Monthly Archives: November 2013

New Lower 8th Street Mural Promotes Local Shopping

Shop Local

Shop Local (click to enlarge)

Aniekan Udofia - Muralist

Aniekan Udofia – Muralist

New Lower 8th Street Mural Promotes Local Shopping

by Larry Janezich

A new mural promoting local shopping went up today on the side of the building overlooking the commercial parking lot at 8th and Virginia Avenue, SE.  It is highly visible for commuters waiting at the stoplight at 8th Street after taking the 6th Street exit from the SW Freeway.

The mural is part of American Express’ “Shop Small” effort  to draw attention to and encourage shopping at local brick and mortar businesses.  This year, the organization is using muralists in the ongoing annual national endeavor to focus on “Small Business Saturday” – November 30.

The theme of this aerosol-and-house paint mural features a happy modern young woman just returning from shopping with cellphone in hand.   It incorporates shopping bags emblazoned with the stars from the DC City Flag, a pup recalling the nearby dog day care center.  The sharpened pencil – about which more below – is a recurring image in the artist’s recent work.

The artist, Aniekan Udofia, selected by “Shop Small” to create the 8th Street mural, is known for other work in DC, notably the mural for Ben’s Chili Bowl and the gagged George Washington both on U Street, as well as towering murals of Duke Ellington and Fredrick Douglas.  He was born in DC and lived in Nigeria for 16 years before returning to DC where he has lived for the past 13 years.

Udofia says he is inspired by the late 19th and early 20th Century Czech painter and illustrator Alphonse Mucha, a founder of the Art Nouveau movement known for his distinctive style, which Udofia says he tries to apply to a more modern setting.

Asked about the use of the pencil in his murals, the artist said it is part of his “Reloaded” series.  Udofia says it recalls childhood, when “drawing was fun.”  Now, he says, “adults turn to social media and kids are into Facebook – ‘Reloaded’ represents the idea of the pencil as the base of design.  The pencil represents the base – the root – the beginning – of any creative plan.”


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Eastern Market’s Silver Spork Sold

The Silver Spork - Soon To Join List of "Do You Remember The....."

The Silver Spork – Soon To Join List of “Do You Remember The…..”

Eastern Market’s Silver Spork Sold

New “Radice” Will Feature Italian Specialty Foods and Products

by Larry Janezich

According to Kitty Kaupp of Stanton Development, Silver Spork owner Seth Shapiro has sold his six-year old business across the street from Eastern Market.  The unnamed purchaser, from Northern Virginia, will open an Italian specialty shop and deli featuring fine Italian wines and olive oils and sandwiches.  Kaupp says it will be in keeping with Stanton’s retail philosophy of focusing on products from small producers.  According to Kaupp, the Silver Spork will continue to operate through the end of the year, after which the venue will undergo remodeling by the new owner before reopening as “Radice” – Italian for “roots” –  early in 2014.

Shapiro – Managing Partner of “Just Around the Corner LLC” announced last September that that after six years as a Marvelous Market, the retail food shop across from Eastern Market would relinquish its association with the Marvelous Market chain and become “the local independent shop we have strived to be all this time.”  Shapiro did not respond to a request for comment regarding the sale.


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Tommy Wells Falls Behind in Fundraising for Mayoral Race

Tommy Wells Falls Behind in Fundraising for Mayoral Race

by Larry Janezich

Paperwork filed with the DC Office of Campaign Finance reveals that rival candidates for mayor Muriel Bowser and Jack Evans have far outpaced Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells in their efforts to build a campaign war chest.  Evans has amassed $768,475 thus far and Bowser $708,981, while Tommy Wells has only managed to raise $319,708.

Many observers of DC politics would probably guess that the discrepancy between Wells and the other councilmembers running for mayor can be explained by the fact that Bowser and Evans accept corporate contributions, including the notoriously generous set of interests grouped around real estate development.

But this is not an adequate explanation.  A close analysis of Tommy Wells’ campaign records demonstrates that Wells accepts individual contributions from developers and related interests, and that, while his refusal to accept corporate contributions may partly account for his lag in fundraising efforts, developers and associated interests have been major contributors to his campaign.

