Brookland’s Finest And Neighbors Reach Settlement Agreement On Liquor License Application

As we posted earlier, there has been drama surrounding the liquor license application of Brookland’s Finest, a new restaurant aiming to open in Brookland at the corner of Jackson and 12th Streets, NE. Many neighbors were taken aback when ANC 5B voted to protest the application despite having no public discussion about it, and after many neighbors wrote their ANC Commissioners expressing their support. This caused some neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant, of which I am one, to wonder how we will have our concerns about the restaurant addressed. Out of this leadership vacuum, a neighbor, Jose “Joe” Barrios stepped up to bridge the communications gap between the immediate neighbors and the restaurant management by negotiating a Settlement Agreement with Brookland’s Finest.

One day soon this will be our new neighborhood watering hole.
One day soon this will be our new neighborhood watering hole.

The Agreement came about as a result of Joe meeting with concerned residents and representing their “wish list” of ideas in a series of negotiations with Brookland’s Finest. Residents, including myself, were present and provided feedback during all of these discussions. Joe also reached out to legal advisors who are experts in DC’s alcohol regulations. A major negotiating point was the operating hours of the summer garden/patio, which residents wanted to close at 10 pm weekdays and 11 pm on weekends. The Brookland’s Finest team agreed to the request and had these hours added to its ABRA application by amendment instead of being in the Agreement.

Now that the Agreement has been hashed out, Joe will be collecting the signatures of sponsors in a 3-block radius of the Restaurant in support of the Agreement. Joe stated:

“I do want to make clear that anyone who signs as a sponsor is agreeing to appoint me as their representative for purposes of this agreement, and will be bound by its contents. I believe that a strong showing of support for the Agreement will serve as a counterweight to an ANC protest that was devoid of meaningful community input. I also wanted to take a moment to commend the Brookland’s Finest team for their amazing cooperation in getting this agreement done. They listened carefully to the residents’ concerns and proposed constructive solutions.”

Do you live in close proximity to the restaurant (from Monroe to Girard and from the Railroad Tracks to 13th Street NE) and would you like to sponsor the Agreement?  If so Joe would be happy provide you with the final copy of the Settlement Agreement and have you sign. The deadline for signatures is this Sunday, June 23rd.  Joe Barrios can be reached at jbarrios9396(at)gmail(dot)com. The Settlement Agreement is as follows:

THIS AGREEMENT is made and entered into as of this _____ day of _______________, 2013 by and between Brookland’s Finest, LLC (hereinafter the “Applicant”), and the designated representative of a group of residents who live in proximity of the establishment in question (hereinafter “Residents”).

WHEREAS, Applicant having filed an application with the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (hereinafter “ABC Board”) for issuance of a Retailer’s Class “C” Tavern license for the premises of 3126-3128 12th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017 (hereinafter the “Restaurant.”)

WHEREAS, in recognition of the ABC Board’s policy of encouraging parties to settle their differences by negotiating agreements, the parties hereto being desirous of entering into an agreement whereby, subject to approval of the ABC Board, Applicant will agree to adopt certain measures to address the Residents’ concerns in exchange for issuance of the ABC license without need to file a Protest.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants and undertakings memorialized herein, the parties agree as follows:

1. Noise Suppression: There shall be no loud or live music performed, nor acoustic speakers placed, outside the Restaurant or on the Summer Garden. Music from inside the Restaurant shall not be audible at any time on the opposite (northwest) corner of Jackson and 12th Streets NE. Reasonable sound attenuation methods will be utilized to minimize noise from inside the restaurant spilling outside; examples may include but are not limited to building a second set of entry doors or use of a heavy curtain separating the entrance from the seating area of the restaurant. The Restaurant’s operation shall at all times be in compliance with the D.C. Noise Control Act. Applicant will encourage employees and patrons, by posted signs or other printed notation on the front door and inside the bathrooms, and verbally as needed, to be considerate of residents in the neighborhood after departing the building, by keeping conversations and other noises at a level that will not disturb the peace, order, quiet and tranquility of residents in the enjoyment of their homes or generate a noise complaint.

2. Summer Garden: The Restaurant will undertake reasonable efforts to deploy vegetation and planters around the outside Summer Garden area. Service of food and alcoholic beverages on the outdoor Summer Garden shall at all times be for seated patrons only, who will be served by Restaurant staff. There will be no service of food or alcoholic beverages at any time to any standing patron at the bar that adjoins the Summer Garden. Patrons from inside the Restaurant shall not be permitted to bring alcoholic beverages and stand outside on the Summer Garden. Once the Summer Garden is closed each evening at the hour listed on the Applicant’s license application, all patrons shall be vacated and the “garage door” separating the Summer Garden from the interior shall be closed.

3. Dining and Kitchen. Restaurant must be maintained as a tavern offering full waiter service and a kitchen that is open until at least two hours before closing every night. Restaurant will maintain a dinner menu commensurate with the menu presented in the original business plan. The restaurant may offer “light fare” or a “light menu” before and after dinner hours.

4. Special Events: The Restaurant will not advertise alcoholic drink specials that are specifically geared towards college students.

