Category Archives: ABRA Policy Committee

NEWS: ABRA Committee Meeting, Sept 17

The ABRA Committee of ANC2B will discuss revisions to existing guidelines for alcohol service in outdoor space at its 8:00 p.m. (note time change), September 17, 2014, meeting.  Draft minutes of the ABRA Committee’s August 20, 2014 meeting follow.

ANC 2B ABRA (Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration) Committee

Draft Minutes– Wednesday, August 20,2014, Dupont Circle Resource Center

Next Meeting:  8:00 p.m. (note time), Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Member Attendance: Chair: Commissioner Abigail Nichols (2B05) (replaced Kevin O’Connor at June 2014 ANC meeting), Ruth Horn, Dupont Circle Citizens Association (2B01); Ramon Estrada, at large (2B09); Caroline Mindel (2B08)

Others: Elwyn Ferris, Jonathan Padget, Sarah Peck

Committee Mission.  Abigail distributed the relevant pages of the ANC2B manual that describe the mission of the ABRA Committee.  She noted that the committee has no authority but rather makes recommendations to the Commission.  Therefore it is important that resident members keep-in-touch-with/lobby their commissioners about committee recommendations.

Meeting administration.  All meetings are public meetings.  Ruth Horn and Jonathan Padget agreed to help with communications for the committee.

Membership:  The Committee agreed we should aim for resident members  directly affected by the various alcohol business areas.  Jonathan Padget from the west P Street area agreed to be nominated for committee membership.  The committee needs a member living close to the 17th Street establishements.

Abigail will reach out to our business members to discuss how we can make best use of their expertise.

ABRA News: 

  • Ozio Board Order limiting roof top music
  • Chi Cha Lounge where the ABC board did not support residents complaints
  • Café Asia – August 15 lifting of summary suspension
  • Saloon 45 Hearing, August 6, where Councilmember Jack Evans and ANC2B argued against any license being granted.  Sarah Peck said this is an important part of the protest process and that it is not too late to ask to submit findings of fact and conclusions of law.  The hearing lasted 8 ½ hours; there was discussion of why this was.

Problem Areas and Information Sharing:

  • Jonathan Padget described noise created by catered evens at Anderson House; he has been working with the manager there.  Said MPD would only respond to complaints about noise that was disturbing the neighborhood after 10 pm.
  • Ruth Horn and Caroline Mindel described voice noise disturbances (in contract to amplified music)
  • Ruth Horn said that protestants should realize that there avenues of appeal beyond the ABC Board decision.

Committee Activities:  Members agreed to work on the following tasks:

  • Ramon Estrada will recruit a committee intern
  • Caroline Mindell will consult Elwyn Ferris and explore how tracking ABRA enforcement actions can inform neighbor work with alcohol establishments.
  • Abigail Nichols will begin modifying the March 2011 ANC2B “Guidelines on Sidwalk Café/Outodor Restaurant Use to include outdoor alcohol service on privately-owned space.
  • The Committee will invite Tom Lipinsky from Councilmember Jack Evans to a future meeting.
  • The Committee will look for opportunities to describe the many trouble-free settlement agreements and other neighbor/establishment successes.
  • The Committee will anticipate the April 11, 2015, expiration of West Dupont Circle Moratorium.

Agenda for Next Meeting:  Outdoor alcohol service and use of ABRA data on enforcement.

My Resignation


I write to you today to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of Single-Member District 2B02. I am relocating to Petworth, where I have recently purchased a home. While I am very excited to be a homeowner and to remain here in the District, I am also sad that I have to leave the community I have called home for over 10 years now.

As Commissioner, I have been fortunate enough to play a role in a number of important changes and developments across Dupont Circle. Before I resign, I want to take this opportunity to thank you, my community and supporters, and reflect upon some of the things that we have accomplished together.

I must give thanks to the dedicated public servants in District government for their tireless efforts to assist me and my fellow Commissioners as we work to make neighborhood services operate smoothly and to keep Dupont Circle a destination for locals and tourists alike. My Single-Member District has benefited the diligent efforts of folks like Matthew Marcou at the District Department of Transportation, as well as Ruth Werner, and Sherri Kimbel; two of the truly outstanding staff members of Councilmember Jack Evans.

I would also like to voice my appreciation to those at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration (ABRA), with whom I have worked very closely in my capacity as ABRA Committee Chair with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). I am grateful for the assistance of Fred Moosally, Martha Jenkins, Bill Hager, LaVerne Fletcher, and Sarah Fashbaugh for their continued assistance in helping the ANC on alcohol policy matters ranging from small questions about the particulars of a Settlement Agreement to briefings on moratoria.

My appreciation also extends to the outstanding community groups I have worked with throughout my term, including Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, and Dupont Festival. Each makes vital contributions to our neighborhood and its unique character.

I am extremely appreciative to have had the opportunity to work with a number of talented Commissioners during the past three and half years. During my first term, I was able to serve with the support of long-time community leaders such as Bob and Susan Meehan, Victor Wexler, and Phil Carney. The guidance of Ramon Estrada on ABRA matters has proven to be invaluable; Jack Jacobson’s dedicated work ethic and focus is something I have strived to emulate during my two terms; and, I owe my initial interest in running for this position to the mentorship of Mike Silverstein and Mike Feldstein.

