04 February, 2009

Results of Community Meeting with XII Restaurant


The Following Minutes have been redacted to protect the participants

We had approximately 20 households represented at this meeting (not all signed in). For the most part the agenda was followed:


* We outlined the problem and identified that there are at least 3 residents that have informed ABRA/ABC and maybe, some other communications to Joseph Fengler, (Single Member District Commissioner for 6A02 and current Chairman of the ANC6A commission).
* We informed that there are two Cooperative Agreements (CA) embedded in the ABC License of XII and provided copies to our neighbors.
* We explained what a CA is, how it functions, that any member of the community (whether they are an actual signee or not) can invoke the CA, and that MPD and ABRA are the enforcers of the documents, not us.
* We informed, that when the CA was written by the neighbors (who are protestants), that it specifically addressed the sensitivities of the most immediate neighbor and then the residences along the 700 block of 12th going west in the alley behind 12th Street and north back toward H Street immediately behind XII.
* We informed that the walls of the establishment are extremely thick (1.5') and that no sound can possibly be coming through the walls. We also indicated that pending the support of all of the signed protestants, we will seek to remove the clause from this agreement referencing walls simply because its not relevant.
* Residents raised a very good point with Bernard Gibson (Licensee) that he has to focus on where noise could be coming from at his establishment, possibly the last two windows in a concrete stairwell where there may be some sound leakage.
* Police identified that on at least two occasions that they had hear some sound from the establishment outside and also some sound in the home of the most immediate neighbor, but not to the level that is complained about and its still unclear as whether vibrations are felt in the home of the resident on a consistent basis.
* The designated XII staff person who guards entry to the establishment, stated publically, that he has been inside of the most immediate resident . 's home but did not feel any vibrations.
* Police informed that they substantiate a noise complaint before it’s written up as a PD 251 and forwarded to ABRA. Police went further to explain that the owner may obtain a copy of the report for free, others must pay. The police stated they could care less as to who the owner is, they are going to do their jobs of enforcing the laws, whether it’s XII, Showbar or the Argonaut.


* Certain residents who were expected to attend due to their complaints were not present.
* Mr. whose family resides at 1200 G Street, N.E. identified noise from the Showbar and Red and the Black but did not seem to implicate XII as disturbing his home and family.
* Mr. did come but stated the last time he had heard sound which he identifies as coming from XII was December 6 and that there has been no sound in January of 2009. When questioned about other bars and noise that others hear Mr. was unable to identify sound from those bars.
* Mrs. of 1208 G Street indicated that she does not hear sound from XII.
* Another resident of whom we don't know named "" and I believe he simply signed in as PSA 102 for an address said that he has sometimes heard sound which he thinks was from XII but that it was not disturbing. We are going to followup to clarify his position as we are unsure as to where he lives on G Street.
* The family who reside at 1248 Linden Place expressed no concern with XII but were able to identify noise from Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H street and Red and Black and Showbar, including fights and noise.
* Mr. and his wife of 1244 G were not able to hear any sound from any direction.
* Mrs. of 710 12th Street does not hear music.
* Other residents on 12th Street are not indicating a problem with the establishment.
* A few residents have said on occasion they have heard some sound from XII, but this was early on before XII installed new windows.
* There is no curb cut where XII is, however the area that he has parked vehicles is private space. Mr. Gibson has agreed not to park there anymore, period. He does continue to use the space for deliveries and trash pickup. I have arranged for him to use Autozone's parking lot should he not be able to park on the street.

Actions from Here:

* It was agreed at the meeting that a sound check would be performed Friday night. We are still trying to decide the time. Current thinking is that we don't want to perform the test too early as to be ineffective or too late to disturb families. At present (pending further discussion with neighbors on 12th Street, Linden and G, we are leaning toward 9:45pm to 10:15pm Friday. Our thinking is that this is the optimal period which will not provide an inconvenience to neighbors, but will allow them to communicate with XII and us if sound/vibrations are or can be heard. We will distribute a notice this evening to everyone informing them of the sound check, a contact number and email address they should use to help us evaluate the sound levels (if there are any). Residents will further be encouraged to come out on the street and participate in determining the levels and providing feedback to the establishment.
* We will invite Linda Obrien from Council member Tommy Well’s Office, Commissioner Joseph Fengler and anyone who wants to help resolve the issue for once and for all. This is a onetime test.
* We have informed Mr. Gibson publically, that if he wishes to keep his ABC license that he must have a staff member close to the sound system/musical live band that ensures that once we have set the limits for bass and sound, that the management of sound will ensure that the levels never increase; ever. That there can be no more substantiated complaints by residents to the police or ABRA or the protestants will make a formal charge to ABC/ABRA for action on the license. Mr. Gibson has agreed to this and so we move forward.
* Mr. Gibson has further agreed to mark his equipment in such a way as to denote that bass/sound is never turned higher than what the community agrees upon at the forthcoming sound check.
* Pending approval by the other protestants, we will submit a request in the next 30 days to the ABC Board to amend the current CA to reflect the discussions of last evening, and forward this to MPD.
* Ms. Obrien, apparently was not aware that that Mr. 's wall isn't attached to Mr. Gibson wall and that they are separated by an entire lot. Ms. Obrien was not apparently aware that the building that XII is in (Square 982) does not abut Mr. 's residence and also that it is separated by an entire Lot.
* I will make contact with Laverne Fletcher (ABRA Mediator) later this afternoon to obtain 4 dates to schedule a sit down between Mr. and Mr. Gibson to hopefully reach a compromise/resolution in this conflict.
* I will also send a letter to Mr. and Mr. Gibson offering the dates that Ms. Fletcher provides for mediation in February 2009.
* We will provide a detail explanation to each community member in Square 1004 and 982 (corrected from 986) on how to file official complaints to ABC/ABRA on any establishment.
* I will also post each CA on the PSA102 blog and our neighborhood websites, but encourage residents to first attempt to make a telephonic contact to the owner of the establishments if they have problems with some activity that they observe (that reasonably does not require immediate police or ABRA response).
* It was suggested that I contact Skip Coburn because of his work with clubs and bars.

We hope this provides an understanding of what we did last evening. Since this issue really does not reflect an action of PSA 102 any correspondence or comments should be sent to me at Lin Den 1200 at g mail dot com.

At the request of ABRA the sound check will not occur until we receive notice that XII has upgraded the soundproofing in the rear of the building. At that time the protestants will notify the community and government and perform a sound check. Current thinking is for a Thursday or Friday night between 9:45pm and 10:15pm. Residents will be requested to email or call a specific number if they can hear sound from this establish. Residents will also be on the street with government to walk the area and determine levels that exceed the restrictions of the CA. Once this part is complete, the licensee has agreed to mark his sound equipment in a way that gives performers warning that they cannot exceed that level marked. The Licensee will also agree to have a staff member within a zone where that person can frequently check to ensure that this procedure is adhered to during hours of operation. There is also consideration to amend the CA to reflect these changes.


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