ANC 6A: Flight Lounge Sparks Concerns

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6A) met via Zoom on May 11. Commissioners Keya Chatterjee (6A01, vice chair), Mike Velasquez (6A02), Roberta Shapiro (6A03), Amber Gove (6A04, chair), Robb Dooling (6A06) and Steve Moilanen (6A07) were present. Commissioner Laura Gentile (6A05) was absent.

The nightclub Flight Lounge has operated out of the premises of KitchenCray, 1301 H St. NE, since January 2023, stated Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee (ABLC) member Erin Blumenthal at the May meeting of ANC 6A. It opened, she continued, “without any community input, ANC consideration or license.”

Neighbors have been “very supportive and welcoming of restaurants who improve the neighborhood’s character and the quality of our life,” Blumenthal said. However, the unauthorized nightclub has been an unwelcome addition to the corridor, causing significant disruption to residential streets nearby, she said.

“The immediate negative impact on the community was apparent,” Blumenthal said, citing upticks in noise, public intoxication, parking issues and loitering across the area. She also cited infractions of the community agreement associated with the establishment’s existing restaurant license.

In April, KitchenCray representative Sudon Williams appeared before the ABLC to request support to change the establishment’s liquor license from a restaurant to a tavern license on a stipulated basis to eliminate the requirement to serve food. The change in license would cover the entire building. They also have requested an entertainment endorsement.

KitchenCray subsequently withdrew its request for support. The owners are scheduled to appear at the ABLC’s May meeting.

Commissioner Dooling expressed his disappointment in the establishment’s alleged violations. “I especially appreciate how mindful folks have been about how they want to support a nightlife district making sure that we can balance that with livability, crime and a business that is transparent,” Dooling said.

Echoing Dooling, Commissioner Velasquez said, “I know everybody on both sides are acting in good faith and really want to ensure that there is good communication and that we can resolve these issues. I know that KitchenCray has taken ownership of the missteps that they have made, and I’m appreciative of the community engagement.”

The commission took no vote on the matter.

Other Matters
District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), Associate Director in the Energy Administration David Epley outlined the agency’s initiative aimed at eliminating the use of natural gas in the District. Vice Chair Chatterjee pointed to the unreliability of gas in her single member district. Her constituents have suffered with inoperable gas appliances for months at a time, she said.

The commission voted unanimously to:

  • support the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) four Notices of Intent (NOI) to reduce the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph and request it to provide an accounting of any roads excluded from the changes;
  • support DDOT’s Eighth Street NE Bus Priority Project, aimed at improving bus reliability and efficiency along the corridor and enhancing cyclist and pedestrian safety;
  • support the renewal of the parklet permit for Granville Moore, 1238 H St. NE, and to request that the ANC be given 30-days’ notice to review such requests in future;
  • support the renewal of the parklet permit for The Queen Vic, 1206 H St. NE, and to request that the ANC be given 30-days’ notice to review such requests in the future;
  • support to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story with cellar, principal dwelling unit at 424 10th Street NE with the caveat that the developers make best efforts to obtain letters of support from neighbors;
  • support to the BZA for a special exception from the building height requirements to construct a third story addition to an existing, attached, two-story with cellar flat at 1112 8th Street NE in the RF-1 zone;
  • request an explanation from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) about the lack of programming at the Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE;
  • write to Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen (D) reaffirming support for extending the DC Streetcar to the Benning Road Metro Station.

The next meeting of ANC 6A is at 7 p.m. June 8 via Zoom. For more details, visit anc6a.org.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com