Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Plans for "Local 14" Take Shape

As we mentioned briefly in an earlier post on the subject, the owners of popular U Street establishment Local 16 are preparing to move forward with a new 14th street location titled, appropriately, Local 14.

The plans for Local 14--to be located at 1832 14th Street--are quite sizable, even by 14th street standards: room for nearly 200 people, rooftop deck until 2 AM every night, live DJ entertainment and outdoor seating on the sidewalk and a balcony.

This morning, a group of 35 protesters, acting independently of the ANC, filed the necessary paperwork with ABRA to initiate a protest in order to negotiate a voluntary agreement with the new establishment. The lead protesters are former DCCA Chairman Joel Lawson, and Ronald Clayton, the lead protestant in the recently completed Saint Ex and Bar Pilar negotiations.

According to Lawson, while neighborhood residents are excited with the ongoing renaissance of 14th Street and are generally supportive of the redevelopment plans, certain aspects of Local 14's proposed operations do raise concerns for nearby residents.

"We all want 14th to keep developing and expect it to get noisier, " said Lawson, "but when a restaurant wants a rooftop bar with a DJ until 2am every weeknight, 3am weekends, facing a lot of people's bedroom windows in the back, we obviously need to talk."

In addition to noise concerns, the protest also raises concerns about alley access while deliveries are being made, since the property backs up against a "T" in the alleyway.

While several meetings will take place over the coming days, the "roll call" hearing at ABRA will take place on August 17, when protestants will officially be recognized and the process will begin.

Lawson stressed that he, Clayton and the group of protesters are committed to "reasonable" expectations and goals for the protest.

"We're reasonable, I know their attorney to be a straight shooter, and we can only hope the owner will be reasonable too."

We'll keep you up to date with the ongoing developments in the Local 14 negotiations over the coming months.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand this desire to have places that allow dancing and eating and drinking. We never go out of the house after 7 p.m. and we're usually in bed by 8 with the cats. Couldn't the owner just open a nice yarn and knitting shop instead?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please detail what the concerns are regarding deliveries and access?

The alley system in that block is extensive with two entrances of Swann and two off of T Street. The beauty of 14th Street as opposed to other neighborhood based commercial areas was originally designed to accomadatee deliveries from the alleys. I would hate to see loading and unloading pushed onto 14th Street, which has bike lanes, multiple bus lines, and 100's of pedestrians daily.

Joel Lawson said...

The problem with deliveries are that, trust me, if a single vehicle parks at that T, residents cannot exit the east end of the alley shared by the 1400 blocks of Swann and T Streets. The turning radius is eliminated, even for a relatively small car like the one my household uses. We're going to have the very large furniture store activating in the future (Room & Board), Douglas Auto Repair currently experiences a lot of customer vehicles in the alley, and now we'll have a restaurant between them. It's simply something that has to be addressed for everyone to live and do business together. It can be handled.

Tom L said...

I think Joel summed the alley situation up well. There are many times throughout the week when the entire alley is completely clogged up. 1406 T has 3 parking spaces that pull out into the alley and even those cars get boxed in sometimes which is not right considering those spots are privately owned. Additionally 1413Rear Swan also has to access the alley for their parking. This is in addition to all of the other residents on T and Swann that need the alley.

I love the idea of Local 14 coming to the neighborhood but my concerns are the alley access (I am sure a safe solution can be found) and the late hours for the roof deck. I honestly don't care how late the interior is open, assuming the DJ is not so loud that you can hear him through the walls. I am concerned with a roof deck being open until 2/3AM, especially when it backs up to residential properties. I think a reasonable accomodation can be made and perhaps the roof deck can close at 11 during the week and 12 during the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for summarizing the details.

So, the solution would be to make sure that the deliveries don't block the interior T intersection, so that the residents can turn onto the easttern alley to access either T or Swann, depending on which side is blocked, and then they still have the option of using the western exits which are all residential.

U St denizen said...

I live right across U St from Local 16. A simply lovely place with a rooftop deck. But, I can attest to the noisiness of the deck as well as ruckus from people staggering out at bar closing hour and cabs dangerously (not kidding -have seen at least one accident with injuries resulting) zipping around, making U turns, trying to scoop up customers. I'm frequently woken up by closing hour on weekends, although never on weekdays. I'm not really bothered by closing hour, because I find it generally rather amusing. I do have to keep my windows closed when I'm sleeping because of the noise, however.

