So That’s What Sweet Mango Was Doing

DSCN0523, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

They did put a roof up. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Wouldn’t big Campari Umbrellas have been a nicer option? What do you think, do you like the roof deck better with or without the roof?

21 Comment

  • That looks like a pretty solid structure they are building. Maybe they are planning on putting another spiral staircase up to that level and having double decker outdoor seating? shazam

  • My wife and I noticed this on Saturday. We also noticed the greasy smoke from the kitchen wafting back over the out door area. That will make it a lovely place to dine!

  • With all the rain we have been getting lately I bet this will be much better than the umbrellas that won’t really provide much shelter. Now they can eat outside and enjoy the rain showers

  • I wonder what they could do to work on the facade that’s showing in the photo? The couple of ventilation units and a window isn’t really inviting.

  • Heinous.

  • I think it makes sense for both rainy and sunny weather – too wet when raining, too “schorchio” (bonus points to fans of British humor for spotting the reference) when its sunny.

    Oh and for christ’s sake, tear down those ugly election banners!!!

    Anonymous: its not even finished yet – reserve your judgement, will ya?

  • It looks so dark and uninviting now. They should have gotten retractable awnings.

  • Discussing the design and the intent of the structure is one thing, but what about how the addition impacts the neighborhood? Homes behind Sweet Mango used to have a view of the open sky. The view was already challenged by Park Place, who met with the community on several occasions before upliftng their structure. But SM has completely completely adjusted the appearance of the neighborhood – seemingly without any discussion with the surrounding community.

    I do wonder how business owners are able to make decisions that impact an entire neighborhood without consulting the community. I also wonder if those campaign signs are the reason why SM appears to be getting away with doing major construction without a permit and licensed contractors. Any ideas, anyone?

  • I would really have to walk around there to get a better sense, but I am hard pressed to see how the roof would have any major impact on the neighbors view of the sky. Those behind the building would already have it blocked (to the entent it is blocked) by the building itself. Those accross the street on either side.. not sure if it really significantly blocks the view.

    Are you sure they don’t have a permit for this? If so, why don’t you call authorities and even Muriel and Michael to see if they can do something about it.

  • The entire thing was discussed by the ANC . . . a lot of the stuff that “seems” to happen without talking “to the community” actually get discussed in formalized arenas. Even if you don’t want to attend the meetings, you can usually get updates on the Petworth & Petworth Action Committee/Petworth Cares lists, also on the actual ANC (4C) site. I know the meetings are tedious and contentious, but they are the place where all of the businesses in the area are referred when they want to make changes to their existing structures.

    The addition, roof & filings were all done perfectly above board, through the venues to whom the owners were told to speak.

  • Id add that you would be silly to move into a neighborhood like petworth and not expect it to be in a constant state of change. Its a city. A gentrifying nieghborhood within a growing city. When I was looking for a house I know I took it into consideration. I passed on houses based on their proximity to commercially zoned properties cause I had visions of Mcdonalds moving in. How much would that suck. To have a house with a porch view of McDonalds?

  • Tania- Thank you for that moment of sanity! I think sometimes people get carried away and start assuming that just because something wasn’t a topic of discussion on their favorite blog or listserv, that it wasn’t “discussed with the community.”

    A lot of “the community” isn’t online, and assuming that blogs are the only forum for community discussion is short sited at best and alienating to large portions of the neighborhood at worst.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like it when business owners come on here, or message blast other neighborhood blogs with their development plans, questions about beers to keep on tap, how to enhance their ambiance etc- but that isn’t outreach to the community- that’s outreach to the internet community. And while that may leave those of us who are fluent in computerese feeling all warm, fuzzy and included in the development of our neighborhoods, it has a strange way of completely ignoring those who aren’t.

    /kind of off topic rant about the digital divide

  • Anonymous, quite the contrary: how great would it be to be able to just cross the street to get a Bic Mac.. mmm… mmm.. mmm…. Gotta love those suckers. Ok, perhaps two blocks away would be even better.

  • All this debate and controversy over a freakin’ roof? Blocking sunlight, no permit? Its a roof so that people don’t get wet its not that serious! People in D.C. are so uptight about everything which is why nothing creative ever gets done!

  • I am interested to see the finished product. I live about a block and a half away from there…and I’m probably going to stop through on my way home for some jerk chicken, now that you all have me thinking about it!

  • Sweet Mango Cafe has applied for a public space permit application for outdoor cafe table space. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C would like to hear from you — especially if you live within a block or so of Sweet Mango.

    Commissioner Timothy Jones tabled consideration of the permit application at the last ANC meeting two weeks ago. Mr. Jones’ single-member district. 4C08, includes the intersection where Sweet Mango is located. Mr. Jones’ email address is: [email protected]

    Please share your thoughts with me also about this issue if you like at: [email protected]

    If you live in ANC 4C’s jurisdiction, please share your views with your own commissioner. There are ten of us. Our street addresses and some phone contact information is listed at the Board of Elections website:

    Snail mail us at:
    Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C
    P.O. Box 60847
    Washington, DC 20039-0847

    ANC 4C’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8th at 6:30 pm at in the community room at 801 Shepherd Street NW, the MPD Patrol Services Bureau Bldg / Boys and Girls Club – formely called ROC North.

