Remaining Questions on Streetcar Service — WAMU dug into questions on the safety of the H Street streetcar that still need to be answered, including what caused the small fire on Feb. 21 and how employees will be trained. [WAMU]
Ugly Mug Expansion Update — The Barracks Row bar The Ugly Mug has reached an agreement with ANC 6B on its plans to expand and add a retractable roof. After months of community meetings, the board withdrew its previous complaint. [Capitol Hill Corner]
Smoking-at-Home Ban and Homeowners’ Rights — A libertarian scholar weighed in on the court order that bars a 5th Street NE man from smoking in the house. The D.C. Superior Court ruling sets a precedent that could chip away at what people can do in their own homes, Walter Olson said. [Washingtonian]
More Details on New Charter Schools in Rosedale — The former Gibbs Elementary School building on 19th Street NE will have separate entrances for programs that serve at-risk children and adults preparing to attend community college. Building renovations are expected to be complete this year. [Hill Rag]
Man Found Stabbed in Hotel Was Hill Resident — The 30-year-old lawyer found stabbed to death in an upscale hotel near Thomas Circle on Tuesday lived near 4th and East Capitol streets NE. Police released video of a suspect. [Washington Post]
Convenience Store Caught Selling Synthetic Marijuana — The store in the Mobil gas station at 814 Bladensburg Road NE will be forced to close today after officials found the store selling synthetic marijuana marketed as potpourri. This is the first such closure in the District. [WAMU]
Fans Pulled Smoke to Passengers Trapped on Metro Train — The National Transportation Safety Board found that the fans meant to ventilate the train trapped near L’Enfant Plaza on Jan. 12 actually pulled in deadly smoke. They also found that Metro was not properly prepared to handle smoke in stations. [Washington Times]
Ugly Mug Expansion Under More Community Review — Neighbors of the Barracks Row bar The Ugly Mug have another month to weigh in the owner’s plan to add seating and a retractable roof. ANC 6B opted to take more time to reach an agreement with the owner. [Capitol Hill Corner]
Third Street Tunnel Construction — Starting Feb. 24, lanes of I-395 near the Capitol Building will close overnight. Construction of the Capitol Crossing mixed-use development is expected to affect traffic for four years, after a previously plan to shut down part of the freeway was scrapped. [WTOP]
Plans first presented six months ago to expand the Barracks Row bar The Ugly Mug are on hold for at least another week.
The liquor license committee of ANC 6B voted last night to give locals until Tuesday to weigh in on a proposal for more seating and a retractable roof. Commissioners decided in an 8-0 vote with one abstention that community members potentially affected by noise from the bar needed more time to evaluate the plans announced in September.
Ugly Mug owner Gaynor Jablonski and ANC 6B previously drafted an agreement to allow 55 people on the interior of the second floor and 40 people on the second-floor atrium with retractable roof. Under the agreement, the roof of the 723 8th St. SE bar would need to be closed after 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. The roof would need to be made from sound-dampening materials, and a sound-level meter would be installed.
Jablonski said locals have had ample opportunity to discuss their concerns about noise.
“This group has had every chance to meet with me, and no one wanted to,” he said.
To try to gauge how loud patrons on the atrium would be, Jablonski and engineers assembled a group of 40 men, all talking with raised voices.
“This is a worst-case scenario,” he said about the situation he created. From 40 feet away, which is the distance of the closest home, the sound was measured at 49 decibels, he said — about the volume of an “urban residence,” according to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration decibel scale.
Adam Ford, designer of the retractable roof, vouched for its sound-blocking properties. He designed the enclosures at The Argonaut (1433 H St. NE) and Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St. NW) and said the Ugly Mug’s roof would block even more sound.
The handful of neighbors in attendance said they wanted additional data on sound levels.
“We are just neighbors trying to protect our interests,” 7th Street resident Bernard Renard said. “This is going to be 95 people talking and singing and whatever, under the influence of alcohol — not having coffee and doughnuts.”
Richard Bianco, a lawyer representing a group of nearby residents, also called for more sound data.
“What they’re essentially saying is ‘We don’t know,’ and you don’t know either,” he said.
Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk spoke in Jablonski’s defense.
“I have seen the owner bend over backwards,” she said.
ANC 6B will take up the matter at its full meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. If the ANC opts not to support the agreement with Jablonski, his application will be heard by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.