The Shepherd Park Citizens Association has reached a “settlement agreement” with Betty’s Gojo, 7616 Georgia that will allow it to serve alcoholic beverages.

These pacts used to be known as “voluntary agreements,” but some businesses grumbled that they weren’t entirely voluntary.

Betty’s persisted about the late hours it wanted to keep: opening until 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends. So the SPCA incorporated a number of clauses into the agreement to mitigate deleterious effects to Georgia Avenue and nearby neighbors. These include a last call a half-hour before closing, human and recording security; no-loitering signs, a ban on use of microphones, amplifiers or sound systems for live music performances, and a further occupancy restriction from 49 maximum to 40.

Some of the details, even though agreed to between SPCA and Betty’s, were changed by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administrations, and one stipulation was thrown out altogether. But SPCA and Betty’s agreed to the modifications. I have not seen a finalized version of the agreement from ABRA, but the SPCA can enter into good-faith talks with Betty’s if violations are suspected or reported, and SPCA also retains all its rights to lodge complaints to the ABRA.

Representatives of Betty’s have said they would like to conduct a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at the July 31 picnic, and that they will become platinum business members of the SPCA. I am hopeful that both the SPCA and Betty’s can work through any sticky wickets, and that this experience will give SPCA more savoir-faire when more requests to open alcohol-serving establishments on Georgia or Eastern inevitably crop up. 

I want to give much credit to Ed Atkins, an SPCA board member, and ANC commissioner Dwayne Toliver, who took the SPCA’s concerns and crafted the language in the settlement agreement. This could not have been possible without them.

Mark Pattison

SPCA president

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