For its analysis, CHC examined the major donors to the campaign, bearing in mind that the law permits a corporate entity or an individual to contribute a maximum $2000.  (For a point of reference, CHC calculates that at least 32% of Tommy Wells’ totals to date are $2,000 donors, while for Bowser it is 53% and for Evans it is 57%.  Wells’ ratio cannot be calculated with the same degree of accuracy because his exploratory committee records, which cover January 2013 to April 2013, are available only in paper format – rather than electronic spreadsheet.  Further, since the Wells campaign submitted the exploratory records before the DC Office of Campaign Finance began online posting, they are available only after contacting the DC Office of Campaign Finance.  Therefore, donors who contributed to the exploratory committee and to the campaign for a total of $2,000 are difficult to track, thus the 32% is a conservative estimate.  For those with further interest, Wells’ exploratory finance records have been posted in the Library at the top of the page.)

The single largest contributor to Tommy Wells’ campaign is Tommy Wells himself, with a $10,000 contribution to this exploratory committee and a total $5,747.27 to his principal campaign.  There is no limitation on what a candidate can give to his or her own campaign.

Considered as a set of interests, real estate developers account for 41% of the amount generated by large donors to the campaign: $43,500 out of $104,975.  The worksheet posted below as a separate blog entry distills these interests into three categories: the Hine Development; Restaurateur/Developer Xavier Cervera & Associates; and Other Developers/Related Interests.

Cervera and Barracks Row restaurant employees contributed $6000.  The Hine group total of $7,750 also includes real estate agents working from Caldwell Bankers’ 605 Pennsylvania Avenue address, which readers of this blog will remember generated a number of the letters (including form letters) written in support of Hine Development, and is an address still listed as a professional address for Hine principal Kitty Kaupp on her website.  Other Developers/Related Interests contributed $29,750.  For a list of the contributions associated with these three categories as well as other major contributors who gave an additional $70,500 and who can’t easily be put in (or absolutely excluded from) any category, see the Work Sheet posted as a separate entry on CHC, here:

Bowser’s and Evans’ margin of $2000 donors was 23% – 25% greater than Wells’.  Does this mean that Evans and Bowser benefited more percentage wise from corporate contributions than Wells?  The answer to this is problematic because it’s impossible to know if individual corporate officers would contribute the maximum to Wells if corporate contributions could be accepted.  However, Bowser and Evans accept that money openly, whereas Wells presents himself as without ties to development corporations and only a significant research effort can reveal otherwise.

Concerning the Hine development, Wells said in response to questions put to him by CHC, “I have received far more contributions from residents living around the Eastern Market neighborhood than I have from principals in the Hine project.”

The validity of this claim rests upon how you define “around” and who wants to make the effort to calculate it.  In a preliminary test using contributions from residents on 7th, 8th, and 9th Streets, CHC found that this was not the case.  Again, efforts to measure are complicated by the fact that Wells’ exploratory committee forms are available in paper format only. And it is clear that many of the large contributions from hard-to-categorize donors came from those who were strong supporters of Stanton/Eastbanc’s Hine bid or from those who would benefit directly or indirectly from the Hine project.  A case in point is the significant difference in contributions from Barracks Row and local businesses versus contributions from the H Street business corridor.

Wells’ efforts to build a firewall between his campaign and corporate influence may have harmed his fund raising efforts.  Still, within his own Ward 6, the record shows that there is a back door by which corporations can make their influence felt.

Wells’ contributions from the Hine development has come under scrutiny by WAMU’s reporting series: “In Fight for Deals, Developers Make Well-timed Contributions,” (  In that report, Wells justified his acceptance of $3,500 (also individual contributions) in the 2010 election cycle by noting that he had already voted on the Land Disposition Act for the Hine Development, and hence the opportunity to “influence” him had passed.