A few years, ago, my building sent over a petition about the noise, which toned it down a bit. The response to the petition was extremely nice.

S St Neighbors said...

Beware of Ron Clayton. We signed onto a petition with him and we negotiated in good faith. However,we discovered that he undercut us & other protestants.

Anonymous said...

Cheers for another new neighborhood place to dine and socialize. Hopefully, NIMBYs Lawson and Clayton and their gang won't delay these proven operators. They can't have it both ways - hailing night spots across the street and then obstructing establishments that roost on their side.

Anonymous said...

I heard Lawson quit DCCA to promote alcohol establishments - except when it comes near to his own back yard.

Anonymous said...

ha ha rondald clayotn and jowl lawson a perfect pairof wannabe heros.

Gina & Dave said...

Local 16 has great burgers, a cool selection of drinks, and lots of beautiful people. Looking forward to having your place on 14th.

Anonymous said...

"...and lots of beautiful people."

God I hope that was intended ironically.

Anonymous said...

I repeat my call for a yard and knitting shop. In fact, I believe that all of 14th Street NW should become a crafts center!

Anonymous said...

It is shameful that certain people would go after businessmen and entreprenuers that are investing in the area. This is DC, not the suburbs. Move out, if you cant take the upbeat nature of our city. These bars and establisments deserve a chance to thrive. Shame on you all who oppose new license status.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Mr. Clayton, he has issues. Thankfully sensible people have been succesful.

Joel Lawson said...

"I heard Lawson quit DCCA to promote alcohol establishments."

Hi, for the record: I have never done PR or any paid work of any kind for any restaurants or bars, not in DC, or anywhere. Not my gig. My PR work has been for Fortune 100 and 500 corps, and national orgs, but I guess I'm flattered if you feel martinis and sliders could use my help. Let's be careful of libel, shall we? It's very costly.

Anonymous said...

Anon
"It is shameful that certain people would go after businessmen and entreprenuers that are investing in the area. This is DC, not the suburbs. Move out, if you cant take the upbeat nature of our city. These bars and establisments deserve a chance to thrive. Shame on you all who oppose new license status."

Its not that we can't handle these establishments its that they need to work together with the community. There is no reason my right to sleep should be deprived because a bar is open until 3:00AM and people are screaming on a roof deck. Not saying that is going to be the case with Local 14 because from what I hear the owner is reasonable but it has been the case with other establishments. I welcome Local 14 and look foward to working with them.

Also for the record...filing a petition doesn't mean people are necessarily going after a business. All it means is that we are exercising our right to be heard. It gives us the opportunity to go before ABRA, speak with the owner and come up with a reasonable compromise.

It is easy for you to say move out of the city. Its not that easy for me to do it however. So I suggest you have a little more consideration before making rude remarks such as that. Yes the bar deserves a chance to thrive and assuming they work with the community that will happen.

Anonymous said...

Anon @11:04 and @3:01 -- Please stop trolling. You've made similar "no more people" sarcastic yet non-humorous comments on every single post I've opened so far. Go be a sociopath elsewhere!

Wadaburg said...

Wow, my take on this was that a group of people decided to go around the always unreasonable ANC to have a reasonable conversation and agreement on their own, in the hopes of letting this business open and do well. I don't see any NIMBY-ism here at all. I expected the comments to be favorable! I don't know the people who drew the negative comments but jesus, they haven't done anything that doesn't happen in 100% of ABRA petitions....it's entirely possible (and sounds like) that everyone wants the same thing in the end. My friend lives on this block of Swann and when these guys approached him they were emphatic that they were excited about a good business and wanted to be reasonable. Why assume everyone is against restaurants/bars -- it's not true or evident at all. Here's hoping everyone is cooperative and it's a win-win. Let's try not to be so negative!

Anonymous said...

Clayton blasts "nimbys" on 17th saying they're against gays and portrays himself as night life's friend. Then he goes protests 14th Street bars. I heard he lives next door to Policy Restaurant and calls the cops on them.

