ANC6B’s (Conditional) Approval for &Pizza on Barracks Row
Can Restaurateur Salis Make It Work?
by Larry Janezich
Last night ANC6B gave conditional approval to a Barracks Row & Pizza planned for 405 8th Street, SE, the current site of OXXO Cleaners. The vote came on a motion by Chair Brian Flahaven to support an exception to the ban on fast food on 8th Street on the condition that the restaurant owner agree to some of the strictest standards (according to & Pizza legal counsel) on noise, odors and trash ever asked of a restaurant, as well as a time limit of seven years on the exception. The owner would have to reapply for a continuation after that time. The vote was 6 to 4, with Commissioners Flahaven, Campbell, Frishberg, Opkins, Pate and Jayararman voting in the affirmative. Commissioners Peisch, Loveland, Garrison and Oldenburg opposed the motion.
The approval came after an impasse had developed; the ANC had voted down motions to approve the request for a special exception with a ten year limit and to disapprove the request in its entirety.
& Pizza argued that the ANC was faced with the choice of voting for approval of a tightly regulated fast food restaurant or a restaurant which would likely be installed as a matter of right which would not be subject to tight regulations. The compromise time limit of 7 years on the exception – as enforcement leverage on the conditions attached to the approval – was enough to tip the balance.
The main argument of the opponents, led by Commissioner Phil Peisch, was that the block could not afford another fast food restaurant. Today, Commissioner Oldenburg posted on her beat26 blog, “In my view, this block is lost. Time to accept it as; I suppose some may label it vibrant.”
Objecting to the 7 year limit & Pizza owner Steve Salis cited the considerable expense involved in opening up on Barracks Row and said that a 10 year limit would work for him in terms of running a profitable operation. He went on to say, “This is a challenge…it puts me in a difficult position…I ask the ANC give consideration to my needs.” In response Commissioner Ivan Frishberg told Salis that the problem was not the ANC, but the rent he was being required to pay, which Frishberg called “among the highest in the city….absurdly high. The landlord is putting you and the community in this position.” The building is owned by Maurice Kreindler who owns several buildings on the block, both on 8th Street and D Street, including the building housing Radio Shack and FedEx.
Before the votes, & Pizza legal counsel Allison Prince told the ANC that &Pizza had successfully concluded negotiations with two of the restaurant’s closest residential neighbors on noise, odors and trash control and that building owner Maurice Kreindler had agreed to limit the special exception to 10 years rather than the 20 years originally sought.
Nearby neighbor Linda Elliott, who Prince had referenced as one of the neighbors involved in negotiations, told the ANC that the agreement reached should not be interpreted as support for the fast food venue, but rather as the neighbors’ fallback position in case the ANC approved the special exception.