Readers of this blog will remember that 1) prior to his vote on the Hine LDA, Wells refused to intervene in the disposition process to modify the height of the development, noting that all such concerns would be addressed during the PUD process; 2) during a community meeting which drew over 200 Ward 6 constituents in 2012, residents asked Wells to use his influence in the PUD process to take down the height of the proposed development, and he refused, saying he would back what ANC6b could achieve; 3) since the LDA vote, Tommy Wells has cast votes to extend financial deadlines for the developers (December 2010; June 2013); and 4) the Hine Coalition asked Wells to investigate the public subsidy of community benefits Stanton/Eastbanc claimed for the Hine Development and he did not.

It may be that efforts to reform campaign finance will only serve to push the funneling of money further underground, creating a daunting research task for someone who would need time and extensive knowledge about city politics in order to connect all of the dots.  It may also be that using good judgment and fair play as a councilmember when considering developments in your ward, including taking ownership of and responsibility for developments located at prestige addresses in the crown jewel of your neighborhood, is the best campaign maneuver of all, one that motivates support rather than apathy, and encourages approval rather than curiosity.


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Worksheet on Tommy Wells Campaign Contributions

Worksheet on Tommy Wells Campaign Contributions

Note: Exploratory contributions are noted for items 1 and 2a, 2b; elsewhere “+” indicates a split contribution, whereas “,” separates two people who can be seen as representing one entity. Exclusively exploratory contributions for categories beyond 2b (like that of the Cymrots) are not specifically noted as such; those who are curious can consult the original documents in the Library.)

1)  Tommy Wells

$10,000 exploratory




$15,747.27 total

2)  Developers and related interests

a)  Hine Development

Kitty Kaupp $2,000 ($1,000 exploratory + $1,000)

Ken Golding $2,000 exploratory

Coldwell Banker 605 Pennsylvania Ave

Phyllis Jane Young $2,000 exploratory

John Parker $750 ($500 exploratory + $250)

Catherin Held $500

Angela Grimmer $250

Don Denton $250

$7750 total

 b) Restaurateur/Developer Xavier Cervera & Associates

Xavier Cervera $2,000 exploratory

Barracks Row Entertainment employees:     $2,000 exploratory

$2,000 exploratory

$6,000 total

c) Other Developers/Related Interests

Charles Asmar, lawyer for developers: $1,500 + $1000 ($500 returned as over limit)

William Lansing, Valor Development: $2,000

Phillip Coffey, SVP, Gaylord Entertainment, National Harbor: $2,000

Stephen Pugh, COO, Rappaport Companies: $2,000

Mera Rubell, art collector/developer: $2,000

Robert Cohen, CEO, Perseus Realty: $2,000

Scott Olson, Olson Advocacy Group: $2,000

Benjamin Miller, WestMill and Fundrise: $2,000

Maurice Kreinder, local CVS developer: $750 + $500

Fred Greene, FLGA LLC: $1,000

Matthew Weiss and Joseph Englert: $1,000, $500

Jack Mahoney, Title company: $500, $500

PI Corps, FL, employees: $2,000, $2,000

Pascal Nardelli, Castlebrook $500

Michael Nardelli, policy advisor at Nelson and Mullins: $2,000

Norman Glasgow, lawyer for developers: $500

Jair Lynch, eponymous developer: $500

Judi Seiden, Prudential: $1,000 + $500

Margo Kelly, realtor: $1,000

$29,750 total

($29,750 + $6,000 + $7,750= $43,500)

3) Miscellaneous Large Donors

Nicky and Steve Cymrot: $2,000, $2,000

Local CTO officer, GGW columnist Ken Archer: $2,000

Maygene Daniels $2,000

Timothy Temple, Splash Car Wash, activist against living wage: $2,000

Kent Amos, local public charter founder: $2,000

Todd Degarmo, architect: $2,000

Catherine Ramsdell, Jan’s Tutoring: $2,000

James Loots and Barbara Dougherty Loots: $2,000, $2,000

Ellen McElroy, Pepper Hamilton Law: $2,000

Robert Kosinski, CFO, Scitor Corporations: $2,000

Dan Macy, Editor, Thompson Publishing: $2,000

James Thompson, adoption lawyer: $2,000

Davis Buckley, architect: $2,000

Charles Parsons, retired: $1,000 + $1,000

Mary Lappatto, Cozen and O’Conner: $2,000 (+$1,200 more with same last name)

