Last night, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E held its monthly meeting in McCarthy Hall. Among other things, the commissioners discussed the annoying traffic on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown, commented on the proposed zoning regulation changes of the D.C. Office of Planning, and heard the cases of several charities, as they asked the ANC to approve street closings.
What? City driving is awful?
After officially commending Jake Sticka (COL ’13) for over 2 years of service as ANC Commissioner, the ANC brought up the severe traffic on Wisconsin Ave., which has been plaguing that area ever since construction on the street began.
Heavy traffic on such an important street has led to traffic congestion throughout Georgetown. According to ANC Chairman Ron Lewis, “The construction changes are intended to bring better, more reliable electrical services [to the area].” But the ANC commissioners noted how furious the construction work has made their constituents. Commissioner Tom Birch called the construction work a “horrible idea.”
When Police Lieutenant John Hedgecock arrived, he explained that the increased traffic has led to more traffic violations, requiring the installation of 10 cameras on the 2800 to 3300 blocks of M Street. While the cameras will not be actively monitored and will only be used after the fact, Hedgecock believes they will cut down on traffic violations as well as shoplifting on M Street.
“Hopefully, we will use these cameras to catch thieves. Perpetrators will learn we are watching,” Hedgecock said.
Georgetown sewage treatment update!
Commissioner Jeff Jones explained to the rest of the ANC that a new waste water removal system will be installed in Georgetown in the coming months, to be used specifically for the removal of Potomac River overflow.
According to Jones, storage tanks will be placed underground, near Key Bridge, and a tunnel will be drilled across the river to a water treatment facility. Additionally, Jones reassured the ANC that the entire process “occurs deep enough underground that there will be no noticeable noise at the surface.”
New zoning regulations? Not in Georgetown, buddy
Although the D.C. Office of Planning is currently rewriting many of the District’s zoning regulations, the ANC will do its best to prevent pretty much every one of them from threatening the sacred “historic qualities” of Georgetown.
ANC legal advisor Richard Heinz said that, while many of the initial, revised zoning regulations for Georgetown “sounded threatening”—such as “increased density” and “more housing units per building”—the ANC does not have to accept them.
For example, the ANC believed that setting the building height limit to 40 feet was just too drastic a change. “In most cases, existing laws serve Georgetown better than planned changes,” said Heinz. “We didn’t like the idea that whole blocks could add 5 feet to buildings.”
The charity is very nice, but…
In the final phase of the meeting, the ANC reviewed event proposals.
Starting with what’s pressing, the ANC unanimously approved the Rose Park Egg Hunt for Mar. 23. Though the ANC drives a hard bargain: “We have no objection to the egg hunt—on the condition that the sponsors collect any trash,” commissioner Birch said.
Next, the Nike Women’s Marathon Half sought approval for the closure of a small portion of Thomas Jefferson St.
The event is based off a similar effort, which takes place annually in San Francisco, and it will raise money for cancer research. Although the run does not take place within Georgetown, the Nike representatives still needed to go to the ANC for approval to close Thomas Jefferson St.
After the Nike reps explained that closing down Thomas Jefferson Street would provide an easy way for contestants to reach the nearby Nike store, the ANC commissioners became skeptical of the entire event
Commissioner Ed Solomon told the representatives, “We’re annoyed with street closings. Your causes are great, but we need time to figure this out.” The representatives were told to come back in a month.
Likewise, representatives from the charity event Sprint Four the Cure, which donates all proceeds to cancer research at the Medstar Washington Hospital Center, asked the ANC if they could close K street for one Saturday morning in September.
Tired of hearing about street closings and traffic in Georgetown, the ANC told the representatives to come back next month.
“Why don’t these races happen somewhere else, for God’s sake?” asked Commissioner Birch. Vox isn’t sure, but thinks it may have something to do with the beautiful historic setting of Georgetown.