Thursday, February 5, 2009

Running Out of Space

February's ANC2f meeting promised not to be short on drama, what with the commission meeting to discuss, among other topics, the future of neighborhood members only public club The Space. We'll address the other issues discussed at the meeting in a later post, but for now we wanted to present a brief recap of the "Space issue" if for no other reason than the fact that this very blog was entered as evidence at the proceedings. An epic win for 14thandyou? Perhaps.

The Space, as you may recall, was the subject of much discussion at January's ANC meeting. Specifically, it was the target of much ire from a group of Shaw residents who live adjacent to or close to the club. Since no one from the club was present at the January meeting, the commission held off on making any decisions until Wednesday's meeting, where the club had an opportunity to present its side of the case.

In the eyes of this blogger, they would have probably been better off had they not appeared.

The ANC has no voluntary agreement with The Space, leaving it powerless to file a protest to suspend its liquor license directly. The Space does however have a voluntary agreement with the building next door, and with ABRA. The ANC can thus move to petition ABRA for a "show cause" hearing, which is essentially a hearing before the regulatory agency to determine whether or not the license holder is in violation of its voluntary agreement. If ABRA finds against the license holder, its license can be revoked--essentially shuttering the business.

The residents had several main complaints centered around the club's operations, namely that they run a club under false pretenses, that their operations were disruptive to the peace of the neighborhood, and that they were operating an illegal outdoor deck.

The evidence against the club--consisting of numerous photographs, voluntary agreements and contracts, and the testimony of numerous neighbors--was immense, and a spirited defense by the club would be needed in order to stave off ANC action.

Which is why it was so perplexing when the club's lawyer approached the commission and began reading from a printout of this blog. That's right, 14thandyou was introduced as evidence in support of the Space. Why was this blog brought up Wednesday night? Well, so that their lawyer could read a quote from an anonymous commenter who likened living in Shaw to living in Adams Morgan--in other words, don't complain about the noise from the club ya yuppies.

(Sidenote: Even *I* wouldn't use items from this blog for my own defense, and certainly not comments from anonymous commenters. It was truly theater of the bizarre. )

The rest of the Space's defense was anything but coherent. Their lawyer began by claiming that he had only learned of the meeting that afternoon; commissioner Charles Reed found this odd, seeing as how he had a phone conversation with owner Mitchell Cox over a week ago where the matter was discussed. Strike one.

The Space also maintained that they were a "members only" club in spite of the fact that their website advertises that it is "open to the public". Justin, the club's manager indicated that he believed that a "member" was merely someone who paid an entry fee of $5.

"That is a cover charge," Reed remarked "not a membership fee." One woman in attendance testified that she had entered the club for free and drank at the bar, leading Justin to remark "What, did you want us to charge you?"

Pretty strict membership criteria they have there, apparently.

The rest of the defense was no more believable: the music isn't too loud because Cox said it isn't. The deck may be illegal, but they don't allow drinking on it--in spite of multiple photos showing that they did. The club isn't responsible for the overflowing mountains of trash in back of their building, because for all Cox knows the neighbors have been sneaking over and putting their trash in his bins.

And on and on it went, with the commissioners growing increasingly skeptical of the Space's defense, and Cox growing increasingly agitated. At one point, Cox interrupted another speaker, leading Reed to slam down his gavel and declare Cox out of order. "Ah, fuck it" was Cox's response.

In the end, the ANC did the expected and voted unanimously to request a "show cause" hearing with ABRA, where the Space may very well be in danger of losing their license. Cox's indignant attitude at Wednesday's proceedings certainly did him no favors; if he hopes to avoid a license revocation before ABRA he might want to spend a bit more time polishing his defense.

As for the neighbors, a brief round of applause broke out after the ANC's decision. For them, Wednesday night was the first victory in what has turned into a protracted fight over a club whose owner just doesn't seem to get it.


Shaw said...

This guys Mitch is such a ridiculous character. I have read several of the entries about the Space and it appears this guy has had many opportunities to make a case for his business, but he fails to every time! Not only does he fail to argue his case but he demonstrates a high level of disrespect for the entire process! Perhaps he should have thought about following the "voluntary" agreement that was set forth and this wouldn't be a problem?