$35,200 total

4)  Other Large Donors, by Categories:

a) Local Business Barracks Row

$2,000 Constance Tipton, related to Tip Tipton

$3,500 David and Danette Sheldon

$4,000 (possibly more) from Yes! Organic Market and family

$2,000 Bart Vandaele

$2,000 Leah Daniels, Hills Kitchen

b) Local Business outside of Barracks Row

$2,000 Spike Mendehslon

National Capitol Bank

Richard Didden (recently deceased): $2,000

James Didden: $500

$18,000 total

5)  Lobbyists, Political Consultants/Services

a)  With known ties to Wells Campaign*

Winning Connections*

John Jameson: $2,000

Wells’ campaign pays “office rent”

Face to Face Strategies*

Paul Cooper $775 + $1025 (+ $2,000 from person with same home address)

Lists Wells as a client on website

b)  Other Lobbyists, Political Consultants/Services

Bernie Robinson, Livingston Group: $500 + $1,500

Ware Adams, Dean and Co., and wife Ellen: $2,000 + $2,000

Philip Lepanto, Connections Media and owner of Old School Hardware: $2,000

Michael Coscia, printer of campaign material: $1,000 + $1,000

Adam Clampitt, District Communications Group: $500 + $1000

$17,300 total


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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, November 19

ANC6A  Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm in Sherwood Recreation Center (10th and G Streets, NE)

Among items on the agenda:

Announcement of community meeting regarding patio and rooftop deck hours in ANC 6A – Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 7pm, at Sherwood Recreation Center (10th and G Streets, NE)

Discussion of requests by Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, Vendetta, H Street Country Club, Rock N Roll Hotel, and Sahra to terminate their Settlement Agreements with ANC 6A.

License renewals for The Atlas Room, Biergarten Haus, The Elroy, Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, The Star and The shamrock, Vendetta, HR-57, Avey’s  Bar and lounge, The Pug/Toki Underground.

New License for Andy Lee Liquor Inc, (Trade Name TBD) at 914 H Street, NE (Class “A” Retailer)

Wednesday, November 20

ANC6A Economic Development & Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm in Sherwood Recreation Center (10th and G Streets NE)

Among items on the agenda:

Developer of 1301 H Street, NE (R.L. Christian Library Site) plans to give a presentation regarding the status of redevelopment efforts for this site.

Wednesday, November 20

ANC6b Executive Committee will meet at 6:30pm at Hill Center to set the agenda for the December monthly meeting of ANC6b.  (This meeting was originally scheduled for Tuesday, November 26, 2013.)

Wednesday, November 20

ANC6b Outreach and Constituent Services Task force will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Review of Vacant and Blighted Properties

Wednesday, November 20

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) will meet at 7:00pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

Thursday, November 21

DDOT Barney Circle – SE Boulevard community meeting.  6:30pm at Payne Elementary School, 1445 C Street, SE

Thursday, November 21

PSA 108 meets with MPD Lt. Michael Thornton, at 7:00pm at Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue SE.

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Frager’s Plans 5800 Square Foot Temporary Structure on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Footprint of Frager's Planned Temporary Structure on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Footprint of Frager’s Planned Temporary Structure on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Mural-ed Fence Behind which Frager's New Structure Will Rise

Mural-ed Fence Behind which Frager’s New Structure Will Rise

The Temporary Structure Will Be Similar to That Occupied by Eastern Market During the Building's Reconstruction

The Temporary Structure Will Be Similar to That Occupied by Eastern Market During the Building’s Reconstruction

The Temporary Structure Will Be Similar to That Occupied by Eastern Market During the Building’s Reconstruction
Frager's Owner John Weintraub Meets with Nearby Neighbors of the Planned Strucutre

Frager’s Owner John Weintraub Meets with Nearby Neighbors of the Planned Strucutre

Frager’s Plans 5800 Square Foot Temporary Structure on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

by Larry Janezich

Frager’s Hardware plans to erect a 5800 square foot temporary structure in the vacant lot surrounding 1230 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  The lot and the town house at that location are owned by Larry Quillian.  Capitol Hill residents have become accustomed to the long fence featuring colorful murals just east of the CVS at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The 50’x116′ temporary structure will similar to the temporary structure that housed Eastern Market while the original building was restored after the devastating fire, and like it, will be constructed on a concrete pad.