Ron said...

Please Russel and Allen (see original below), tell me how I "undercut" you, or any others on S Street. We all had come to an Agreement, we shook hands on the compromise and agreed to sign it. By the time I saw the documents (the VAs), the Commissioner from 1B Peter Raia had signed it. The Commissioner from 2B had no standing at that point. Mike Silverstein had signed as Chairman of ANC2B. Bianne Nadeau had signed as Chair of ANC1B. I was the last to sign. It was very clearly a done deal. I have no doubt you have been fed information to the contrary. Why continue to beat up two of our best business neighbors and cost them thousands more in legal fees?

You should also have a look at the final rulings from the ABC Board regarding these two matters, with some surprising information at the bottom of page one of each. And why "Anonymous" You two are all I have on S street on my original Protest Letter, which I hold in hand.


Anonymous S St Neighbors said...

Beware of Ron Clayton. We signed onto a petition with him and we negotiated in good faith. However,we discovered that he undercut us & other protestants.

Ron said...

Why be a coward and hide behind anonymous? (see below) I have no clue what this post means or how it is relevant to this topic of discussion. Personal attacks will gain us nothing as a community. In fact, they got us where we are now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clayton blasts "nimbys" on 17th saying they're against gays and portrays himself as night life's friend. Then he goes protests 14th Street bars. I heard he lives next door to Policy Restaurant and calls the cops on them.

verb said...

"All it means is that we are exercising our right to be heard. It gives us the opportunity to go before ABRA, speak with the owner and come up with a reasonable compromise."

We're in a mixed-use neighborhood, right? Having a VA or other "regulation" in hand when first speaking to someone does not seem very neighborly. Is it about leverage then? Us vs. them? Sigh.

My understanding is that the various businesses in discussion on this blog have not only been open to speaking with members of the community, but have contributed to its renaissance. It is when transparency is obfuscated, lies are told, and/or unreasonable requests are made (from the residential, political, and/or business sides) that trouble erupts.

Businesses are required to be on record, Residents don't seem to be consistent in following a similar protocol. As for Politicians, they straddle between the two.

Joel Lawson said...

"Having a VA or other 'regulation' in hand when first speaking to someone does not seem very neighborly."

I'd agree with you, if this were even a plausible chronology. But it is impossible under the process: we speak with the business, have mediations, then agree on VA (hopefully). There is no VA before the discussions.

You're 100% right that these businesses are open to talking, and are rehabbing a corridor. Did someone say otherwise somewhere?

Brandon Green said...

They couldn't have come up with a more creative name?

Ron said...

Brandon,
Great comment. The name is simply a "place holder" as they make their way through the process. No doubt they will have a more original and clever name in the end. (one would hope, anyway)

verb said...

Hi Mr. Lawson,

I was referring to comments that have been posted over the last weeks or so re: new businesses in the neighborhood. Implications and inferences seem to abound.

As in the pulled quote "It gives us the opportunity to go before ABRA, speak with the owner..." I would hope that the order of at least two could be reversed. As stated, one (I) inferred that the point was to first have audience with ABRA, then speak to business owners.

I'm just sayin'.

Ron said...

In case you missed it, I would like to quote directly from the ABC Board Ruling of last week wherein several well-known folks in the community attempted to scuttle the VAs reached between ANC1B, the proprietors of St. Ex and Bar Pilar, and the Chairman of ANCB2. This is a direct quote from the ABC Board and just what we wish to avoid in the coming months with this new restaurant:

"The Board notes that although three individuals, Ramon Estrada, Phyllis Klein, and Juan Mayer, seceded from the Group of Five or More Protestants represented by Ronald Clayton and are not signatories to the
Voluntary Agreement, they lack standing on their own to protest this Application pursuant to D.C. Code §25-601. Thus, their Protest is, by this Order, dismissed for want of standing under this provision. The Board further notes that it received a letter regarding the designation of a different representative (Elwin Ferris) on June 18, 2009, for certain individuals; however, that letter was received after the signed Voluntary Agreement had been submitted to the Board for approval."

Full Text Available from ABRA.

Ann said...

