City Paper Widget

Monday, January 6, 2014

City Dog Fight at ANC1B

It was Citydog! vs. City Dogs at the January 4 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street. The two canine daycare establishments seem headed toward a long and unpleasant turf battle.
City Dogs: 15 years in D.C.

The dogs in the fight 

The struggle appears to center on trademark infringement -- not an area where ANCs have any say. 

CityDog! Club, a newcomer to the D.C. area, aims to start operations near City Dogs Daycare. City Dogs Daycare has been in business in D.C. since 1999, according to a statement by an owner at the ANC meeting. The CityDog! Club plans to do business at the corner of Florida Avenue and 14th Street NW; the City Dogs Daycare is located at 1832 18th Street (between T and Swann Streets).

City Dogs Daycare also shares space and management with City Dogs Rescue, a non-profit operating since September 2011 and "formed for one reason: to rescue adoptable dogs in overcrowded and high-kill shelters", according to its FAQ page.

Citydog! Club: first franchise in D.C.
Partisans of City Dogs Daycare/Rescue have established both a Facebook page in opposition to Citydog! Club as well as an online petition at that has gathered more than 100 electronic signatures.

The newcomer CityDog! Club came before ANC1B January 4 to request endorsement of requests from D.C.'s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for zoning variances and special exceptions that would allow it to operate on the first floor of a mixed-use building. ANC1B's Design Review Committee had already recommended the full ANC endorse CityDog! Club's request -- see SALM blog post of December 18, 2013. (No representatives of City Dogs Daycare came to the Design Review Committee meeting, which took place on December 16.)

At the January ANC meeting, City Dogs Daycare told the ANC the establishment of a nearby business with a similar name would confuse customers and have an adverse effect on the community, and urged the ANC not to endorse the request.


There followed a long discussion about what exactly the ANC should be discussing. Citydog! Clubs argued that their request to the BZA only required a demonstration that the operation of a canine daycare/grooming service would not inconvenience the neighbors directly abutting the proposed location of the business. Citydog! Club said they had demonstrated to the Design Review Committee that abutting neighbors would not be adversely effected. In reply, City Dogs Daycare advocated consideration of the impact on the wider community.

An attorney for Citydog! Club said their zoning-related requests met the letter of the law. City Dogs Daycare had a different interpretation.

A representative of Citydog! Club said they would not consider renaming their business, which is part of a chain.

A proposal by Commissioner Jeremy Leffler (district 02) to send the matter back to the Design Review Committee for reconsideration went nowhere. It was determined that, by the time the Design Review Committee met, made a decision, and sent the decision back to the full ANC for another vote, CityDog! Club's hearing at the BZA would already have passed, rendering the activity pointless.

The vote

The motion to endorse the request for zoning variances and special exceptions failed on a tie vote of 4 - 4.

Commissioners voting to endorse the request: Sedrick Muhammed (district 03), Ricardo Reinoso (05), James Turner (09), and Tony Norman (10).

Commissioners voting against the endorsement: Marc Morgan (01), Jeremy Leffler (02), Juan Lopez (07), Zahra Jilani (12).

Commissioners Deborah Thomas (04), Emily Washington (08), and E. Gail Anderson Holness (11) were not present at the meeting.

Commissioner Dyana Forester (06) was present earlier at the meeting but had to leave before the vote due to a family emergency.

Next steps

The request by CityDog! Club will now proceed to the BZA without ANC1B endorsement. The BZA hearing is scheduled for February 4, at 9:30am, at the Zoning Commission's hearing rooms, located at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, Room 220 South.

Meanwhile, on its anti-CityDog! Club Facebook page, City Dogs Daycare put out a request for ANC1B residents, especially residents of the mixed-used building where CityDog! Club is intending to set up shop (View 14, 2303 14th Street), to come forward and support its attempt to block CityDog! Club's petition before the BZA.

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