Jack Evans chimes in on 2010 campus plan at BCA meeting
While standing between two of the BCA’s ubiquitous “Our Homes, Not GU’s Dorm” lawn signs, Evans voiced his support for Burleith residents. However, he also told the crowd that he has little control over the D.C. Zoning Commission, the judicial body that will rule on the plan.
“It’s not something I can make happen for you, or make happen for anybody,” he said. “I wish I could solve your problem with a magic wand, but I can’t.”
Although Evans disapproves of the plan—specifically, provisions that will increase graduate student enrollment—he added that he cannot give the issue special attention. If he testified before the Zoning Commission, as one resident in attendance suggested, he would be obligated to do so for any Ward 2-related zoning hearing. When asked if he would support a resident limit at each off-campus residence, Evans said he proposed a limit of three unrelated people per household, but met opposition from other neighborhoods.
Another resident even requested that the D.C. Council hold a hearing about the plan.
“That hasn’t been done before,” Evans said.
Steven R. Brown, a BCA member known for the website drunkengeorgetownstudents.com, criticized Evans not representing Burleith residents’ interests.
“[Evans] is selling off D.C. piece by piece,” Brown said at the meeting.
A twenty-year resident of Burleith, Brown said that he has always had good relationships with his student neighbors. The students, he argued, are caught in a conflict between the University and Burleith residents.
“[The plan] doesn’t do enough to handle problems young people have,” he said, citing students’ drinking habits. “[University President Jack DeGioia] is deliberately not saying anything about it, so students continue to misbehave without penalty.”
University benefits from students’ raucous behavior because it encourages Burleith residents to move away, Brown argued. With more off-campus rental properties available, the University is relieved of its student housing burden.
“DeGioia is trying to take over the neighborhood without paying or asking,” he said, while describing the campus plan as a “land grab.” In Brown’s opinion, living near Georgetown’s campus is similar to “living with a bad neighbor.”
And what of his controversial website?
“It united all six neighborhoods against [the University],” he claimed.
According to BCA President Lenore Rubino, who also spoke at the meeting, the University has met with BCA and Citizens’ Association of Georgetown leaders to discuss the plan. However, the talks failed.
“We don’t want to hear why Georgetown can’t. We want to hear that they can.”
In an open letter addressed to residents last July, Spiros Dimolitsas, university chief administrative officer, mentioned conversations between University officials and representatives.
“We conduct these conversations in good faith, with the hope that open and constructive dialogue will result in a final plan that meets the University’s needs and responds to community interests,” he wrote.
Photo: Lydia DePillis