I understand how people can be frustrated with clubs like this. Living at the corner of 14th and T we have had our fair share of disputes about the same thing. Yes this is a city and cities are loud, but when restaurants/clubs move in, they need to demonstrate a level of respect for the existing neighbors. It is critical that places like the Space and other establishments work with the surrounding community.

In these tough economic times when businesses are failing, your neighbors can often be your best supporters. If they like your business they will more than likely recommend it to others, thus helping a business stay afloat. Perhaps the Space should consider this and try to actually cooperate with the community and their neighbors. I know several people living around the space and I know for a fact that they are reasonable people.

Anonymous said...

In 2008, I moved out of the house next to the Space because it produced constant noise. Congratulations, friends, on your richly deserved victory against this illegal operation and public disruption. I wish my former roommates the very best at the ABRA hearing.

Anonymous said...

I am just reposting the comments I sent to the ANC2f. I will be unable to attend the ANC meeting so I wanted to send in my support for "The Space". Being a young professional living in DC, one of the things that helps to enrich the neighborhood is having a place like the Space within walking distance. A mix of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs is a great indicator for how vibrant an area is. Along with BeBar the Space offers a great option for those neighborhood residents who don't want to go downtown. Oftentimes pioneering places like Space,Bebar, Old Dominion, Corduroy etc are the ones that lead the way for full rejuvenation of blighted corridors like 9th street. Please lets not scare off potential business owners from ANC2. Thanks

Mr. Other Upper NW said...


I don't believe anyone has a problem with a mix of bars, restaurants and clubs in the neighborhood. In fact, I tend to support such development because, as you mention, it adds a lot of vibrancy to what is still a grossly under-developed corridor. I think it's great that places like Vegetate, Be Bar, Veranda, Queen of Sheba and others have moved into the area and are contributing to the neighborhood's rebirth. But these businesses are not exempt from operating under the law and under the agreements they signed with the city and their neighbords, and that's the issue here. The argument isn't that bars and clubs shouldn't operate in the area, it's that they should be honest about their operations and comply with the agreements they signed onto when they opened their establishments. The evidence presented thus far is that The Space has done neither.

Lauren McK said...

Thank you for covering this story – and congratulations on your big break at the meeting. I have lived in the neighborhood for about 2 years, and over that time, I have seen the area change and develop. I wish nothing more than to have the area revitalized, and able to be utilized by all – neighbors, tourists and other dc residents.

I support local businesses. I get coffee at Cozy Corner Cafe, and buy my beer and wine at Modern Liquors. I dine at Vegetate, Logan's Tavern and Stoney's. When I want to grab a drink and watch a game, I go to Old Dominion Brewery. I've purchased greenery at Old City Green. I've taken yoga classes at Maruka. I would love nothing more than to be able to have a lounge/bar within walking distance from my apartment.

I have visited The Space (not as a card carrying member, and without paying a cover). However, I cannot continue to support a local business that does not have respect for its neighbors, the community in which it resides, or the local ANC. The contempt that Mitch, and his employees, have shown for this issue is unforgivable, and laughable. After learning that the house had been occupied longer than The Space has been in existence makes the issue so much greater. They didn’t move ito Adams Morgan, and ask the bars to keep it down, rather, the bar moved to them, and is telling them to deal with it.

I attended the ANC meeting. I will attend the ABRA meeting. I support my neighbors, both commercial and residential. The beauty of this country is that everyone has a say, and a business cannot threaten and strong arm their way without expecting to answer for it. I believe the ANC made the right decision, and I look forward to ABRA showing the same foresight at the “show cause” hearing. I wish the gentlemen in the house the best of luck. Please know that you have support in the area.

Anonymous said...

I agree that while a mix of bars, restaurants, and clubs infuse energy and prosperity to an area like 9th street, they should not operate to the detriment of the residents. To create a sense of community, these businesses should work alongside the neighborhood and abide by any agreements and promises made in the the development process. The lack of trust and commitment displayed by The Space is disrespectful and shows that the club owners value personal gain over community growth.

Culinarily Quixotic said...

I live in the neighborhood and am a supporter of any local business that can bring good economic commerce to the area. Not only does Space need to respect its voluntary agreement, but it needs to do a complete 180 on its image. Dirty & shady are not businesses I want brought to my neighborhood, clean up your trash, be nicer to your neighbors, and don't be a total fire hazard because I live down the street and actually respect my home.

