In Jake Sticka‘s (SFS ’13) last week as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, the ANC held its monthly meeting on the Georgetown University campus in “recognition” of the school, as announced at the last meeting. In the meeting, the Commission planned to discuss the campus plan with students on campus but instead focused on pressing issues afflicting local residents, such as “distressing” Comcast boxes, flashing neon signs, and tall tree fences.
The campus plan: No questions? Moving on
Chairman Ron Lewis said that the campus plan is now being implemented and is off to a good start. He said that the “approach to partnership” and improved relationship between the school and various neighborhood communities was important in the approval of the plan.
“We expect that to continue,” said Lewis ‘The issues are not easy, even in implementation.”
Lauralyn Lee, Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives at Georgetown, said she is pleased at how quickly the school and neighborhood created a working relationship.
No one in the audience had questions about the campus plan.
Comcast boxes are no longer “making an aesthetic wreck”
Last month, many residents expressed concerns about small, refrigerator-sized boxes sprouting up in Georgetown’s brick sidewalks—without the ANC’s approval.
The Commissioners were sure to applaud the speedy work of Comcast in moving many of what they saw as unsightly boxes underground. Residents no longer have to worry about the boxes ruining the aesthetic of the historic neighborhood of Georgetown.
A Regional Vice President from Comcast visited the meeting, addressing concerns about the few boxes left. Commissioner Tom Birch called this a “teachable moment” for the District Department of Transportation, which issued Comcast permits for the boxes.
Neon signs are the newest threat to the neighborhood’s appearance
Another threat to the Georgetown aesthetic, neon signs, was addressed during the meeting. The Commission proposed rules that would allow a single neon sign identifying the business, as long as the sign doesn’t blink. Lewis used the sign at Bridge Street Books as an example.
Lewis argued that simple versions of this sign do not compromise the aesthetic of Georgetown, as they have been around for many years. He also argued that they would help preserve “diversity” in Georgetown.
“A major part of the appeal of Georgetown is its [diversity],” he said. “What we would like to avoid is sameness all along the commercial streets.”
The all white-male Commission’s proposal is a brave stride in the direction of change and diversity among store windows. They are even allowing exceptions for certain sandwich boards, such as Baked and Wired’s.
DDOT’s fences on O and P don’t look right, but G2 bus will resume
After the renovation of O and P streets was completed, DDOT mistakenly placed “non-complying” 20-inch tree fences that the rest of the District uses, said Lewis. The neighborhood rules limit their height to 14-inches.
The neighborhood has not received a response from DDOT on this issue, but they aren’t worried. “DDOT listens to us because they know that we are sensible and focused,” said Lewis.
On the other hand, the neighborhood has received confirmation from DDOT that the G2 route, resuming in mid-December, will attempt to use smaller, quieter hybrid buses instead of their “42-foot behemoth buses,” according to Lewis.