It seems that SIP hasn’t been the only place on RIA NE that has been giving residents in the community some headache as a nightclub. DC Dragons, which is located at 1731 RIA NE and labels itself as a dance and karate center, is renting itself out to Maryland promoters (one being from Silver Spring, MD) who are hosting nightclub-style events at the facility. It appears that the promoters are obtaining single day alcohol permits to sell liquor and beer at their events (but a review of recent ABRA Board dispositions going back to October 2015, we were unable to locate any issued permits), and the parties are happening on such frequency that it is no longer single, stand-alone events, but appears to be a way to skirt ABRA and D.C. law on nightclubs and bar regulations.
The events have been occurring at D.C. Dragons since at least March of 2015 that we can identify. You can check out their Facebook page here and see the past events that have occurred here.
In addition, it is being advertised with regularity. Here are the most recent flyers of upcoming events (which can also be found littering RIA and cars parked in the area):
This is a similar situation that occurred more than six years ago with the so-called Masonic Lodge next to the Family Dollar that rented out its facility to promoters to host similar parties and was found to be in violation of the law and shut down by ABRA and the Mayor’s office (you can read more on this incident here). The practice is not uncommon in D.C. but it does become a change of use for a business to skirt the ABRA laws by having outside promoters obtain liquor licenses so you can operate your business as a de-facto nightclub/bar.
Many of the issues with this situation is that these temporary licenses do not require many of the requirements that legally licensed businesses do like security plans, noise mitigation, police presence, etc. Many of the neighbors have already been complaining about noise, trash, and that it is ongoing to until 4am, and one resident indicated that ABRA officials told them that they have had ongoing issues with that location.
Many neighbors are concerned that D.C. Dragons has put on the front that they are a neighborhood business and taking taxpayer money under false pretenses as a Great Streets program recipient when they applied for the grant saying “DC Dragons Martial Arts Training Center…is a family-owned and operated martial arts studio that will use its $69,500 award to renovate its facility.”
Residents have already contacted Kenyan McDuffie’s and Anita Bond’s offices, ABRA Enforcement, and the local ANC about their concerns. Let’s see if and how they respond.
More to follow….