Anonymous said...

I frequently walk the 900 block of N Street. At least from this frequent pedestrian's vantage point, 916 N Street is a far greater nuisance than The Space. Mitchell Cox sounds like a clueless jerk, but crackheads and gunrunners are worse.

Anonymous said...

The idea that living next to this club being equivalent to living in AdMo is absurd. There are no other clubs or bars on that street. There is not a night-life atmosphere there. The residents were there first and a reasonable business would uphold an agreement with its neighbors.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier under the name sure why that name was assigned but anyway...I have seen several comments since my post and just wanted to share one more thing.

I don't think the issue here is whether or not places like the Space should be able to operate. I think most of us are in agreement that places like this do help a community recover and develop. The issue at hand is that The Space seems to think they are above the law. They signed a voluntary agreement which they did not follow. I spoke to a few of the neighbors and the agreement was pretty fair. I mean lets be honest...the people moved in next door and there was nothing there. Then all of a sudden they are forced to deal with a club. The voluntary agreement was a great idea but now the club has just completely disregarded it. This is their own fault, and to any of you that support them I pose the question, where do you live? Do you live next to it or do you live out in the suburbs or far enough away from places like this that you don't need to worry about noise issues. Sure a loud party every now and then is okay but every weekend? Seriously? Yes this is a city, but there are residential properties mixed in with commercial and they need to work with each other. Attempts to co-habitate we made with the voluntary agreement. The neighbors weren't in violation, the Space was.

The facts are simple. The Space had a voluntary agreement, which in a court of law can be legally binding. They failed to comply and now they are probably going to lose their liquor license. Ohhhh well! Perhaps another business will come along, take over the building and do it right! The Space has nobody to blame but themselves.

To those of you that say the crack den poses a greater risk? You are right but they don't sit out on the street having loud parties that keep people up late at night. Its a problem and its being dealt with by MPD. The Space is a problem and now it needs to be dealt with by the ANC and community.

Anonymous said...

Another point that the club's lawyer pointed out was the idea of co-existence. That somehow there should be a way to co-exist. I believe that was the point of the voluntary agreement. It was an agreement that says "if you follow these guidelines that we agree to then we can co-exist" The lawyer not once talked about the validity. The residents agreed to allow a business to exist within certain parameters and the Space forfeit the right when they went outside their agreement. I also get so tired of the "I support it because its a great place to hang out and relax" because that is exactly what it takes away from the people who live in the area. Best of luck to the residents.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Anonymous that crackheads & gun-runners are faaar worse than a small nightclub like the Space.... Let's be honest here, Shaw has been a historic neighborhood with a lot of post slave history & scars from the 1960s riots.... My question is, are all of you white, and how long have you all lived in the neighborhood. Most Definitely, the Space should respect the neighbors and understanding of the neighborhood. But, with the immense ammount of crime being commited entirely not from the Space @ all but the local thugs, who certainly are way more hood & definitely not spending their money @ the Space, what r the fing priorities here?

Is not 903 a COMMERCIAL BLOCK?!! IS THERE NOT A MUSIC STUDIO LOUD AS SH*T BEHIND IT? IS THAT MUSIC STUDIO, the SKATER Parties & all of that really NOT as BAD as THe Space?! Is there not a business next to the Space that has some apartments of young people who throw constant loud parties pretty much incogruence with the Space? Am I hallucenating or am I smoking Crack, because I think neither.....

If the case is that of gentrification and neighborhood revamping to bring in young couples who want a quiet neighborhood NEXT 2 the Convention Center.. ThaT IS LUDICROUS> If you really wanna live next to the CONVENTION Center, in an area with a considerable amount of crime, homosexuals being beaten by high-schoolers, hoodrat highschoolers running a muck & the SPACE is the F*ing problem with it's oh-so Horrible Crowd of Diverse mid twenty to forty somethings who have respectable jobs.....



Mr. Other Upper NW said...


I'm guessing you're the same anonymous who posted on the earlier thread and told those complaining to "get the F out of Shaw."

First of all, we don't tolerate profanity, even in masked form. So knock it off.

Secondly, race has nothing to do with this argument, in spite of the fact that you've brought it up twice now.

