City Paper Widget

Monday, February 24, 2014

ANC1B Joins Protest Against MOVA Lounge

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street has joined the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association (MHNA) in protesting the liquor license renewal application of MOVA Lounge (2204 14th Street NW). The ANC voted to protest at its regular monthly meeting on February 6.

MOVA Lounge with placards last week
Last year, the ANC had voted to endorse MOVA Lounge's application in what
seemed at the time to be a routine case with no neighborhood concerns. After it seemed too late to reverse its decision, ANC1B learned that late-night noise from MOVA Lounge's rooftop garden had caused the MHNA and a group of 19 neighbors to protest the renewal application.

An MHNA representative told an ANC1B Committee (see SALM blog post of December 3, 2013) the protesters were unaware the ANC was going to deliberate on this matter because MOVA Lounge had not properly displayed a placard announcing the renewal application.

D.C. liquor licensing authorities apparently agreed with the improper placarding claim. MOVA Lounge was compelled to start the renewal application process over. This gave ANC1B the opportunity to weigh in the on side of the protestors.

At the February 6 ANC meeting, no representative of MOVA Lounge appeared, nor did MOVA Lounge respond to an invitation to attend a February 18 MHNA meeting where the matter was discussed.

At the February 18 meeting, a representative of the neighbors at 1407 W Street said the group had sent "about five emails" to MOVA's lawyer Andrew Klein. There was "zero response", he said.

MOVA Lounge has a rooftop garden at the rear of its building. At its closest point, it is separated from 1407 W Street only by a narrow alley. The 1407 W Street representative told the MHNA that amplified music from MOVA Lounge could be heard until 3am some evenings.

"We are not aggressively against MOVA Lounge," he said.

MHNA voted to continue the protest "in hope of establishing a settlement agreement" with MOVA Lounge.

At the MHNA meeting, Commissioner Ricardo Reinoso (district 05) said ANC1B's protest letter was "signed and ready to be delivered" before a March 3 deadline.

This is the second time in less than a month that a midcity liquor licensee has been tripped up by the placarding process. Last month, after accusations of improper placarding set the process back to square one, ANC 2F/Logan Circle voted to protest the new liquor license for Xavier Cervera's new Blagden Alley restaurant, The American -- see SALM blog post of February 11.

The MOVA Lounge vote was unanimous, with Commissioner Tony Norman (district 10) abstaining. Commissioners Sedrick Muhammed (district 02) and Deborah Thomas (district 03) were not present at the ANC meeting.

MOVA Lounge is in the ANC district of Commissioner Thomas.

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