After several months of negotiations and four rounds of mediation a voluntary agreement has been signed by the applicant from Level Lounge (315 H Street NW) and the protest group. The agreement was signed by the applicant (Pouya Yousefi), ANC 6C and the Downtown Neighborhood Association. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Board of Directors ratified the agreement shortly thereafter.
Negotiations turned the corner when Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells wrote a position letter stating that he could not support the application until core concerns of residents were addressed. That same month ANC 6C approved an independent sound study to craft recommendations designed to ensure maximum sound abatement during the buildout of the space. After the findings from the study were presented the applicant agreed to all terms in the drafted voluntary agreement.
During the final mediation ABRA director Fred Moosally inquired if there was anything in the agreement the applicant was uncomfortable with. The only reservation communicated was with regards to the limit on occupancy of 225 which Mr Yousefi felt was too low. There is a provision in the agreement that allows for Yousefi to apply for a change in application specifically with regards to occupancy after 6 months. If he reaches that milestone in good standing some increase may be awarded.
It is important for me to acknowledge those who have been great advocates on the behalf of residents during the process. DNA president Miles Groves has worked tirelessly to help makes this agreement happen. Miles served as the point of contact between the applicant, ABRA and the leaders of the protest group by managing communications and revisions of the draft agreement as it evolved. Most importantly he’s been invaluable as a steward in helping residents navigate the bureaucracy of the protest process and focus the objectives on the levers ABRA would be receptive to. ANC 6C commissioner Charley Docter championed the noise study and secured funds to procure an independent sound engineer. As alluded to earlier Councilmember Tommy Wells’ position letter to ABRA supporting the concerns of residents provided a critical nudge and ended a stalemate in negotiations. ABRA Director Fred Moosally took on this case personally to provide more credibility to the process. Finally Pathways transitional housing and representatives from both the Sonata and Madrigal Lofts were key contributors to the negotiation process.