County staff researching the permit request had recommended the issue be deferred until the board’s September 15 meeting. That recommendation — which was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board — is supposed to give the owner time to convince the community there would not be violence or disruptive incidents like those that previously occurred on the property. Police and neighbors have expressed opposition to approving the permit.
Seven residents who live nearby showed up at the meeting to enumerate the reasons they oppose the permit. In addition to the noise, loitering and public drunkenness that all reported witnessing, a major concern is safety. Nearly all of the speakers had reported calling the police after witnessing brutal fights between club goers, some of which spill into the neighborhood.
“I’m afraid for my safety, I don’t know what’s going to come out of one of these fights,” said Melanie Myers. “I can’t even sit out in my backyard.”
It was noted that the establishment is at the end of a residential street and has a significant impact on people’s lives.
“It’s unsettling and it’s not fair,” said Amy Pasion. “It’s a residential area and we shouldn’t have to deal with this.”
Like other speakers, Pasion stated she didn’t mind the restaurant or hookah bar inside the building, but a club is too disruptive and dangerous.
Part of the controversy is the involvement of Jorge Escobar, who is currently named as the landlord. He has been involved with the property in various capacities for more than a decade, sometimes as a manager of the club.
“We’ve suffered for many years as a result of this specific location and business,” said Aristia Glinka. “And the people that are applying for this permit are linked to the problems that we’ve been having over the years.”
Escobar’s attorney testified at the meeting and promised the board that the three partners of this establishment are interested in starting anew. He expressed Escobar’s interest in working with people living in the neighborhood. However, residents claim attempts to work with him before have been unfruitful.
Officers from Falls Church and from Arlington and Fairfax counties swarmed the parking lot after the call, which came in around 12:30 AM. Responding officers disbursed a crowd of several hundred people, according to Maj. Mary Gavin of the Falls Church Police Department.
An officer was assaulted during the scuffle and suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospitalization, Maj. Gavin said. There were no arrests.