ANC6b Retail Mix Taskforce Schedules Hearing on Barracks Row

ANC6b Retail Mix Taskforce Schedules Hearing on Barracks Row

by Larry Janezich

The January 10 hearing will focus on Barracks Row restaurateurs and retailers – this is the second in a series of three hearings bearing on the issue of the street’s retail mix.

There will be two panels for the hearing.  The first panel will be comprised of restaurateurs: those invited to participate include Andreas Xenochristos, Cava; Xavier Cevera, Molly Malone’s, Lola’s, Chesapeake Room; Jorge Zamorano, Banana Cafe, Starfish; Drew Kim, Matchbox, Ted’s Bulletin.

Retailers will comprise the second panel.  Those invited include Kathleen Clayton, Labyrinth Games (on Pennsylvania Avenue); Manuel Cortez, Groovy DC; Erin Mara, Homebody, Dennis Bourgault, Chateau Animaux (which will remain on 8th Street in a new location); and Marie Connolly, Stitch DC.

A third hearing scheduled for January 17 will feature landlords, realtors, and representatives of business groups.  The invitation list for this hearing is not yet complete.

Both meetings will be held at Brent Elementary School, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

The Taskforce’s first hearing was held December 6, 2010, when the members and residents heard from four commissioners representing three neighborhoods with moratoria or restaurant caps: Glover Park, DuPont Circle, and Adams Morgan.

Following that first hearing the Taskforce met and decided to narrow its focus to two concerns.  First, it will address parking, noise, and trash concerns of the Row’s immediate residential neighbors.  Second, resident members of the group were tasked with proposing 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.

Draft guidelines have now been proposed.  In addition to those drafted by resident Taskforce members Claudia Holwill and John McGaw, Commissioner Ivan Frishberg has submitted guidelines for consideration by the group.

Taskforce Chair Norm Metzger has scheduled a January 13 meeting of the Taskforce – following the restaurateurs/retailers hearing – to discuss the contents of the report and the guidelines.  The report is due by February 8.

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 after its mandate expires in February.

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