Thirdly, the 900 block of N Street is most certainly NOT a commercial block. Not in any way, shae or form.

Finally, I fail to see what the presence of crime in the neighborhood has to do with complaining about a club that treats its neighbors poorly--as if you can't b upset about crime AND a disrespectful business at the same time.

Anonymous said...


My grandfather died fighting the Nazis in WWII.

The Germans and the Japanese had an agreement: Split the United States between them along the Mississippi River. Germany would have received the eastern half of the USA, including DC. Japan would have received the west.

Since my grandfather died fighting to prevent DC from falling into Nazi control LONG before the 1960s,


Anonymous said...

Wow, You all are pretty crazy.....
I lost many a relative in WWII in the Holocaust, What on Earth does that have 2 do w this at all....?

Meanwhile, the anonymous person complaining about gentrification, as irate as they are, brings a very valid point... Are all of you white & gentrifiers of the neighborhood? That block is surrounded by a large airport structure that is extremely unnatractive- & there is certainly crime.

I have been to the Space a few times. Always a very respectable & professional crowd. I would be honored to live in a neighborhood next to a club that cool. They are providing a phenomenal alternative to all the bogus bars in the city.

Furthermore, the mixed crowd brings a real blessing of positive spirit to the neighborhood. You have bebar just a little further down, and they are loud as well in the alley. The other anon who said it is not commercial is actually incorrect. That corner block is 100 percent commercial. Google it. Further down the street, residential.

I do not know of any riff raff between agreements with the neighborhood. But, I do know, that club is the best thing in the world for that street block. Friday and Saturday nite, why are people asleep at midnight or 2 am? That is not a peaceful part of town. Can you really sleep easily at night?

Maybe so, because you know the slums are being knocked down, to make way for the white flight.

It seems like there is too much controversy on this issue and not enough energy in the ANC concerned with the neighborhood crime, education and more important matters. The other anon who mentions Old Dominion, Corduroy, Bebar, they are speaking simple truth. Look how many businesses are there that serve alcohol at nite and create a nightlife. If you all want gentrification, you better accept night club development.

Why Don't You all stop Complaining For Once, EnJoy the Party & enjoy your lives... You might have fun instead of crying like a bunch of spoiled Children. Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

"What on Earth does that have 2 do w this at all....?"

Its called "Rhetoric". Look into it.

It was being used as a literary tool to counter an anti-gentrification argument that was based upon longevity in the District. That argument was basically: "He who suffers most lays claim to DC's future."

So do you need it deconstructed and explained further? Or do you understand it now?

Mr. Other Upper NW said...

Guys, keep it civil please or we'll shut down comments for this post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This sort of reminds me of when Azi moved in and a complaint was lodged against her for having too many chairs in her coffee shop. The ANC is out of touch in this neighborhood. The Space may have its problems, for sure, and those need to be addressed. However, we need to face the facts and understand that taking steps to shuttering a club will have enormous ramifications for a commercial corridor that is transitioning from blight. The Space, BeBar & Vegetate, to me, are very cutting edge venues and represent serious potential to make this remake this neighborhood. We need to keep working with them, even if they "don't get it." Mitch is australian, after all :)

Unknown said...

I love love love the Space. Granted, I don't live in the area, I live in Georgetown, and am used you, you know, a city atmosphere.

It really seems to me that the complaining neighbors really just don't feel that they are being shown enough respect by the bar owners. But really, why do they owe you anything? They are operating a business. They shouldn't have to kowtow to anyone. This sounds an awful lot like a bunch of bitter aging thirty-somethings in a huff about the respect they think they deserve. A neighborhood block isn't a high school clique, you can't just ostracize the outliers who don't fall into line.

Sure, you moved to an up-and-coming area, now let it RISE!

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people who brought race into the picture!?! Why are you using RACE to take away from the bigger picture which is a loud obnoxious club. RACE was never brought up by any of those trying to take action against the Space. But some idiot had to bring it up! Stop being so ignorant and using RACE as an excuse. The Space is ludicrous. They have failed to comply to agreements and have been awful to their neighbors. They have done everything BUT co-exist! So get off your high horse and find a more educated argument that doesn't bring RACE into an issue which is clearly NOT ABOUT RACE. You people DISGUST ME!

Anonymous said...

Wait, so just to be clear, this isn't about race?

