in local politics.

Also, because there is an ongoing saga with the fate of 301 Massachusetts Ave. NE, the space formerly occupied by Indian restaurant The White Tiger.

301 Massachusetts NE. Photo by María Helena Carey

301 Massachusetts NE. Photo by María Helena Carey

After several months of waiting, the current owner of the space is seeking an alcohol license that would allow incoming establishment Romeo and Juliet to stay open and serve alcohol until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. While many business owners and some neighbors feel that Massachusetts Avenue can handle a higher traffic and that increased nighttime activity would be desirable and profitable, the neighbors do not share this sentiment. (Full disclosure: I am one of those close neighbors.) This is a feeling that goes beyond this part of the neighborhood, however: recently, a piece in the Prince of Petworth blog discussed how a new restaurant, The American, may negatively affect Blagden Alley when it opens. A while back, Dulce, a restaurant in the space now occupied by The B Spot, found it too hard to convince the neighbors to grant it a liquor license; it closed some time later.

The back of the restaurant opens up into a narrow alley where there are signs of litter and neglect. Photo by María Helena Carey

The back of the restaurant opens up into a narrow alley where there are signs of litter and neglect. Photo by María Helena Carey

TruOrleans, which closed amid a frenzy of terrible stories and an epic server-patron fight last month, was a constant pain to the area’s neighbors, who frequently had to deal with excessive noise, parking woes, public urination, and many other complaints.

While it would be wonderful not to see the corner of 3rd and Massachusetts dark, abandoned, and accumulating newspapers and empty cans of Miller Lite, and while it would be great to welcome more retail and another good restaurant to the area near Union Station,  it’s not worthwhile to let an owner neglect his property just so he can try to negotiate keeping his place longer than the other restaurants in the immediate area.

Litter under the stairs at The White Tiger's former locale. There are many signs of neglect all around the property. Photo by María Helena Carey

Litter under the stairs at The White Tiger’s former locale. There are many signs of neglect all around the property. Photo by María Helena Carey

This part of the Hill is already neglected by transient Hill neighbors –some of whom stick around to call the Hill home, but many of whom are here for only a short amount of time and do not have to deal with the long-term effects of having a late-night establishment so close to them for years.

If you want to have your voice heard regarding this issue, come this Wednesday, 7 p.m., to the Heritage Foundation.

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  • peter

    the place is vacant thats why there is litter around it. You havnt even given a chance for the tenant to do anything. The tenant who will operate the bis is not the landlord in most situations. This post makes little sense

  • wmichaeljones

    Five cans of miller lite… under a staircase… in an alley. I find it hard to get worked up over that. Also, it’s a rather spurious comparison to Blagden Alley (though I too strongly protest any more Xavier mediocrity anywhere in the district). So what? All developments, businesses, etc., will have some negative consequences, but many will also have good ones too. The best thing a neighborhood can do is honestly evaluate if the good outweighs the bad. Folks on the hill often fixate on what they want, rather than what they can get. Retail probably is not coming to the former White Tiger. So rather than write of R&J before it has even opened, why not give it a shot and be part of the process instead of an immovable road block?

    (Also, my opinion is meant to be applied generally. Not meaning to call out the author, who I’m sure is a delightful person and neighbor and just wants good things for the community:)

  • brack65

    wow, i didn’t expect such out and out nimbyism here.

    so these empty restaurants are eyesores, yet you don’t want to let new ones come in? And everyone that disagrees is a “transient” that doesn’t care about the neighborhood. Really? At what point is a person no longer a transient? Typically that just means home owners vs. renters. Well not everyone that wants to live in the city was here when houses were a quarter their current price.

  • NE DC

    Peter, Wmichaeljones, and brack65:
    Yup, it’s my backyard and nope, I/we are not NIMBYing. I would find it perverse indeed if neighbors of a new business did not concern themselves with such issues as hours of operation, liquor license hours, and parking arrangements, if any. Not to be involved in this process would be casual in the extreme. As a fifty-something with conventional working hours, I also have conventional sleeping hours. Having people drinking alcohol outside until two and three a.m. and then departing the neighborhood is not a quiet activity. This observation is not cynicism, negativity, or NIMBYism. It’s just how it is. If any of the three of you are trying to sleep, park, breathe, live your lives in the immediate vicinity of this establishment, I would be very surprised at your cavalier attitude to these proposed alcohol hours–and residential land appropriation. Both renters and homeowners sleep, last time I checked, but what separates them from each other is a longer term attachment to the place where they sleep and concern about property values. And, too, how a landlord keeps the space between tenants gives us some information, too, particularly when combined with that “stop work” issued for non-permitted interior work. Finally, it’s unlikely that the landlord’s sole motivation here is altruisim: are we to believe that he just wants to make our neighborhood a better place? Again, last time I checked, a more likely motivation for his actions is financial. Finally, we welcome good neighbors and appealing businesses but would prefer to negotiate livable terms upfront and not have to go through an ordeal such as the Truorleans neighbors have endured.

    • Andy McKinley

      Are property values really a concern on the Hill? You had me until that point.

      • Nearby Neighbor

        Regarding Romeo and Juliet in the old White Tiger site:
        recent comment concerning property values prompts me to point out that resale of nearby residences could be negatively affected by noise and parking issues, so,yes, property values would be a relevant topic.
        Overall, I don’t see that the neighbors are being NIMBY here. We aren’t saying “No” or “Not in my backyard” at all. We are simply asking to negotiate reasonable hours of operation, a plan for parking impacts, and an approach to expansion/land use that makes practical sense and doesn’t encroach on public space. We have been unanimous in welcoming good neighbor businesses and want our concerns as residents of the immediate neighborhood to be included as details are ironed out.

        • Andy McKinley

          Property values on Barrack’s Row sure prove this to be a credible concern….

          • Nearby Neighbor

            I’m glad you agreed on the overall issues. If I were house hunting, I might be deterred from considering the immediate neighbor houses if a noisy, late night drinking establishment were next door…Just saying.

  • NE DC

    Please note the identity of the business partners for Romeo and Juliet. Watch this link and join your neighbors at the liquor license protest hearing today, 12/11 at 1:30 at the Reeves Center:

    http://www.wusa9.com/video/1034500836001/0/Problems-For-Lotus-In-DC-Before-Beating