The saga of the expansion of the highly successful Georgia Avenue bagel shop Call Your Mother to the well-known pink store at the corner of O and 35th Streets NW, two blocks from Georgetown University, continued at the Jan. 7 meeting of the Georgetown-Burleith advisory neighborhood commission.
After a lively, sometimes heated debate with neighbors who were concerned about heavily increased pedestrian and car traffic should the store be approved, ANC 2E voted 6-2 in favor of a proposal giving the owner of the property a corner store zoning variance.
District regulations define “Corner Store” as: “A limited commercial and service use in residential rowhouse zones, oriented to serve the immediate neighborhood.” It “may only be up to 1,200 square feet (not including cellar space) and is limited to ground floor and cellar space … Only one external sign may be displayed on the building’s façade, provided that the sign is not illuminated and is flush-mounted.” In addition, no on-site cooking of food or installation of grease traps is allowed nor is sale of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption or external storage of materials or trash.
Call Your Mother owner Andrew Dana has agreed to all these stipulations in a 10-year lease.
More in question are regulations concerning the location of a corner store within an “R” rowhouse residential zone. In an R-20 zone — where Call Your Mother would be located — a corner store can be no nearer than 750 feet to a property line of a lot in a multi-use or non-commercial zone. But the Board of Zoning Adjustment has the power to authorize a variance from the strict application of the zoning code to relieve specific difficulties or hardship upon an appeal by the owner of a property. On Jan. 7, the ANC approved that appeal for Call Your Mother.
After the vote, one neighbor grumbled that the ANC had opened a Pandora’s box.