Years ago, the owner of a battleship-sized building in Northeast moved his front door from one side of the building to another. At least that is the story for why the big white building at Brentwood Road and Ninth Street NE is marked 1905 Brentwood Rd.
It was a simple change, born no doubt of a desire to make the retail building face busier Brentwood Road.
But now that simple advantage has touched off a mix-up that has some nearby business owners, postal workers, local officials and the proprietor of a new liquor store in a feud.
There on the edge of the 800 block of Brentwood Road, across from the giant Brentwood Road post office, the number 1905 makes no sense at all. In fact, there is no 1900 block of Brentwood Road. And if there were, it would be 11 blocks north in a quiet residential neighborhood on the other side of Rhode Island Avenue NE.
Enter Mark Loesburg, who two years ago leased the big white building to run the Auto Auction, a weekly stage for used-car sales. About the same time, he also bought a liquor license from a store owner who was selling out.
Since then, Loesburg claims, he has spent thousands of dollars renovating the space and getting the final approvals to open Pal's Liquor Store, which made its debut the week before Christmas.
But no sooner had he unfurled his grand-opening banners than a group of neighbors started a move to shut him down.
The adversaries include an advisory neighborhood commissioner, the owner of a nearby liquor store and the local branch of the mail handlers union, all of whom say they were not notified of Loesburg's plan by the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
"The first I heard of it was this fall and not from the ABC, from a local real estate agent," said Yvonne Powell, the area's ANC member. "We don't need any more liquor stores in our neighborhood."
Loesburg and the ABC Board say they notified everyone last spring. Miriam Hellen Jones, chief of the ABC division, said notices were sent to every ANC in the city as well as every D.C. Council member. An advertisement also was placed as required in the D.C. Register, and orange posters announcing a hearing were tacked on the building.
When the hearing came, no one -- including any ANC -- protested, Jones said. On June 6, the board voted to let Loesburg open the store.
"All I know is I did everything the law requires . . . and now everyone is hassling me," Loesburg said.
Exactly what happened is still unclear, but the theory is that all those who were contacted ignored the notice, thinking the site was not in their area.
The ANC that should have responded says it didn't receive the notice. Chairman George A. Boyd said the ANC moved this year.
The ANC that would represent 1905 Brentwood Rd., if there were such an address, got the word, said Henry C. Lee, director of the Business and Regulation Administration, which oversees the ABC Board staff. He said ANC leaders there told him that they did not respond because it was not in their area.
Opponents say all this justifies another hearing.
But the ABC Board has said it will reopen the matter only when the license comes up for its annual renewal next spring.