ANC6b Retail Mix Group Narrows Focus for Balance of Its Term
by Larry Janezich
The Retail Mix Taskforce met Monday night to decide on what it can accomplish in the last six weeks of its current existence. Despite its interim goal of achieving a balanced retail mix on Barrack’s Row, the Taskforce will narrow its focus to two concerns.
First, it will address parking, noise, and trash concerns of the Row’s immediate residential neighbors. Resident members of the Taskforce will propose operating guidelines for bars and restaurants based on a list of resident complaints. The Taskforce will consider recommending these guidelines to the ANC for incorporation into voluntary operating agreements for outlets with liquor licenses. This step may be in anticipation of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) overturning ANC6b’s protest of three new liquor license applications on the 500 block of 8th Street, as well as recognition that these quality of life concerns will continue as issues whether the protests stand or not.
In addition, resident members of the Taskforce have been charged with organizing another information-gathering forum regarding the impact of imposing moratoria or business restrictive overlays on the area and how that relates to the retail mix. This forum is likely to convene in January. Possible participants include restaurateurs, retail merchants, and landlords.
Any substantive work regarding how to attract a better retail mix for all of the commercial corridors in ANC6b, including defining systemic problems, providing tax incentives, ANC solicitation, subsidy of retail operations, and involvement of Ward Six Councilmember Tommy Wells, appears to depend on reconstitution of the Taskforce once the new ANC6b is seated.
The Taskforce recognizes that attracting a better retail mix in light of high rents, low foot traffic, and considerable popular support for more nearby restaurant choices might prove difficult. If that is the case, the ANC will be dealing with the problem of trying to manage the ensuing problems rather than managing the retail mix.
Another meeting of the Taskforce will be scheduled for late January. The group will issue its Interim Report prior to the ANC’s February meeting.