The point is, The Space is one of the only truly diverse crowds in the city, drawing from every class, race, education level, and so on. Its a beautiful sight to walk in there, and see so much love. Not to mention that the decor is the best Ive seen in DC, period.

The roof deck is amazing, and its a shame you neighbors fail to see it as truly unique asset to a fantastic space.

You live in a city, sometimes it gets loud, sometimes there is garbage, its something we all deal with, and it certainly isn't unique to your situation.

EdTheRed said...

anonymous wrote: "The roof deck is amazing, and its a shame you neighbors fail to see it as truly unique asset to a fantastic space."

Um, yeah...the point is that said amazing roof deck is, you know, illegal. Leaving aside any issues with the neighbors, allowing a bar to operate an illegal deck gives that bar an unfair advantage over other bars who either take the time and spend the money to do things the legal way.

I'd like to open up my back patio on nice summer evenings - maybe play some music and sell beer for $3 a know, to provide a gathering space for all the diverse masses. Shoot, it might even be a good idea on some levels...but being a good idea doesn't make it legal.

Anonymous said...

Then don't try and shut them down and ruin it for everyone, just encourage them to get the proper permitting. Support from neighbors will only help them in getting the permits.

But really, it sounds like you all want them to fail.

The place is an asset to your neighborhood, encourage growth, and encourage their success.

Anonymous said...

Since when is Georgetown really part of the city? I went to Georgetown, and I would never be so foolish as to claim that it was city living. It's the closest thing to the burbs you can get in DC proper.

For all of those defending the Space and criticizing the neighbors, are you really advocating that these people waste their lives partying until 3 or 4 am every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night? And then also saying that they need to be constructive and involved members of the community? Those two concepts seen slightly at odds with one another. No one should have to live like this, no matter what their lifestyle.

Another important point- the "amazing deck" that has been referenced is illegal. It is made out of wood, and is on the second floor and has no fire escape. Would any of you be defending these people if there were god forbid an accident and patrons died because of their negligence? I certainly hope not.

The Space is a bad egg in a neighborhood of really wonderful neighborhood establishments. I wish those that follow the letter of the law, and don't harass and assault their neighbors, all the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't make any sense. No said they had to stay up until 3-4 am, what was said was that they should accept that others do, its a city.

As for Georgetown, off the top of my head Id say it has more bars/restaurants than any other area of the city, plus a large student population, so yeah, we deal with plenty of ruckus. Its ok though, thats what I signed up for living in a vibrant urban area.

I suppose Im sticking up for The Space because before I visited there, I would have never even considered stepping foot in your neighborhood. To be honest, you folks need all the help you can get to get that part of the city up and running again. Viva la Space!

Saltk006 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think it is hillarious that Anonymous thinks that the Space is the only "Diverse" crowd in the city. What are you smoking dude? Have you ever been to Adams Morgan? Have you gone downtown? Have you ever been to Capitol Hill? Have you ever been to 9th Street? Have you ever been to U St? Those are all diverse establishments. Shutting the Space down has NOTHING to do with RACE, you ignorant being! Stop using RACE as a CRUTCH. I happen to know a number of people that live near the Space and they ARE FAR FROM RACIST! In fact they hav given more to this community than one can concieve, through food drives, volunteering at shelters, working as Big Brothers / Sisters. So don't you sit there and bring race into this because you think it is going to cause the ANC and others to change their mind. I live off of U St. and YES I should expect higher levels of noise, and YES I deal with it. But you know what??? All of the clubs / restaurants / lounges that open up there also realize there is a neighborhood with families that surround them and more than often they are accomodating of this. DC is not New York City. The residential population in the NW neighborhoods is far greater than the Club / Restaurant population. If I lived in NYC and lived above a club, yeah I would expect noise, but I don't. I live in DC and co-exist with clubs and for the most part, they ALL work with the neighborhoods. The Space and its owners do NOT.

They had a voluntary agreement with the neighbors

The defaulted on the agreement

They host people on their patio, this is a safety hazard and a noise issue

They are an ignorant neighbor and do not care about the community, instead they care about $ and THATS it

They had a chance to peacefully co-exist but became a problem. The neighbors peacefully approached and asked them to stop breaking the agreement. The Space didnt.

