Last night at the monthly meeting of advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, we had an important announcement about the campus plan, and a few other visits from the university. Before we get into the recap, here’s a PSA in case local government is your thing.
Sticka wants YOU to join the ANC
Tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in the Reiss 281, the current on-campus ANC commissioner Jake Sticka (COL ’13) is holding an info session for prospective candidates. ANC commissioners serve two-year terms, and since the redistricting process of last fall, campus now has two seats (one representing SW Quad, VCW, and New South, the other representing Henle, Harbin, Copley, some townhouses, and Nevils. Unfortunately, Darnall, LXR, and Magis Row have been gerrymandered into other districts.)
Although the town-gown issues get all the attention, most of what the ANC does focuses on local businesses, public space, and transportation.
Sticka says you should run because, ”People should want their representational forms of government to represent them.”
Speaking of the University (but when are we not, honestly)…
Speaking of the university, a few special guests dropped by to say “hello,” “how are you,” and “could you approve this athletic center?” First up, GUSA president Clara Gustafson (SFS ’12) introduced herself to the community.
“I just wanted to come hear tonight to say that Georgetown University and the community have in the past not always had the best relationship,” she said, “But I want you all to know that I am very committed to help improve that in any way I can.”
Later, VP for External Relations Linda Greenan presented the revised plans for the Athletic Center to the ANC for approval. The Athletic Center was already approved for use by the Zoning Commission, and, according to ANC Commissioner Ron Lewis, is is ANC policy to approve the specifics one the zoning commission has spoken on a project.
Although Greenan said that the university is currently filing for modifications of its 2007 design because of Old Georgetown Board input, Commissioner Ron Lewis was quick to remind her that it was also because of cost.
And Greenan agreed, “It was one of the reasons we weren’t able to build it from 2007-2009.”
No one in the community had no “official” objection to the building, but Citizens Association of Georgetown President Jennifer Altemus hinted that the university should ask for a special exemption from the 90-feet height limit so the facility could be “mixed use” (read: add dorms to the top).
The ANC in their resolution expressed concerns about the “less than fully efficient use of space,” but ultimately approved the project.
Hours and hours of boozing
Finally, the ANC passed a resolution on the changes the hours restaurants would be able to serve alcohol that DC Mayor Vincent Gray proposed in his budget.
The mayor’s line item, expected to bring in $5.3 million, consists of three provisions: special extensions during the week following inauguration day, earlier hours of sale, and later hours for sale on both weekends and weekdays (moving from 2 to 3 am on weekdays and from 3 to 4 am on weekends).
Although the ANC supported the inauguration day extensions, the commission opposed the other two provisions for three reasons. First, the bars would close an hour after the Metro stops running, encouraging people to drive to bars. Second, the ANC would have to revise its voluntary agreements with most of the restaurants in Georgetown to maintain the current hours, and thus would put the area at a disadvantage. And third, it would cause noise in the streets even later.
Commissioner Tom Birch reminded everyone that he lives a block from Wisconsin, and he already gets woken up by people leaving restaurants and bars looking for their “blank blank” cars, and he doesn’t want to extend that disruption later in the night.
“On that one particular item, community trumps the budget,” Birch said.