To my current colleagues, I could not be more proud to work with you. I know that under the leadership of my friend Will Stephens this Commission has and will continue to set the standard for the rest of the District. I could not possibly be more optimistic about the range of talents and experience my newer colleagues Leo Dwyer, Stephanie Maltz, Kishan Putta, Abigail Nichols, and Noah Smith bring to Dupont Circle. I am excited to watch them excel and regret that I will not have the opportunity to continue to work with them on the vast array of projects we have undertaken.

Over the past three and a half years, we have worked together to improve our neighborhood and make it a better place to live. I am proud to have helped bring more bicycle parking and bikeshare stations to my neighborhood; established model standards for businesses and residents to follow with regard to both public space and Settlement Agreement negotiation; led the discussions allowing for increasing restaurant licenses both on P Street and 17th Street; helped establish new rules and guidelines to improve the governance of our ANC; and supported progressive zoning and historic preservation guidelines to support the future growth of the District.

Finally, I would like to show my appreciation to my 2B02 constituents that I have tried my best to serve over the course of my terms. To the folks at The August apartment building where I have lived these past 10 years: thank you for your continued support and encouragement. To the folks I have worked with on different projects ranging from liquor matters, to zoning, and transportation (Karyn Siobhan Robinson, Peg Shaw, Alan Rueckgauer, Jonathan Padget, Rudi Riet, and far too many more) thank you for your passion and commitment to making our neighborhood a better place.

At the conclusion of our May 14th meeting, I will formally tender my resignation. With my absence on the Commission, I will be nominating our outstanding public policy intern and ANC2B02 resident Daniel Warwick to serve as liaison to the ANC until my replacement is elected. I encourage you to reach out to him and introduce yourself; I know that he will serve our community well.

Thank you for your time and for allowing me to serve. Know that I will always remain an active advocate for the well-being of my community District-wide, and that I look forward to working alongside you to help make the District of Columbia a better place for all of its residents.

All the best,

Kevin O’Connor

April 2014 ABRA Policy Committee Agenda

Agenda for the April 16, 2014 Meeting of the ABRA Policy Committee

  • Discussion about including “Soft Closings” in Policies and Procedures Manual
  • Thoughts on Progress of Noise Task Force
  • Follow-up on Councilmember Graham’s “ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014″
  • Protest Updates
    • Bistro Bistro (2B01)
    • Midtown (2B05)
    • Dirty Martini (2B05)
    • Rose Bar (2B05)
    • Public Bar (2B06)
    • 18th St Lounge (2B06)
    • Bar Code (2B05)
    • Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08)

NEWS: Minutes from the March 19, 2014 ABRA Policy Committee

Committee Members In Attendance:

Commissioner Kevin O’Connor (2B02)

Commissioner Noah Smith (2B09)

Discussion on March 10th Public Safety Meeting 

The meeting, over all, was successful. Several follow-up items were identified.

1)   Work with business to lobby ABRA/Council to institute a liaison to businesses. The ANC will work to promote this position and help over come the “us versus them” mentality that can arise between neighbors, the ANC, and business owners.

2)   Work with Police around the timing and outreach of the Club Action Team (CAT). Try to promote use of the CAT on Sundays.

3)   The ANC should move to show more support for soft closings. This will help alleviate the noise issues that arise from all bars releasing patrons at the same time

Based on initial conversations, the ANC believes the ABRA/DCRA/MPD Noise Task Force has helped successfully mitigate noise south of Dupont Circle

ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014

The Committee was not clear as to what, in particular, the proposed legislation would adequately address. It is unclear what the objective would be.

Additionally, the Committee was concerned about the narrow scope of the proposed legislation, which wouldn’t apply to many categories of promoting that may or may not be bad actors.

The legislation focuses more on registration and less on distinguishing good versus bad behavior.

The Committee does not believe that the legislation will address “morphing.”

The Committee recommends establishing a voluntary registration process for promoters, where promoters may voluntarily take the initiative to register with ABRA. This may make a promoter more attractive to businesses hiring, which would offer an incentive to register. There should also be training offered to promoters, which should have specific components that have been developed by ABRA, business owners, promoters, and community input.

Protest Updates

Midtown (2B05): April 2014 protest date, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Dirty Martini (2B05): April 2014 protest, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Rose Bar (2B05): Protested as of 2/18/2014, near agreement on Settlement Agreement

Public Bar (2B06): Settlement Agreement agreed upon by all parties

18th St Lounge (2B06): Protest re-instated at March 2014 Meeting

Bar Code (2B05): still negotiating over use of public space – April 2014 protests date

Bar Charley (2B08): Settlement Agreement signed by all parties.

Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08): Awaiting update


NEWS: March 2014 ABRA Policy Committee Meeting Agenda

Agenda for the March 19, 2014 Meeting of the ABRA Policy Committee

  • Debrief: Thoughts/Next Steps from the March 10, 2014 Public Safety Meeting
  • Discussion of Councilmember Graham’s “ABC Establishment Promoter Licensing Act of 2014”
  • Protest Updates
    • Bistro Bistro (2B01)
    • Midtown (2B05)
    • Dirty Martini (2B05)
    • Rose Bar (2B05)
    • Public Bar (2B06)
    • 18th St Lounge (2B06)
    • Bar Code (2B05)
    • Chi-Cha Lounge (2B08)