ANC6b Approves Conceptual Drawing for Lower 8th Street Beer Garden
Modern/Industrial Design Revealed
by Larry Janezich
ANC6b overrode concerns of some commissioners regarding the proposed building design for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L Streets, SE, and approved the concept on a 7-3 vote. Last month, the ANC approved the establishment’s liquor license. Owner Mark Broody and architect Matt Battin are shepherding the plan through the Historical Review Process, required because the building site is in the Capitol Hill Historic District.
The vote came on a motion by Commissioner Brian Pate to approve the plan but include a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board listing concerns identified by commissioners, including safety, inconsistency of the design with the Historic District, and issues of window/door proportionality.
Those voting to approve: Chair Glick, Commissioners Campbell, Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.
Those opposed: Commissioners Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.
The proposal envisions a one story building holding up to 100 people inside and 200 outside with the roof deck and summer garden. There will be a four and a half foot retaining wall on top of the building, wood privacy fencing, and rain screening on the sides overlooking 8th and L Streets.
On February 1, Brody and Battin brought the design before the ANC’s Planning and Zoning Committee. The Committee heard their presentation, but voted to take no position and to refer the matter to the full ANC. Concerns had been raised at the hearing regarding the design aspects relating to the proposed materials, the open deck, lack of letters of support, the building’s “unfinished appearance,” and lack of views showing how the building related to existing structures in the affected area.
At Tuesday night’s meeting Brody and Battin presented revised plans and drawings, letters of support, and aerial views of the neighborhood.
An early motion by Commissiuoner Oldenburg to object to the proposal to allow the owner time to refine the design in accordance with the issues raised tonight was defeated on 3 – 7 vote.
The delay was strongly opposed by Planning and Zoning Chair Francis Campbell, who said it was “unconscionable” to have had the owner come back with design modifications and letters of approval and then raise objections to the design. Commissioners Green and Frishberg joined in opposing the motion, the first on grounds that the objections to the design issue were subjective, and the second because the reasons for sending the owner down a path requiring further revisions were not clear.
Those voting to approve the motion to object: Commissioners Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.
Those opposed: Chair Glick, Commissioners Campbell, Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.
The Oldenburg motion was followed by a subsequent motion by Commissioner Norm Metzger, providing that the ANC take no position on the proposal.
That motion was strongly opposed by Commissioner Brian Pate who said he felt it was time to move forward on the issues and that he wanted to see something built south of the freeway which extends our community.
The Metzger motion was defeated on a 4 – 5 – 1 vote.
Those voting to take no position: Commissioners Campbell, Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.
Those opposed: Commissioners Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.
Abstaining: Chair Glick
The discussion was divided between those favoring a more cautious approach – which opponents implied was delay for the sake of delay – vs. a “let’s get something done and fix it as we go along.”
Those favoring a cautious approach warned that the ANC was voting on what might be a permanent structure in the Historic District – one whose design “isn’t ready for prime time.” That view was offset by those who pointed out that the owner would be back before the ANC for an amendment to the liquor license to permit serving alcohol on the roof deck, providing an incentive to address the concerns raised at tonight’s meeting.