Photo by Runwashington.com.
Last night the ANC met for its November session. Thankfully it was a short agenda, but really all that means is that they’ll find a way to stretch out the proceedings (actually in all fairness they finished up relatively early).
Those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad (And Excessive) Street Closings
The ANC has been making some noise for sometime about the ever increasing number of street closings in Georgetown for various marathons, 10ks, funwalks, etc. They have particularly been critical of events that show up at the last minute. These typically have a disproportionate effect on lower Georgetown, although as demonstrated last weekend when three Potomac bridges were out, they can affect all Georgetown residents.
So rather than respond on a case-by-case basis, which doesn’t seem to work, the ANC is going to start to take a more proactive approach with the city, and in particular the Mayor’s Special Event Task Force. It’s not clear, though, how much they’ll be able to convince the city to limit the number of events coming through Georgetown. Tom Birch had the perceptive point that working with other neighborhoods to convince the city would increase Georgetown’s sway (and conveniently make it less of a “whoa is Georgetown”-thing, which doesn’t win many sympathetic ears).
Ron Lewis was particularly concerned that these events be charitable and not a profit-making enterprise. Birch also suggested the city come up with some more locations that don’t affect residents (GM can’t think of many of those that aren’t NPS land).
So after spending a good five minutes railing against the creeping menace of races, the ANC turned to its next item:
Lawyers Have a Heart 10K
After listening to the commissioners complain about races, a representative of the Lawyers Have a Heart 10k race presented their plans for their next race. It will be in June 2011 and will involve shutting down K St., the Whitehurst, and Canal Rd.
The ANC was quick to acknowledge the quality of this event (they raised over 500k last year), but they stressed that all events will face increased scrutiny going forward. In this case, the scrutiny was primarily focused on the noise created by the race and how to discourage the runners from driving to the event.
As a lawyer, GM has always loved the Lawyers Have a Heart race. It’s an annual reminder that he has a functioning circulatory system (phew). Also, there’s this gem: apparently 5-6,000 people sign up for the race, but only around 3,500 actually race. Some drop out but apparently of the runners are “virtual runners”, which apparently means they raise money but don’t actually run. There’s a joke somewhere in there about inflating billable hours, but under the DC Bar’s ethics rules, GM is prohibited from making it.
GM For One Welcomes Our New CRC Overlords
One company popped its head up twice last night: Capital Restaurant Concepts. It’s the company behind a bunch of Georgetown restaurants–including J. Pauls, Neyla, and Paolo’s to name a few–and the number is growing.
They first came up in the discussion over Third Edition, whose license is up for renewal. The bar has been the subject of a series of complaints and ABRA citations ever since CRC took over operations of the restaurant (they don’t own it, they just operate it). In particular, the condos behind Third Edition have complained about the noise coming from the outdoor tiki bar and the noise from patrons leaving the bar out the back door.
Bill Starrels promised to work with the neighbors and CRC to tighten up the voluntary agreement (although Charlie Eason pointed out that the problem seems to be that they’re not following their current VA in the first place). Starrels stressed that they’re not trying to put anyone out of business (query: is CRC getting more slack over Third Edition than other “trouble” places? Compare this response with the response to Philly Pizza, which included an explicit objective to put them out of business.).
Later CRC came up when it was revealed that they are likely to be the operators behind the proposed International House of Pong. The owner of the proposed new ping-pong-themed restaurant is David Sakai, a Table Tennis Hall of Famer(!) They are asking for space for 300 people, which made the ANC nervous. Tom Birch was particularly interested in addressing the inevitable “waiter, there’s a ping pong ball in my soup”-question, but Sakai’s son, who was there, answered that the layout would avoid that. We’ll see (although the first thing that will likely change is the name; GM simply can’t imagine that other IHOP won’t raise a big fuss).
On top of these restaurants managed by CRC, there is the already-open Muncheez (which GM can testify is tasty, even if they are totally violating the Old Georgetown Act with their unapproved signage) and the eventually to-be-opened Paul Bakery across the street. This will bring CRC’s Georgetown footprint up to at least eight. Perhaps the query of whether CRC is getting more slack than other restaurants is more than an academic question?
The Rest of the Story
So those were the two big issues that GM saw. But it wasn’t all that was discussed:
- Jonathan Umbel, owner of Hook and Tacklebox, apparently recently bought the Champions space (although GM is a little confused because Umbel used to co-own Blue Gin, which was in that same space). Could the Mad Butcher of Georgetown finally be coming?
- Tom Birch got married!
- The annual Merriment of Georgetown will return this year on December 5th and will run with the slightly earlier hours of 2-5
- A left turn on Reservoir from northbound 35th seems likely to pass DDOT review, but it will take out a few parking spaces. Ron Lewis worked with DDOT to find more spaces on the north side of the 3400 block of Dent Place to make up the loss. In the past, GM has said that the ANC is basically just a reactive body and can’t do much proactively. That wasn’t entirely fair and this (the parking and the new turn itself) is a good example of the ANC taking a proactive step to improve the neighborhood.