OHH PS, If you are going to standup for the Space, why don't you stop posting Anonymously! Tell the rest of the group who you are. If you believe in something than you shouldn't be afraid to stand behind it and be proud.

Anonymous said...

Really looks like I struck a nerve here.

For the record, I never called any of you racist, that's your own twisted reaction. I only said the Space is a uniquely diverse place, which is something I haven't seen a lot of in this city. Others on the board agree with me.

I post anonymously because I don't have the time or ambition to set up a google blogger account, therefore Anon is my only option.

My point is, why don't you try and work the issues out the the management and positively reinforce the idea that they are beneficial to the growth of the area, but need to abide by the rules. If they want a roof top bar, I don't see what the problem is if they go through the proper channels, but Im sure you all would destroy any opportunity they had to pursue this legally.

Noise, garbage, and rats, oh my! Welcome to Metropolis.

Hugs and Kisses,


Anonymous said...


The Space did apply for a license for their outdoor deck. However, they failed to post the necessary placards alerting the community of this application, and then failed to even show up at their hearing. And yet, they still operate the deck, knowing full well that they are breaking the law. They clearly are not interested in going through the "proper channels", and would rather break the law and put lives in danger to make a buck.

For your information, many of the residents in the neighborhood wrote letters of SUPPORT for this establishment when it first opened. They then had to endure over a year of failed negotiations with the owner over the club's failure to operate under the voluntary agreement. And now it looks like the club will pay for breaking various laws, as any establishment should.

I seriously question the judgment and credibility of anyone who supports illegal activities. Maybe you should actually particiapte in some of the procedings and educate yourself on the situation if you are going to voice such strong opinions.

EdTheRed said...

BTW, after reading this:
"At one point, Cox interrupted another speaker, leading Reed to slam down his gavel and declare Cox out of order. "Ah, fuck it" was Cox's response."

I really, really wish this was the next paragraph:
Reed replied by telling Cox, "**** it! Yes! That's your answer. That's your answer for everything! Tattoo it on your forehead! Your revolution is over, Mr. Cox. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Cox? The bums will always lose!"

Saltk006 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saltk006 said...


That was probably one of the funniest blog posts ever.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the district since 2001 and in the neighborhood for since '08. This place is run by a lying, cheesey club promoter type. I have been inside this "private" club once (def without paying a cover / membership fee).

At the very least this place breaks laws that other bars in Admo, Georgetown, etc. don't even dare. There are consistently mountains of garbage in front of the club during the week . . . I am sure the city wouldn't tolerate that same garbage heap on M Street or 18th Street. If any normal club decided to open an illegial deck (hopefully it is safely constructed) the city would shut it down in a second, but for some reason this club run by crazy people continues to operate without fear.

I don't understand why there are hearing(s) about this. They have broken DC laws and voluntary agreements (stupid decision by signing those, but that is in the past). This should be a pretty easy case: you break the rules and screw the neighborhood, you get shut down.

Thanks for coming.

Anonymous said...

You know what's worse than the Space and its noise violations? The massive lack of foot traffic after 6 PM in our neighborhood.

Without the space, a commercial venue disappears, meaning even less reason to ever travel east of 11th. We need the foot traffic so businesses can find our neighborhood an attractive investment corridor. We also need it so eventually vulnerable people don't get mugged on a commercial corridor at night only to find out after that there were no witnesses to the crime. The more reason to visit shaw for fun or necessity, the more plaguing issues will disappear (crime being the most pressing). Without getting too into the Race thing, I will say that the Space certainly brings a great group of people together. It's nice to have that type of patron in our neighborhood instead of a bunch of tourists or otherwise homogenous group of people.

Keep working with the Space. I'll sure as hell keep patronizing them.

EdTheRed said...

@anonymous: the Space's neighbors have tried to work with the Space. Here's how that went:

Space: We'd like to open an establishment.

Neighbors: Sounds good. We have some concerns we'd like to address, though.

Space: Certainly...your concerns seem reasonable. Let us enter into a voluntary agreement whereby I agree to abide by certain rules and, in return, you agree not to object to my application for a liquor license (and other permits).

Neighbors: We agree.

Space: Huzzah! Now that my business is opened, I'll just do whatever I want, nevermind that silly agreement.

Neighbors: Uh, but we had an agreement.