Ron, Of course, you are entitled to your opinion, but there are facts that you may not be aware of, or that you are choosing to ignore. Klein supports these establishments and agreed with the VAs.
She followed ABRA director's instructions regarding representation. You were not authorized to sign for Klein or Mayer, but the VAs state otherwise. Klein was merely trying to correct this mistake by offering to sign or have her designated representative sign. ABRA's director said he had no problem with her signing. But, he later reported that the attorney for the applicant objected. The matter was presented to the Board, which, in essence, concluded that by following the ABRA director's instructions, Klein and her husband no longer had standing. Klein's actions did not delay or jeopardize the process. In fact, the results serve as a valuable caveat to protestants in future cases.

Anonymous said...

I just read through all 29 comments and comments that have been linked to other posts. There are clearly several factions in the neighborhood....
1) They don't want any restaurants
2) The want restaurants but under certain guidelines
3) They really don't care and just want development to occur

May I suggest for the good of the order that as opposed to slinging mud back and forth we each say what we want...

Perhaps if we all say what we want this can be piled together and significantly help development in the community. So this topic here is Local 14. I ask each of you posters WHAT DO YOU WANT

1) I want Local 14 to open its doors
2) I want Local 14 to have restricted "outdoor hours"
a. Sunday - Thursday open outside until 11:00PM
b. Friday & Saturday open outside until 12:30AM
3) I don't really care how late the inside is open assuming that the noise is contained within the walls especially if there is a DJ

Rather than throwing insults back and forth lets use this blog to our advantage and get all voices and concerns heard.

Mikey said...

As someone who has dealt with an illegal outdoor deck with "the Space", and anticipates a fight to keep it reasonable, I am interested in this case.

Our case was a little different as I am sure that this deck doesn't actually come up to someone's window.

I think it is perfectly fair to request reasonable hours of operation so that businesses can exist, but private lives can continue.

SG said...

Honestly, give em the outdoor deck til mindnight on weeknights and 1:30 am on weekends, make them put up a sound fence/wall/glass at the back of the deck, and call it a day. People who don't want ANY noise along one of the city's major commercial corridors are being unreasonable/unrealistic, and those who want a 3 am closing time for the deck are being a bit greedy. I think the solution above should be amenable to all parties. Everyone compromises a a bit.

Swanner said...

We were "protestors" and want options 1 and 3. Funny, I didn't really think we were protesting anything, just thought that was the process to negotiate noise issues. Who knew so many people think that is evil. The ANC has approached us many times over the years to try to dictate what kinds of business can open and we always say "no thanks" since we thing people should be able to do wahtever they want with their property (including aesthetic/non-"historic" changes). That said, wanting to control noise at THREE IN THE MORNING doesn't strike me as unreasonable, even in a city. To those who say "move to the suburbs," I think that's a little absurd. Moving to the city isn't a wholesale forfeiture of the right to sleep. Fact is, this is a business that borders a residential street. Just as residents should be realistic about having commerce nearby, so too should businesses be realistic about neighbors not wanting to listen to a DJ at 2AM.

At theend of the day, my take is similar to Wadaburg's -- my guess is the Local 14 is ecstatic that we went around the ANC, because we (at least thos I spoke to) like business, like development, like bars, like cities. We just want to be able to pull out of the alley and be able to sleep.

myper said...

I think what Local 14 should be is a place that works within the neighborhood; and to do that it will have to appease different factions. Last time I was at Local 16, it shut down its roof deck at 12am in consideration of all the residential neighbors. Policy does the same thing right now. At midnight, patrons just go inside to continue the dancing and revelry.
I think such a compromise would keep as many factions as possible happy. There's no reason anyone has to be drinking outside until 3am to have a good time.

Mr. 14th & You said...

If I may, I think part of the problem with these negotiations is the use of the word "protest", which has inherently negative connotations and seems to say "we don't want your business in the neighborhood." This is a problem with the process that's currently in place, in that the residents and ANCs are forced to "protest" a license application in order to ensure that a business will responsibly address things like noise, trash collection, operating hours, and so forth. In reality, the parties aren't "protesting" the license insomuch as ensuring that the needs of area residents are considered.

Anonymous said...

Such passion! Such energy Such opinions! So much pent-up sexual energy being channeled into neighborhood issues! Oh! The excitement of it all!

