ANC 6B Approves Chipotle Application; Vows No Alcohol Moratorium for Barracks Row For Now; Accepts Finding of Fact on Bylaw Violations

ANC 6B Approves Chipotle Application; Vows No Alcohol Moratorium for Barracks Row For Now; Accepts Finding of Fact on Bylaw Violations

by Larry Janezich

In a varied and lengthy meeting Tuesday night, ANC 6B unanimously approved the application for a special exception in order to allow Chipotle Mexican Grill to open a restaurant on Barracks Row.  In other business-related news:  Pitango Gelato, now open on 7th Street, obtained ANC 6B’s blessing to provide outdoor seating on benches outside their storefront; and Pound on The Hill was also approved for outdoor tables and chairs.  Most significant, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the ANC’s Retail Mix Taskforce that the ANC forgo discussion of an alcohol moratorium on Barracks Row for the time being.  Commissioners concerned with the removal of this “tool” from the ANC “toolbox” accepted the resolution once language was added clarifying that the Commission reserves the right to revisit the question of a moratorium should conditions or constituent sentiment seem to warrant it.

The Commission also voted unanimously to accept the guiding principles set forward by the Retail Mix Taskforce outlining what should be under discussion when considering a liquor license application.  These principles stressed alleviating undesirable neighborhood effects, including encouraging staff to park their cars on non-residential blocks or to take public transportation.

In other business, the Commission voted to accept the findings of fact approved at Monday night’s Executive Committee meeting that stipulated the violations of the bylaws that occurred when Commissioner Garrison testified before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) regarding the Hine project.  The findings extended to Commissioners Metzger and Oldenburg, on whose behalf Garrison also spoke.  The vote to approve the findings was 7 – 0 with three abstentions (Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg).  The Commission then voted to send a letter detailing the violations for the benefit of the HPRB and clarifying the position of ANC 6B on Hine for their record (abstaining on this vote were Campbell, Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg).  Taking a tack Garrison had refused in Monday night’s emergency Executive Meeting on the matter, Commissioner Oldenburg read a statement on behalf of herself, Metzger and Garrison.  Included in the statement was an acknowledgment of the infractions as well as an expression of “regret,” followed by an apology, and then a promise to “fully comply” with the bylaws in the future.  This statement seemed to mollify the Commissioners who seemed the most upset at the absence of “contrition” at the Executive Committee meeting last night; it also seemed to obviate the need for a lengthy and contentious discussion.

Near the meeting’s end, the Commission voted to send a letter – the exact content of which was to be determined – objecting to the abrupt removal of Councilmember Wells from his duties as Chair of the DC Council’s Transportation Committee today.  Seven Commissioners voted to approve the effort, while Commissioners Green and Critchfield opposed it and Commission Chair Neil Glick abstained.

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