City Paper Widget

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Owner Pledges Cat Cafe Will Not Attract Rodents

On March 24, DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) voted unanimously to support a request for zoning relief by Crumbs & Whiskers (3211 O Street NW), which will become the area's first "cat cafe". Crumbs & Whiskers anticipates an opening this summer, according to its website.

Future site of Crumbs & Whiskers
"What a unique situation!" BZA Chair Lloyd Jordan said at the meeting.

"I'm not a cat person per se," Jordan said. "But I think this is really innovative to me."

The application was unusual in several ways. Beau Archer of the Washington Humane Society wrote a letter and also appeared in person before the BZA to support the project. Two electronic petitions in support with 86 signatures total were submitted. It was also perhaps the first time the BZA received a Powerpoint presentation where one of the bullet points was "Hairballs".

The Powerpoint presentation also detailed the steps the owner would take with trash and waste disposal so that the cafe would not attract rodents and other vermin.

The BZA supported the application on the stipulation that the cafe have not more than 20 cats at any one time, a point the owner Kanchan Singh was clearly comfortable with. The 20-cat maximum was a stipulation in the resolution of support for the cat cafe passed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2E/Burleith-Georgetown. The establishment needs zoning relief because it is officially classified as "animal boarding use" since the cats will be there overnight.

The atmosphere of Singh's appearance before the board was very cordial. No one on the board or in the audience objected to the request. The hearing took eight minutes to complete.

After approving the application, Jordan asked Singh how much she was going to charge patrons at the door to enter. Singh said the cover charge hadn't been decided yet. Then he asked what type of beverages would be served. This had also not been decided.

"So, I pay $20 to play with the cats and drink? OK, that works," Jordan said.

The documents related to the case, along with a streaming video of Singh's appearance before the BZA, can be seen by accessing DC's Interactive Zoning Information System and putting case 18954 into the search bar.

In the last three days, articles about Crumbs & Whiskers have appeared on the blogs Washington DC Eater and DCist, plus on the website of WNEW news radio.

Crumbs & Whiskers also has a Facebook page.

(photo credit: from BZA files)

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