Policy Celebrates End of “Voluntary Agreement” Negotiates New Settlement Agreement with Later Hours at 14th and T St, NW

1904 14th Street, NW

From a press release:

“Rapid development over the past several years, on 14th street NW, has caused various changes to the once not so favorable neighborhood. Policy being one of the first restaurants on 14th street has operated under one of the strictest Settlement Agreements, once called Voluntary Agreement. Among other things, this agreement forced them to close one hour earlier then surrounding establishments with the same type of license.

The Settlement Agreement is the agreement that the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) requires each liquor license establishment to negotiate with numerous groups including citizens. It has been debated that these agreements can cause unfair competition among establishments.

After four years of patiently waiting the expiration of the agreement, and a clear record to stake their claim, Policy has received permission from ABRA to operate with full operating hours. Through the diligent work of attorney Andrew Klein and ANC Commissioner Noah Smith, Policy was able to successfully renegotiate a new Settlement Agreement which now puts them on the same playing field as the surrounding restaurants. With the new agreement, Policy has the option to operate until 2am during the week and 3am on the weekends. In addition, they were also granted the ABRA extended holiday hours.”

23 Comment

  • Just wait until the NIMBYs get wind of this! They make take this to the Supreme Court!

  • Boy I bet the Wallach folks are pissed about this… I’m sure they are the reason Policy had to live with these restrictions to begin with.

    • I’m as community-focused as they come, but it’s ridiculously unfair that Policy had to abide by this for 4 years while the newer businesses that opened after Policy did not. I’d be LIVID if I was Policy’s owners/investors. That’s insane.

  • IMPORTANT CORRECTION – UNTRUE: “The Settlement Agreement is the agreement that the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) requires each liquor license establishment to negotiate with numerous groups including citizens.”

    >No applicant or existing licensee at renewal is required to enter into an agreement with the ANC, any citizens group, or an ad-hoc “Gang of 5 (or more)” protest group. The business may choose to do so – but it is not required by law or practice. Many establishments do not have them.

    It is why they were previously titled “Voluntary Agreements” – with the title changing to “Settlement Agreements” at the time of the most recent licensing reforms to make clear that they are intended to resolve real and tangible concerns or problems, and not allow groups to establish “policies” for businesses in a localized area.

    • Yeah, and no NJ/ NY small business owner was ever “required” to pay protection to the mob. Totally voluntary payments.

      • ummm somehow I don’t see the analogous relationship between a group of neighbors and the Mob (please note the Mob is also part of Chicago, Las Vegas, Boston etc.). Last time I checked, the groups of neighbors weren’t profiting from asking for Voluntary Agreements and they certainly aren’t threatening to kill any body. Please check yourself before you make ignorant comments.

      • The truth of the matter is that in DC, there are certain people who really do have the power to compel ABRA to deny your license renewal if you fail to agree to their terms within the bounds of a voluntary agreement. This happened in Mt. Pleasant a while back.

  • Congrats! They deserve the extra hour.

  • Policy is my favorite restaurant on the block! I didn’t realize they were dealing with this hours of operations issue for the past few years. Nonetheless, that is great for them.

  • Seems foolish to put this out in a press release. I doubt the people who care about the later close time will go there because of this press release, and it’s kicking the hornets nest of NIMBYs.

    • POP doesn’t mention whose press release. Might be from the lawyer, Andrew Klein, rather than from Policy. The game here seems to be: let’s wear down the neighbors with frequent applications & amendments and whenever one establishment gets later hours, or outdoor service, or whatever, all the rest follow suit on fairness grounds.

  • NIMBYs aren’t like the Mafia. That is so offensive. Mafia are at least rational:

  • I really liked this place when it opened up. It freaking sucks now. I actually feel the same about Masa 14 too. They opened up bragging about their menus and the focus slowly shifted to a club atmosphere. It’s really a shame because there are a lot of great restaurants up and down 14th and these two places drag it down IMO.

  • It is really unfortunate that neighborhood groups of NIMBYs have been handed so much power to affect how businesses operate. Small “citizens groups” are adversely impacting the ability of the business owners, and their employees, to earn a livelihood, while repressing the development of the neighborhood. Although, I recognize that repressing the development of the neighborhood is often what they seek.
    In Adams Morgan we have the Kalorama Citizens Association (KCA), a particularly notorious group, that terorizes the local bars and restaurants. It is perennially led by a man often referred to in the neighborhood yahoo group as “the enforcer.”

    • What selfish little neighbors! Wanting to use their homes for sleeping at night?! I can’t imagine how Policy must have suffered, losing out on alcohol sales between 2 and 3 am! (OK, I know there’s a fairness issue, but don’t vilify people who just want to sleep in their homes.)

      • I also live very close to all the action on 14th st. I have owned my house for 20 years and the value has tripled because of all these businesses have built up the block.

        I am not going to knock Policy, I am going to thank them instead! I thank them for starting the process of cleaning up our block. Before they were there, I was afraid to walk up and down the block.

        • Not saying they shouldn’t exist. I’m just interested in seeing some balance between the interests of the establishments and the interests of impacted neighbors.

    • Haaaa haaa. So hilarious.

      There must be a balance between the needs of the businesses and the needs of the residents.

      That is what the VA/SA’s are supposed to be about – keeping that balance.

      But then you get a “restaurant” like Alero on U St…. which is a club pure and simple. or the “pop up” club being operated in Adams Morgan in a structure unsuited for loud music. Many of the bars and quite a few restaurants in the Adams Morgan have been around for years… and they are still in business… so I think the owners are doing fine (if they can afford the astronomical rents, that is).

      As long as Jim Graham gets his “gifts”, Adams Morgan is fine for the business owners.

      The businesses in question are bars. Not stores or retail, but bars, restaurants and those that say they are restaurants that intend to operate as clubs.

      Adams Morgan has always had bars and restaurants. Businesses seem to be doing fine (although the rent must be astounding).

      • ^ Ironic that ‘Identified’ (at 2:22pm) would lament high commercial rents in Adams Morgan. Ironic because commercial rents have plummeted in Adams Morgan over the years due to the anti-business environment created by the Kalorama Citizens Association and the ANC. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) – no friend to the business community – was retained by the A-M BID to do a study on the effects of the long-lingering liquor license moratorium in the area. that these same objector groups are asking the city to continue DCFPI found that not only have commercial property values significantly declined in Adams Morgan as a result of the moratorium but that values have dropped to nearly half of what is common in other more-vibrant areas. Landlords can’t find tenants of any type – retail or hospitality – to locate in vacant properties in a neighborhood that battles to restrict any new entrants in the marketplace, and the neighborhood is stuck with an aging array of often outdated commercial amenities while desired community businesses flock to areas of the city that welcome them. Adams Morgan has become a neighborhood “left behind” while a small band of crazies still argue over the decaying carcass of what could have been.

        • Well then, I guess there have been no new bars and restaurants in adams morgan in the last 10 years then.

          18th is a boarded up wasteland and Columbia Road has seen no new establishments at all and the old ones have all closed up shop?

          But yes, the only thing that has caused ruin and damnation on all of adams morgan is one citizens association.

          Balance Mark… I said the key was to balance the needs of the communites between business and residents. It’s not 2004 anymore.

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