Ron said...

Hi Again Ann,
I just had a chance to read your last post and I can see how you would come to the conclusions that you have given the information that you have read and been given. I wasn't ignoring the fact that Klein thought she could sign the VA. One important fact that hasn't come out is the manner in which Klein chose to withdraw my authorization to represent her and her husband. It is a fact that both Klein and Mayer signed a letter of protest on April 3, 2009, authorizing me represent them "in all matters related to this case." On April 27, 2009, Klein sent an e-mail to Fred Moosally and to Ramon Estrada ONLY stating that she now wanted Ramon to represent her. She did not bother to inform me, nor did anyone else. I have a signed legal document authorizing me to represent the two in question, which holds much more weight than an e-mail I did not receive. Fred Moosally sent me the e-mail only a few days ago. I had no knowledge of this e-mail or its message until then. Also, Klein had an obligation to inform opposing counsel, which she did not do. This is noted in a letter sent to Fred Moosally on June 18, by Andrew Kline, opposing Counsel "To our knowledge, the authority given to Mr. Clayton in that petition had never been revoked . . . If there had been a revocation, it was not served upon the Licensee as required by the provisions of 23 D.C.M.R. Section 1703" The Board regularly reminds parties of the rule that documents filed with the Board must be served on the other parties. Therefore, I legally signed the VAs for Klein and Mayer on June 16 as their designated and authorized representative.

Ann said...

Ann said...
Sorry, Mr. Clayton, Ms. Klein followed ABRA Director's instructions fully to clarify her authorization. The original letter of protest, signed by all of the protestants, designated EITHER you or Mr. Estrada and she chose Estrada. ABRA's director was fully aware of this change and the email was part of the official file. The Board's order recognizes and rests on her email notification. Again, you are entitled to your views and if you find it necessary to continue to post, that is your prerogative.
Frankly, we seem to have reached the point of redundancy.

Tito Jackson said...

I suggest Ann and Ron take their bickering to another thread. It's not relevant. Enough

Anonymous said...

Tisk, tisk. I think all of you should get together over a nice cup of hot tea and knit together!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but there's no yarn store nearby; that's what this location really needs, though I must say a knitting deck open until 2 AM (3 AM weekends) would be nice. That's my vote for what the nice people at Local 14 should be required to open.

Al fresco knitting, so relaxing.

Anonymous said...

I think knitting under the stars is a great idea. Although, when one (or 40 in this case) really gets going, those knitting needles can cause quite a click-clacking noise problem. I suppose that could be addressed in the voluntary agreement.

Anonymous said...

Please not this guy Ron again he has no Idea what he is doing. Is this a new habit for him? What did he contribute to the last two I heard nothing. He stated it was done and all he could do in sign this is so not true he could have continued the process his protest is a seperate one from the ANC's shame on him! I hope he wakes up and realizes his lack of experience with these matters and just stops.

Joe M

Joel Lawson said...

Wow, Joe, I have a great deal of experience (unfortunately) in these cases, and I disagree with you entirely. Are you saying that after a Voluntary Agreement mediation has been completed, and a VA agreed upon by the ANC within which it sits, and the lead protestant for the largest number of residents, parties should abruptly reverse themselves and go to a full protest, instead of signing? Even the person Ron disagreed with re: the signing process on those VAs said they were "fine" by her and wanted to sign. I'm sorry, but what you're suggesting doesn't gel with my experiences in ABRA cases, nor even with the claims of people who disagreed with Ron, but wanted to sign the VAs nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lawson, disagree as you wish. But considering that your 'great deal of experience' hasn't yet included working through an entire case with Mr. Clayton nor are you privy to all of the circumstances of this particular case, your point of view is limited.

Jennifer said...

All who post negative, nasty, unfounded, unimaginative and ill-informed views under "anonymous" are cowards. State your name and engage in the conversation as a real person. The last comment (45) was written by Phyllis Klein on 7/06 6:40 -- no doubt. Additionally, Joe M. (post 43) is either another plant or just terribly uninformed about the ABRA protest process and what some tried in this particular case, and what damage might have occurred. Also, this post is very difficult to understand, from a basic English grammar perspective.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, interesting that you have the ability to 'know' who posts anonymously. Can I have my fortune told here, too? You also seem to be able to channel previous poster, Ron.

