City Paper Widget

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Darnell's Signs Agreement with U Street ANC, Protests Dismissed

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) 1B/U Street has signed a settlement agreement with Darnell's Bar (944 Florida Avenue NW), which will attempt to limit the noise coming from the establishment. As a result, the ANC withdrew its protest of Darnell's liquor license renewal as of March 11th, the date the agreement was officially recognized by DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABRA).

Image of Darnell's from Google Street View
Protests by the ANC and other groups had threatened to close the establishment -- see SALM blog posts of October 22 and December 10, 2014.

Beside the ANC, three other parties were protesting the renewal. Two of these three protests were also dismissed on March 11th. One of the dismissed protest was that of a group of five or more neighbors. Any protest by a group of five or more is automatically dismissed when an agreement between the ANC and the establishment is signed, as set forth in Section 25-609 of DC Code.

The second dismissed protest was that of an abutting neighbor, who lives above the establishment. This neighbor's protest was dismissed because she failed to attend an ABRA hearing on February 18. Information gathered from an ABRA official transcript of the hearing indicates that the neighbor had gone "way down in Virginia" to visit family during the long Presidents' Day weekend immediately previous, and then was unable to return to DC due to a February 17 snowstorm that brought the area to a halt, closing schools and the federal government.

The third protesting party attended the hearing. He told ABRA about the upstairs neighbor's inability to make it back to the city, but said he had talked to the upstairs neighbor. She wished to remain a party to the protest.

He was asked if he had anything in writing that stated this.

"I couldn't get anything in writing. She left before the snow come," he replied.

He was asked if he had any email that stated this. He didn't.

"I'm not computer literate anyway and neither is she," he said.

According to the same transcript, the upstairs neighbor's protest was then dismissed. The neighbor who attended the hearing was advised that an appeal of the decision was possible if filed within 10 days of receiving notification. However, a March 11 ABRA document (page seven of an 18-page .pdf here) says that the neighbor's request for a reinstatement was unanimously denied. No reason for the denial was given.

On the same day, the protest of the upstairs neighbor was officially dismissed. See the order dismissing the protest here.

One protesting party remains -- a second abutting neighbor. This neighbor will get to make a case against Darnell's at the ABRA protest hearing, scheduled for April 8 at 1:30pm at ABRA offices at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets).

The text of the settlement agreement between ANC1B and Darnell's can be seen as on the last page of the order dismissing the protest of the group of five or more here.

ANC1B voted to enter the settlement agreement with Darnell's at its regular monthly meeting in January -- see SALM blog post of January 12.

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