5. Trash Pick-Up and Removal: Applicant will maintain regular trash/garbage removal service, a minimum of 3 times per week (days to be decided by owner and business necessity) only during the hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, from the trash and dumpster area and see that those areas are regularly kept clean. An exception will be where the city declares air quality or other environmental or weather concerns, at which point the Restaurant will be exempted from the trash pick-up hours requirement for that day. Applicant shall keep dumpster lids tightly closed and incapable of being entered by rodents, in order to limit odors and help control pest and rodent population. Applicant will conduct regular rodent and pest (insect) abatement as needed. Dumpsters are not to be visible from the street or from the next door neighbor, and Applicant must use fencing or planters with vegetation to hide them. Applicant will provide for proper removal of grease and fatty oils from the Restaurant and will not deposit grease or fatty oils in dumpsters or down drains. Bottles shall be dumped into the recycling bins outside only between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:00 pm, and they will be disposed of in bags to reduce noise.

6. Litter and Debris Removal: The Restaurant will comply with applicable D.C. laws and regulations with respect to removal of litter and debris on its premises. Applicant will encourage employees and patrons, by posted signs or other printed notation on the front door and inside the bathrooms, and verbally as needed, to be considerate of residents in the neighborhood by not littering as they are departing the premises. Applicant will petition the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) for a DPW-owned and maintained trash can to be placed on the corner of 12th and Jackson Streets, NE adjacent to the restaurant for the benefit of patrons leaving the restaurant, and will post a copy of that petition to the Brookland listserve (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Brookland). As a service to the community, Applicant will send an employee, every morning before opening, to make best efforts to clean up litter for 25 feet beyond the restaurant property lines down Jackson and 12th Streets NE and their adjoining sidewalks, as well as the abutting alley. It is understood that only best efforts are required, and restaurant will have no liability beyond what is required by applicable D.C laws and regulations.

7. Parking and Bicycles: Applicant shall support community efforts to obtain residential zoned parking on the 3100 block of 12th Street NE and the 1000 block of Jackson Street, NE, at a minimum by writing letters of support to the appropriate government agencies and posting copies of them to the Brookland listserve. Applicant shall petition the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), or otherwise work with government officials, for the installation and maintenance of DDOT-approved bicycle racks at a convenient location on the Restaurant’s premises, and will post a copy of that petition or other evidence of compliance to the Brookland listserve. Applicant will encourage employees and patrons, by posted signs or other printed notation on the front door and inside the bathrooms, and verbally as needed, to be considerate of residents in the neighborhood by complying with nearby residential parking zones and regulations.

8. Smoking: Applicant will instruct patrons who are smoking to do so in a limited designated area on the 12th Street NE side of the premises without service of food or alcoholic beverages.

9. Cooperation between Applicant and Residents: Applicant and Residents’ designated representative agree to meet, as needed, to discuss any problems arising from the operation of the Restaurant, or challenges arising from its compliance with the Agreement. The Applicant and Residents both agree to work in good faith to resolve these challenges and problems.

10. Addition to License: The Residents agree not to protest, and agree to the issuance of Applicant’s license upon execution of this Agreement, provided that this Agreement is incorporated into the ABC Board’s order issuing, amending or renewing the license, which order is thereby conditioned upon compliance with this Agreement.

11. Right to Protest: The parties agree that Applicant will be given notice of any alleged violation of this Agreement, and will be afforded reasonable time to investigate and respond to any such complaint (not greater than ten (10) days).  The parties agree that if reasonable discussions of violations are not resolved then any failure of the Applicant to adhere to the foregoing commitments would constitute a breach of this agreement and grounds for the Residents to petition the ABC Board for issuance of an order to Show Cause, as provided by the D.C. Regulations.

7 thoughts on “Brookland’s Finest And Neighbors Reach Settlement Agreement On Liquor License Application”

  1. Great work on this Joe and thank you for stepping up for the community! I live a few blocks over and cannot wait to have another place to dine!!

    1. Hi Greg,

      This would be, for example, putting an advertisement in a University student paper/website/listserv for “$2 beers for anyone with a college ID”. The Brookland’s Finest team make it clear that this type of promotion is NOT part of their plan – and that their target customer is neighbors/families. But this offers some assurance. Hope this answers your question.

      Best,
      Shani

      1. So it is a matter of word choice and ad placement? What if the advertisement is for good food and good drinks? Who will police this risk to the community? The restriction seems pretty vague, perhaps it should enumerate every possible articulation that might attract younger customers.

  2. I don’t know who wrote this article or who they have been speaking to, but myself and my immediate neighbors have not agreed to the terms in the document above. And we live the closest to this proposed establishment.

  3. Dear Jessie,
    The article does not imply that all neighbors support the agreement. All immediate neighbors were invited to participate in discussing concerns regarding the planned restaurant. Some neighbors came and took part in the debate, others decided not to.
    As the article explains, you would have to physically sign off on the agreement in order to be listed as a supporter. I assume you did not do that, therefore your name will not be associated with the settlement agreement.
    Kind regards,
    Astrid

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