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Longstanding Adams Morgan blues bar and soul food restaurant Madam’s Organ wants out of its binding “voluntary agreement” with neighbors, which places legal restrictions on certain aspects of the business, such as hours of operation, noise, and trash. Though he describes his own pact as “extremely nonrestrictive,” as far as legally-binding restrictions go—for instance, Madam’s stays open as late as possibly allowed under D.C. law—owner Bill Duggan tells Y&H that’s not the point. Last summer, Duggan railed against the whole voluntary agreement process in an editorial published in the Current newspapers, pointing out the high cost to businesses and taxpayers.
“It’s just bullshit,” he says, noting that Madam’s hasn’t racked up any regulatory violations with the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration over the years. Well, there have been charges: a grabby customer nearly brought down the house in 2009, for one, and the place was cited for overcrowding in 2005. But neither of those alleged infractions held up.
The neighboring Kalorama Citizens Association and local Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C are protesting Duggan’s petition to nix the deal. A hearing is scheduled for next month.