Georgetown neighbors taking seemingly secret photos of students’ trash

He reaps what you sow

Students had better start doing an improved job of bagging their trash, if a community email chain is any indication.

Early last week, the overflowing trash cans on the 1300 block of 35th Street—the student side—offended one neighbor to the point that she took photographs and sent them, along with a complaint, to Charlene Barber, D.C.’s Trash Inspector:

I request that you send an investigator to investigate and fine these homes (1320, 1322 35th Street, NW) for these violations. Additionally I request that an Investigator monitor the West Village of Georgetown to fine the increasing number of solid waste storage violations.

The result, according to an ensuing email, is that Barber will (or—eek!—already has) sent inspectors to West Georgetown to ticket the owners of the offending properties. Naturally, the email which contained that message exudes mild disappointment that the students who live in the properties are not the ones who the City will actually fine:

She said she will be patrolling our neighborhood and looking for violations and writing tickets if she finds any (including us). The tickets written to the property owner, not particular the student living in it …. She also said if you have photos to please send and she will follow-up with a visit to that site.

While our mess sounds pretty gross, it concerns me that nowhere in the email chain do annoyed neighbors indicate they brought their trash grievances up with the offending residents (and can we really be blamed for the vagrant student’s choice to put his greasy Philly P plate in our recycling bin?).

However, the first email (containing the complaint) does cc: the entire ANC 2E (Georgetown ANC) membership. Aaron Golds, why didn’t you tell us we were such slobs (or warn us that trash inspectors were coming to West Georgetown)?!

Full text of both emails, including a bonus opinion from the President of the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown, Denise Cunningham, after the jump.

The complaint:

Charlene,
I would like to bring it to your attention a the garbage in front of 1320/1322 35th St, NW.

This solid waste storage violation was photographed today, Wednesday, February 24, 2009. This violations is an eye soar [sic] for the community and, more importantly, a food  source for the increasing number of rats in the community.

The violation photographed and included in this email violate at least 2 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations referred to in Title 21 – Water and Sanitation: Chapter 7.  More specifically they violate 700.3 and 708.9 as the solid
waste is not “stored and containerized for collection in a manner that will not provide food, harborage, or breeding places for insects or rodents, or create nuisance [and] containers or receptacles must be kept securely fastened at all times.”

700.3 All solid waste shall be stored and containerized for collection in a manner that will not provide food, harborage, or breeding places for insects or rodents, or  create nuisance or fire hazard.

708.9 When stored in the open, metal or fiberglass containers or receptacles must be kept securely fastened at all times.

I request that you send an investigator to investigate and fine these homes (1320, 1322 35th Street, NW) for these violations. Additionally I request that an Investigator monitor the West Village of Georgetown to fine the increasing number of solid waste storage violations.

The response:

Charlene Barber who is a trash inspector with the City of DC and works with the various communities called this morning.

She said she will be patrolling our neighborhood and looking for violations and writing tickets if she finds any (including us). The tickets written to the property owner, not particular the student living in it.  She is aware of the issue and is working with Brenda (beautification committee of CAG). She also said if you have photos to please send and she will follow-up with a visit to that site. The items she seems to be looking for are:

  • Trash containers without lids
  • Overflowing trash out of containers
  • Non-recyclables in recycling bins
  • Potential rat harborages
  • Not picking up containers by 8pm of trash pickup day
  • Trash not in any container at all

Again, if you see an area that is breaking code.  Take a photo and send it to Charlene. Charlene.barber@dc.gov or call her at 202-645-7346. We need as many neighbors to participate as possible.

Denise Cunningham, acclaimed student noise foe, joins the fray:

Charlene,

This is truly an eyesore and an ever increasing problem.  We’d appreciate your full attention.

Denise Cunningham

President

Citizens Associationof Georgetown

Photo taken from Flickr user Xcelerator under a Creative Commons license.

13 Comments on “Georgetown neighbors taking seemingly secret photos of students’ trash

  1. The residents that moved into West Georgetown should have known that they are living in a college neighborhood when they chose to buy the house. Unless they moved in in 1789, then there is no excuse for their constant complaining. These people are almost as obnoxious as GUSA.

  2. Denise Cunningham? More like Denise Cunt-ingham

  3. CAGTOWN.ORG? More like HAGTOWN.ORG. ZING.

  4. Aw, Phillip, that’s inappropriate. Denis Cunningham is a nice woman, even though I disagree with her sometimes.

  5. Yeah, what’s with those neighbors complaining about trash?? Who cares if plastics and other garbage flows into the Potomac River. I don’t. Who care’s if there is a big fat rat sitting on my doorstep. I don’t. Who cares if DC has laws and regulations that prohibit trash violations that lead to pollution and unsanitary conditions? Going green is for sissys, and I could care less about the trash in the neighborhood. Screw them.

  6. I bet if somebody had given that spiel to an offending student, the student would’ve gotten their act together faster than you can say “To whom it may concern at DPW: I am a resident of West Georgetown and I would like to report…”

  7. Carey P – you have obviously missed the point all together. 1) most home owners purchased their property when students were housed on campus or within a 1 block radius of the campus. As enrollment has increased and housing hasn’t been provided, students have been gradually encroaching into blocks that were once resident only. 2) even if the block were all student housing, you are living off-campus in a community. grow up and learn to behave like an adult if you want to be treated like one. mommy and daddy aren’t here to pick up after your mess. 3) you should want to live in a sanitary home and neighborhood – why do you seem to think its OK to have rats running around your house? you act as if the strange ones are the people who don’t want to live in a garbage dump – some people have small children or babies that are easily susceptible to catching viruses or worse. 4) as a Georgetown alum its very sad to read the responses to this blog. Obviously the admission standards have been lowered significantly. What a bunch of dim whited responses by a bunch of brats.

    Lastly, to Molly as an FYI…..the residents have been talking to the students for years with no result. Most times we are either insulted for asking someone to clean up after themselves or have even been threatened or had property damage in return. So, NO, the students do not get their act together when approached. Its very unfortunate that we’ve had to move on to direct talks with the city government to deal with the issues.

  8. The University was made aware of the trash issue being a SYSTEMATIC problem in the neighborhood. It was only after excessive and continued violations that neighbors informed the City. The neighbors WILL CONTINUE to notify the City if excessive violations occur whether it is trash, noise or other violations. It does not matter if you are a student or a permanent long term resident, ALL residents are to abide by code, regulations and laws of the city. It does not matter how long you live here, who you are or who your associated with, the City will enforce the law.

  9. I think it would help if there were more public trashcans on the street corners, so people wouldn’t have to put their trash in residents’ bins, causing them to overflow.

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