Jennifer said...

To Anonymous of Late:
Because I live squarely in the midst of all of this activity, and because it doesn't take a genius to see the plants and far less effort to know a Klein posting, it is easy to see the game some are playing. Anonymous postings should simply be discounted. Identify yourself and contribute to the discussion in an open and helpful manner. Regarding your fortune, I doubt you can count on one.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Ok guys, let's keep the comments on topic please.

Tom said...

Lately, your blog appears to be the tool of Ron Clayton and his 'advisor.' Their slanted representations are a disservice to us all.

Angie said...

I agree. Can you please take your obsession with Klein elsewhere?

Joel Lawson said...

Wow, it's a "disservice" to ask a question about a process (which remains unanswered)? It's an attack to disagree? It's "shameful" for residents to do a liquor license protest process independent of their ANC? (One I was involved with a couple years ago was independent, with no overwrought reactions then; heck, our commissioner ended up writing a letter of support).

The dialogue on here has, sadly, shown some dynamics that afflict our neighborhood when it comes to civic engagement. Very telling. Thank God it's a distinct small subset of the voices.

Tom said...

Mr. Lawson, you seem to have missed the point(s).

The couple of posts above are not knocking the ABC protest process. Groups of five people protesting independently of the ANC are routine. (Hardly 'news.') And no one is taking issue with differing points of view.

The point is - Pertinent issues and facts are preferred to hype. It's a 'disservice' to misrepresent circumstances (such as the St. Ex/Bar Pilar VA) and attempt to discredit many who serve the community. Those who post malicious gossip here, as articles and comments, appear to be hacks.

On the topic of Local 14, this establishment should be a great addition to a long languishing block and hopefully, the protestants can reach an amicable agreement with the owners.

Kris said...

Three questions:

Doesn't the alley issue rest with the department of transportation or dcra?

How is it linked to an alcohol license?

What is the proposed capacity for the roof top?

Mary said...

I heard they'll serve organic food. Is this upscale dining or midrange?

Mr. 14th & You said...

Kris-

In answer to questions one and two, many elements of a restaurant' operations can be tied to a liquor license through the use of a voluntary agreement. VAs can address issues ranging from hours of operation, to noise levels, to trash maintenance, the use of live entertainment, and so on. Sometimes, issues covered in the VA may overlap with existing DC regulations or laws, in which case the VA would serve as an additional way by which residents could seek remediation aside from relying solely on DC agency enforcement.

As to your third question, they are seeking approval for a rooftop deck with a capacity for 40 patrons.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Mary, it would depend on your definition of "mid-range" and "upscale". I don't have any idea as to the restaurant's price points, bu you may be able to look at Policy as some indication for where Local 14 may go.

Ron said...

I have not checked out these comments for a while but it seems I am still in the mix. Primarily by a few who have no idea whatsoever what really occurred with regards to the St. Ex and Bar Pilar VAs. (old news -- done deal) That is unfortunate and these folks should dig a little deeper so they will know what happened and what almost happened. We all have a voice in how this neighborhood grows and prospers and might I suggest you close the laptop for a moment and go out and do something, rather than criticizing those of us who actually do, quite often to your benefit.

smarter now said...

On the Cafe St. Ex, after signing onto a protest with Ron, we didn't hear another word. Be sure about what you're signing and if your views will really be included.

Mr. 14th & You said...

All right, last warning: no more comments about Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar and other characters who were not discussed in this post. I don't like closing comment threads, but if the discussion can't stay on topic I will. Thanks for your cooperation.

Kris said...

Any idea when this place might open?

Anonymous said...

Wow! What is in the water in your neck of the woods over there in that section of the hood? I think everyone here needs to go to the gym... or have a drink... or SOMETHING.

Ojalá, Cariño said...

Anonymous, Do we have to pick? (gym or a drink?) The restaurant is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2010. As far as something in the water, ojalá! This is going to be a serious restaurant with notable chefs and at least two distinct styles of potentially really good food served in a truly distinctive venue. Stay tuned. It will be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.