Space: Tough. Oh, and by the way, I'm adding a deck, even though I lack the legally required permits. Enjoy!

Voluntary agreements are often abused in DC (there's really nothing "voluntary" about many of them), but if you sign one that's proving onerous, there are ways of trying to get them modified that are more appropriate than simply pretending that the agreements don't exist.

To my mind, though, the illegal deck is a far more troubling issue. A neighbor of mine across the street once put a deck in that was too close to the front of the house (visible from the sidewalk in a historic district), and the DC government had the owner cited and the deck moved within days...when we ordered new windows for our bedroom, the installers screwed up and installed the wrong type (our permits were for the historically appropriate ones), and we had a visit from a District inspector the DAY the wrong windows were installed, who gave us official notice of a short period (30 days or so) to remedy the violation. That's how strict the District is when dealing with residential properties...Yet somehow a business is able to build and operate a deck for months without any consequences? That just ain't right.

Anonymous said...

While I fully believe in supporting local businesses, it's hard to support an institution that constantly breaks the law. One violation would be one story, but there are constant violations. Constant police reports, constant complaints from the neighbors. People who repeatedly break the law should not be able to continue operating. It's time for the Space to actually follow the law or shut down.

Further, breaking law on building code and permit issues (i.e. the outdoor deck) are serious but assaulting the neighbors is completely horrendous. This isn't an issue of race, the neighborhood, or the crowd at the Space. This is an issue of regulations being violated consistently and the neighbors being attacked by the club owner. It's time for the Space to close their doors.

Anonymous said...


How Many of You who r Complaining, Actually LIVE NEXT 2 THE SPACE, & ARE ACTUALLY DISTURBED BY IT?

The people who live next door, in a building with A LOUD Music studio, have been HEAVILY harrassing Space patrons. TAKING PICTURES?! Come on, if I am a patron, do I have to deal with this harrassment?! They keep calling the cops, but NOTHING happens....

The rest of you all are acting so Morally Self-Righteous about the Space not following the rules...waaah... What does it matter? Oooh, the rules, let us all Suck the D*Ck of the rules... How many of you follow all the Rules in Life??!

Do any of you live on that street? Why do you live on that street then? You live near crime, hoodrats, thugs & a big ugly convention center. That Convention Center is the last thing from Peaceful! That Church accross the Way has the SHADIEST late nite activity outside of it....

Are you truly foolishly going to move BLOCKS from K St & call it a quiet neighborhood....?

PLEASE... that is not possible...

Since there is so much bickering in these 36 comments about race, I would say the real question is, how many of you are White? What percentage of this whole ANC is white & living in the hood for only the past several years?

A historic African-American neighborhood, a bunch of white gentrifyers, blocks from the Golden Triangle, 2 blocks from high school hoodlums who rock glocks on a weekly basis, crackheads all around.... The Space... so horrible... Priorities are extremely skewed in this view...

If the Space is a Private Club, what is wrong with two people on the deck smoking a cigarette if they are NOT drinking? If the Space complies with the RULES, then What is the Problem? So, they have a party on Friday & Saturday nite. What about during the week, nothing. How are they supposed to functionally stay in business without revenue? They are closed during the week to private functions. They have their own establishment that they see fit to invite their own guests. Generally an extremely diverse crowd, as all of the previous supporters have mentioned.

Let me say, Anonymous with the Big Caps on all their letters sayin to get outta Shaw, He gotta point there.... Funny person,..... sometimes the one's who sound silly have a good point...

For you my Capitalized letter friend, I give respect.

Mr. Other Upper NW said...

Anonymous, your arguments are lacking coherency.

"If the Space complies with the RULES, then What is the Problem?"

There isn't one; but by all accounts the Space is not following the rules. This very point has been raised at least a dozen times now, but it seems some are still missing it.

All the other stuff--race, class, etc.--is a complete non-sequiter here. This issue is about a club owner operating his business in violation of an agreement that he signed, and in violation of the laws of the District of Columbia. Period.

Anonymous said...

Its easy to harp on "broken rules" when you have a vendetta against someone.

We all break rules every day. Im breaking one right now by blogging at work. Im sure you jay walk, I drank underage. You don't separate your recycling. The list goes on.

Frankie says RELAXXX.

Mr. Other Upper NW said...

Alright, I think the comments here have run their course.