    Note: Elections for ANC seats will be held this November. For more information, go to the Board of Elections’ website.

    Joe Martin
    Chair, ANC 4C / SMD 4C09 Commissioner
    202-309-1817 personal cell

  • TListentolean, they have jerk chicken or you going to make it yourself? I’ve never been to that establishment. But if you make it I’d like to come over and grab a plate of your good Carribbean fixin’s!

  • Thanks for the feedback. Please permit me to respond in kind:

    GforG: I have called and emailed DCRA several times on this particular issue. I have been told that they are looking into the matter and that they have received ten inquiries like my own. Ten inquiries suggest that quite a few folk are concerned about the manner in which construction on SM is being conducted. Also, do have a walk around the backside of the building. You’ll notice that the homes on Rock Creek Church Road are 3 stories. Admittedly, loss of a view is not among the most significant matters facing our neighborhood. But, I do think that we should be concerned about how business “improve” their sites and how those improvements impact us all.

    Tania: You seem fairly certain that all has been done above board. I hope that you are correct, but I am not convinced. I have seen no permits posted, a stop work order was placed on a commercial building (The TV Shop) that also appears to be occupied in part by SM. Furthermore, some of the contractors work during abnormal business hours, often ending heavy construction work as late as 11pm at night. Even if they are above board, some of the conduct raises questions about the extent to which SM is willing to consider the well-being of its immediate neighbors. Also, although the issue may have been brought to PAC and ANC 4C, I have combed all relevant websites and have reviewed every newsletter written by Tim Jones since the beginning of the year. I see no indication of such a discussion having taken place. Furthermore, I do not believe that the United Neighborhood Coalition, which encompasses SM and its immediate neighbors has been consulted. I could be wrong. And, if I am, then I’d be happy. If its not too much trouble, please provide me with an idea of when the matter of SM was brought before the ANC and where I can get a copy of the meeting minutes.

    Anonymous: Perhaps my comment was unclear. I am most concerned with the well-being of the neighborhood. I anticipate change and, in fact, in most instances I look forward to it. However, having lived on the Columbia Heights/Petworth border for the length of time that I have, I happen to know that not all change is for the better. Examples are readily available all around us, the homeless shelter is but one. We might not be able to win the them all, but the bottom line is….as our neighborhood continues to grow, we must continue to be ever vigilant about the role of local businesses and development ventures in affording residents respect and quality of life.

    Isaayah: It is that serious. Its about us, our neighborhood and what we wish for it to become. Its about establishing standards and working to ensure that they are adhered to. For those of us who are in it for the long haul…we really cannot afford to allow development to occur in the dark.

  • ListentoLeon: I understand the importance of reserving judgement. However, waiting for the finished result places us in a passive position whereby we can only take action retroactively. I encourage us all to assume a progressive stance – particularly as it relates to development in our tiny little pocket of the city.

  • Anonymous– I defer to Joe Martin, the chair of the ANC . . . did you see his above post?

  • In response to the various comments I say:

    In some ways this is a political issue. And it is becoming painfully clear that Sweet Mango is the little daring of city departments & some public officials, including Muriel Bowser and Michael Brown. It appears as though some entities have chosen to look the other way.

    Sweet Mango has and continues to engage in activities that enable them to sustain and grow their business. Sweet Mango is concerned about its bottom line and well they should be.

    Let’s face it Sweet Mango has a thriving business. They’ve been in the neighborhood for a while and they have paid their dues. Surely, Sweet Mango deserves to reap some of the benefits of gentrification. However they must (now) also abide by the same rules as other businesses and developers.

    Regarding the roof-deck, it is a fact that Sweet Mango engaged in illegal construction. According to DCRA, construction projects that are done before 7:00 am or after 7:00 pm or anytime on Sundays are illegal. Sweet Mango’s construction project blatantly did all three.

    The police were summoned numerous times to abate the noise and address the issue of illegal construction. DCRA, Council Members Jim Graham & Muriel Bower and Mayor Fenty’s Office have all been apprised and sought out for help to address this situation. And Nada!

    Applying for a public space permit and erecting a rooftop structure are two separate issues. What seems crystal clear is that the public space permit will be granted. And frankly there is not a legitimate reason to deny Sweet Mango’s request for the issuance of such a permit.

    Let’s hope all who eat under that structure will be safe from harm. Even if it looks hideous, the structure itself looks sturdy. But is it architectural sound?

    Finally, at the end of the day we may all want pretty much the same things. Namely we want the pleasures and benefits of urban living — clean, safe, well kept homes, good neighbors and schools property values that continue to grow (an enriching experience and a tad bit of culture).

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