The new structure will be two and a half times the size of the Frager’s location at 1323 E Street, SE, and much of that hardware stock will be moved to the Pennsylvania Avenue location.  The nursery stock and garden supply will be moved there as well in the event construction on the Hine project forces Frager’s to move from the location opposite Eastern Market.  In an earlier interview, Frager’s owner John Weintraub said that Frager’s might have to move from the Eastern Market location within 12 weeks of the resolution of the current appeal of the Zoning Commission’s approval of the Hine project, now before the DC Court of Appeals.

Applications for the necessary permits for the new structure will begin next month, and depending on how quickly that process can be completed, construction will take a few weeks and the new location could be open for business as early as next spring – March is the target.

Thursday night, Weintraub told a meeting of nearby neighbors called to brief them on Frager’s plans that, “We’re just trying to keep Frager’s going and this is one piece of the puzzle.  He said the uncertainty regarding the Eastern Market location and the short term lease on the E Street location plus the fact that there is not enough space there were the reasons driving the decision to put up the temporary structure.  E Street will remain in operation after the new location opens and the paint store will remain at 1129 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Regarding the main site which was destroyed by fire earlier this year, Weintraub said Frager’s is working with the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to move forward to rebuild.  Frager’s has applied for a demolition permit, but HPO wants to save the façade on Pennsylvania Avenue and on 11th Street.  Weintraub has a team working on the permit process to shore up the façade which is necessary before debris and hazardous materials resulting from the fire can be removed.  He said, “It will be a couple of years before we can reopen.”

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Office of DC General Council Orders DMPED to Release Hine Documents

Hine Junior High

Hine Junior High

Office of DC General Council Orders DMPED to Release Hine Documents

Efforts to Shield Documents from FOIA “Reversed and Remanded”

by Larry Janezich

The DC Office of General Council today reversed and remanded the decision by the Office of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED) to shield documentation on the Hine project from a FOIA request filed by attorney Oliver Hall.  Hall is counsel to the Hine Coalition – the group of Capitol Hill residents who are appealing the Zoning Commission’s approval of the Hine project.  The order came after the release earlier today of a message from Chair Muriel Bowser’s Committee on Economic Development critical of DMPED’s transparency on the Hine project.

In its ten page ruling (available on Capitol Hill Corner’s Library page above) Deputy General Counsel Donald Kaufman finds that DMPED did not justify its withholding of information well enough or specifically enough to qualify for an exemption which the law permits.

The Office of General Counsel invited DMPED to provide the documentation in question for “in camera” (private) review in order to determine whether they met the threshold for exemption from FOIA.  In response, DMPED provided only “samples”, none of which met the thresholds.

The ruling stands as a victory for attorney Oliver Hall, especially since the General Counsel’s office is on record as saying, “…disclosure of the amount which the District receives from the sale or lease of its assets is in the public interest.”

On October 10, Hall filed an appeal directly to the Mayor regarding DMPED’s the denial of his FOIA request for documents related to the Hine project.  The filing objected to the failure of DMPED to produce public documents in response to a FOIA request in three instances:  first, its failure to make public contracts available on its website; second, its failure to produce responsive documents; and third, its redaction of portions of public contracts.  All three, the filing said, are violations of DC code.  The letter requested relief from all three and suggested prosecution for any party found to have committed an “arbitrary and capricious violations of the [FOIA].”  See here:

“We won on almost all counts” Hall said.  He continued, “DMPED has to produce all documents they withheld. As far as I can tell, the only point we lost on is our request that DMPED be ordered to place all public contracts online in every case.”

