Pinstripes, a chain that combines bowling and fine dining, scored a victory Tuesday when Board of Zoning Adjustment members unanimously approved its bid to open a location in the Shops at Georgetown Park.
The BZA approval came less than two weeks after Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, which oversees the Georgetown area, opposed Pinstripes’ application. The ANC cited the lack of formal agreement between Pinstripes and Georgetown Park Condominiums, which houses tenants in condominiums above the site of the proposed bowling alley, as its reason for the disapproval.
By Tuesday’s meeting, however, Pinstripes had assuaged the concerns of Georgetown Park Condominiums residents and the ANC by agreeing to include terms in the building code requiring Pinstripes to adhere to strict sound requirements.
“One of the conditions is that the place be built so that no sound coming out from the bowling alley or from their events is heard in the residences,” said Martin Sullivan, an attorney for Georgetown Park Condominiums.
Chris Pollock, the sound engineer hired by Pinstripes, told the BZA that his mandate was to make Pinstripes “essentially inaudible” to nearby residents.
In response to Pinstripes’ promises to soundproof its premises, both Georgetown Park Condominiums and ANC2E dropped their objections to the bowling alley. In turn, the BZA approved Pinstripes’ application.
To ensure compliance, the agreement stipulates that an engineer hired by Georgetown Park Condominiums will work with Pollock and review the final construction blueprints.
“They’ll send their plans to our acoustic engineer, and he will confirm that they are doing what they said they would do,” Sullivan said.
If the standards for soundproofing are not met, the District of Columbia’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will not issue Pinstripes a certificate of authenticity.
Although Pinstripes, which already operates four locations in Illinois and Minnesota, has not yet decided precisely how to soundproof the facility, engineers contracted both by the company and the condo association are confident in their ability to successfully block noise.
In addition to soundproofing the facility, Pinstripes also agreed to close the restaurant’s patio at 10 p.m. on weekdays to further limit excessive noise.
According to Sullivan, the clauses about soundproofing in the building code stipulate that after construction is completed, a resident complaint would warrant a DCRA investigation. If the DCRA determines that Pinstripes is no longer in compliance with soundproofing standards, it would have to take remedial action or risk losing its certificate of occupancy.
“If they can’t follow through, they can’t operate,” Sullivan said.