Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ANC 2F Monthly Meeting Tomorrow

The monthly ANC meeting for Logan Circle is coming up tomorrow night. View the agenda and location information here. Of particular importance this month, the ANC will be considering whether or not to waive business hours restrictions during the inauguration for alcohol-serving establishments stipulated in voluntary agreements. As for our thoughts on "voluntary" agreements, IMGoph pretty well summed it up in a recent DCist comment:

voluntary agreements—one of the most orwellian terms in DC governance.

there's nothing voluntary about these things. the neighborhood groups figuratively stick a gun to the head of the establishment's owner and say "meet our demands, or we will make sure you are not able to function as a business."

it's a shame that, yes, these bars, restaurants, what-have-you should be able to go to the neighborhood and say, "please, could we stay open an hour later for a couple nights," and promise to make sure things stay quiet, etc., but that's basically impossible. there will always be at least one NIMBY that screams "no!"


Ashley said...

Voluntary agreements can do alot to protect residents who live close to bars/clubs, when they are actually followed. While owners may be forced to sign these things, and while they may seem somewhat draconian, enforcement of them is rare and doesn't result in the immediate remedy of problems. Owners should take responsibility for opening up in a residential area and be respectful of their community and local customer base.

Mikey said...

I agree with Ashley. I live next door to "The Space". They signed a voluntary agreement that they would remain on quiet lounge. In that agreement there were stipulations on noise, trash, the type of business, etc. A year later, I live next to a full blown night club that is loud until 3am every weekend. I have trash piled up outside my door, and the owner now has the audacity to try to open a deck bar literally FEET from a bedroom. Where was the voluntary agreement to help us? So far we have had no luck.

I know that some legit businesses have trouble starting up, but what this man has done to our lives is practically criminal. In fact the time he was arrested for accosting us outside our house was criminal.

If anyone has any experience trying to enforce voluntary agreements I would love to hear from you. We are at our wits end. All we wanted to do was come to a happy medium so residents and a business could coincide. Instead we are being taken advantage of.

Mr. 14th & You said...

I don't think the argument regarding "voluntary" agreements is that there should be no stipulations on neighborhood businesses or enforcement of those stipulations; rather, it's that the ANC holds all the cards in these matters and the business owner is at a distinct disadvantage. For every instance of a business ignoring agreed-to stipulations, you can find an instance of the ANC using the threat of a protest to force a business into agreeing to terms that are, at best, highly questionable.

Case in point is the inauguuration operating hours issue, which is going to be addressed tonight. I'm glad that there is goign to be an open discussion on it, but my money is that th emeeting adjourns with nothing changed and the neighborhood businesses restricted to the same operating hours that were included in the agreement. I hope that I'm wrong.