On September 19, Capitol Hill Corner reported on DMPED’s efforts to stonewall access to the Hine documents.  See here:


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Bowser’s Committee Slams DMPED Transparency on Hine

By Larry Janezich
Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s Committee on Economic Development sent a strongly worded message to the Deputy Mayor’s Office regarding its response to the FOIA request on Hine. The message,  sent by Robert Hawkins, charged that the office “improperly withheld responsive records,  improperly referred the appellant to the website of [Recorder of Deeds], and improperly redacted portions of the requested record.”
Hawkins expressed greatest concern over the fact that DMPED “failed to justify these witholdings; such a failure suggests an indifference on the part ODMPED to comply with the spirit and letter of the FOIA law.”
Hawkins concludes with his hope that DMPED will “comply with the appeal order as soon as possible. “


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Renovation for Eastern Market Medstar Urgent Care Center Underway?

Medstar Announced Plans for an Urgent Care Center at this Location Across from Eastern Market Last January

Medstar Announced Plans for an Urgent Care Center at this Location Across from Eastern Market Last January

A View Inside the First Floor of the Home Care and Hospice Association Building at 228 7th Street, SE

A View Inside the First Floor of the Home Care and Hospice Association Building at 228 7th Street, SE

Renovation for Eastern Market Medstar Urgent Care Center Underway?

by Larry Janezich

Last week, renovation began on the first floor of the Home Care and Hospice Association Building at 228 7th Street, SE, across from Eastern Market.  Last January, Medstar announced plans for  two facilities with separate entrances at the location:  a primary care facility, open 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, and an urgent care center, open 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday and 8:00am to 4:00pm weekends and holidays.  Capitol Hill reported the opening – planned for the fall of 2013.  That posting is here:

An inquiry to the office of Bob Gilbert, President of Medstar Ambulatory Services, to confirm the project’s initiation and ascertain a target opening date was not returned.

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A Note on Settlement Agreements…..The Tune Inn and Tortilla Coast As Cases in Point

A Note on Settlement Agreements…..The Tune Inn and Tortilla Coast As Cases in Point

by Larry Janezich

A Settlement Agreement (formerly known as a Voluntary Agreement) is an agreement between an ANC and an applicant for a liquor license .  ANC6a has their standard Settlement Agreement posted on their website, and though agreements may vary from ANC to ANC, they all have the common goal of creating an environment where the bar/restaurant/tavern may operate as a business within a community while curtailing any adverse effects such a business could have on surrounding neighborhoods.

ANC’s generally make their support of an applicant’s request for a liquor license or renewal of same, contingent on the applicant agreeing to operate the business in a way that minimizes the impact on the neighborhood and to formalize that agreement in a signed document – the Settlement Agreement.   Restrictions on business operations take on additional cogency when neighbors find that the business impinges on their quality of life to an unreasonable degree and complain to the ANC.

In neighboring ANC6B, neighbors complained about the Tune Inn’s late night bottle disposal routine. The Tune Inn initially indicated they would sign an agreement and work to correct the problem, but then backed out at the last minute before ANC6B could formally “protest” the license.    In the case of Tortilla Coast, a technicality prevented ANC6b from following through on a “protest” which resulted from numerous calls to police for issues including disorderly conduct and a repeatedly malfunctioning burglar alarm.  In addition, there have been several ABRA violations, including sale of alcohol to a minor.  Tortilla Coast has steadfastly refused to sign a Settlement Agreement despite having signed one in another location.   Their desire to add an “entertainment endorsement”  to their liquor license – they have karaoke and a Marachi band in mind – gives ANC6b another shot at bringing them to the table to negotiate a Settlement Agreement.

A protest launched by the ANC initiates a mediation process designed to bring the applicant to the table with the ANC to negotiate terms of operation.  ANC6A’s website a category labeled “other documents” and its standard Settlement Agreement is posted at the end of the section of documents related to ABRA.  A copy of that Settlement Agreement can be found here:



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