City Paper Widget

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ANC2F Sticks to its Guns vs. "The American" in Blagden Alley

At its regular monthly meeting March 5, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle has decided not to settle for half a loaf in its negotiations with local serial restaurateur Xavier Cervera. But not without misgivings.

The site is currently a boxing gym
"They have lawyers," said Commissioner Greg Melcher (district 06). "We don't have lawyers."

ANC2F will meet Cervera's lawyers at a March 17 hearing before D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The topic will be a liquor license for Cervera's planned new restaurant "The American". ANC2F is protesting the liquor license, hoping to compel Cervera to sign a settlement agreement with shorter outside operating hours than he wishes.

The disagreement seems to be over a single hour, on Friday and Saturday nights. Cervera wants to have service in the outdoor part of his restaurant until 1am. The ANC, urged on by future neighbors of the restaurant, wants outdoor service to end at midnight.

Melcher told the committee further negotiations were not possible.

"The applicant has rebuffed me," he said. "The community wants more but we can't get more."

The American will be located in Blagden Alley, which is part of Melcher's ANC district.

ANC2F and The American have agreed on all other aspects of the restaurant's operation, including operating hours for the indoor portion of the establishment and weekday hours for the outdoor part. See a copy of the draft settlement agreement here.

The negotiation between Cervera and ANC2F started last September. The ANC voted to protest the liquor license application at its February 5 meeting -- see SALM blog post of February 11.

Melcher seemed to think it possible that ABRA would find against the ANC, in which case The American might be free to stay open even later -- possibly until 2am on weekdays and 3am on weekends. He wanted to give the ANC and the community the opportunity to settle for Cervera's hours rather than risk losing everything.

An audience member who identified himself as a near neighbor in Blagden Alley urged Melcher not to compromise. At least some of Melcher's fellow commissioners seemed to think the case was winnable.

"I think our chances are pretty good," said ANC2F Chair Matt Raymond (representative for district 07).

No action was necessary to continue the ANC's protest, so no vote was taken on the matter.

An article on the blog BadWolf DC has drawings of what the proposed restaurant might look like.

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