Last night, the Burleith Citizens Association held their annual meeting. Although the meeting was lightly attended, all the notable Burleithers, including outgoing presidentLenore Rubino and new president Christopher Clements, were there.
And no meeting of the BCA would be complete without a guest appearance by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. Evans started by thanking Rubino for her service, then moved on to an indirect campaign plug about everything the council has done over the past decade. Although the city has improved its bond rating more than a letter grade in ten years, Evans said the city is still in financial trouble. Currently, because of budget difficulties, the city is at its minimum number of police officers, but CMs Evans and Phil Mendelson have found the funding to increase the police presence.
For public safety, Evans commented that, if it weren’t for last month, this year could have had the lowest homicide rate in 42 years. In addition to Halloween, three weeks ago saw nine homicides.
And of course he touched on redistricting. Evans appointed Lenore Rubino, Ron Lewis, and Jennifer Altemus as co-chairs of the redistricting working-group for ANC2E. They worked out a plan, which Evans called “somewhat controversial because of the student input.” Their proposal will be submitted to the council, and a hearing will happen sometime in the future.
On the Campus Plan, Evans said that he supports the residents 100%; although the council does not have a role in the process other than to advocate for the neighbors. Additionally, he said that one of the most pressing issues of the community is to limit the number of students in each house. Evans said he has tried to institute a zoning overlay or to limit the number of unrelated renters that can occupy a house (currently 6), but these plans have received pushback from other parts of the city.
“But they don’t have the problems we have,” Evans said. “It’s not students.”
Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association announced [PDF] in the Burleith Bell that she will be stepping down from her position in November after her five-year term. Rubino, who was noted for her opposition to the 2010 Campus Plan and student renters in general, will be replaced by Chris Clements, who represented the BCA in front of the Zoning Commission during the Campus Plan hearings.
In an email to Vox, Rubino wrote, “I’ve been president for over 5 years and It has been an honor to serve the community. While I am stepping down as president I will still remain on the board and actively involved in the BCA and the campus plan.” She declined to comment on whether there was a specific impetus for her decision.
Clements represented [PDF] BCA and CAG on occasion during the Campus Plan hearings over the summer. He presented no personal testimony (but was complemented by Chairman Hood on his cross-examination prowess).
The rest of the BCA board will be filled by Burleith perennials like Nan Bell and Candith Pallandre.
In a recent joint press release by the Burleith Citizens Association and the Citizens Association of Georgetown, respective presidents Lenore Rubino and Jennifer Altemus remind whomever is listening that they do not like students in their neighborhoods.
It’s nice that some things never change.
In the letter, Rubino and Altemus cite that the “proposed mitigations for the adverse impacts students living off campus have on the community,” which include daily trash pick-up and the M Street Shuttle, miss the point.
These “limited initiatives” fail to address the most important issue: students live off campus. And no number of daily trash pick-ups can fix that (we think).
So what’s the solution? It’s a shocker: House 100% of students on campus.
The segment, which is below, features numerous neighbors making some fairly absurd complaints, with one woman saying that single women living alone in Burleith “are afraid” of the debauchery that Georgetown students are causing. Another neighbor holds up his destroyed “Our Homes Not GU’s Dorms” sign like the corpse of a civilian war casualty.
One thing to note when watching the video: Their footage of student “destruction” consists of shots of two—yes, two—empty beer containers outside. They try to mix it up with different angles, but it’s pretty obvious.
@DC Citizen just summarized the attitudes of the BCA, CAG, and most of the ANC: In every situation, just mindlessly blames Georgetown University and its students, while showing no concern for safety, civil rights, or the truth in any way. DC Citizen, you and people who share your views (e.g., Lenore Rubino, Ed Solomon, Ron Lewis) are the problem in the neighborhood, not the students.
Just another example of Georgetown getting out of control and disturbing the neighborhood. Breakfast at Midnight?! Do we live in an anarchic society run by Satanists? Did Dr. Olson present that hat to the ANC for approval? It’s not in the minutes. I will not be satisfied until Dr. Olson is forced to live on-campus on a cot in Sellinger Lounge. Until then, I’ll be sure to call 911 whenever I see such outrageous behavior embodied by this man eating silently in a corner with a silly hat on.
Last night, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission held a special meeting to discuss the 2010 Campus Plan.
Ed Solomon chaired the meeting because ANC Chairman Ron Lewis was home sick.
The first, and longest, topic of the night was student housing. Solomon started the discussion off with some background on the issue: the rise in students living off-campus in the past ten years and the University’s response to it, which was called a “second stamp card”. He recited the litany of programs the University has in started then handed the microphone off to Provost JimO’Donnell.
O’Donnell began the University’s response to the issue of student housing. He acknowledged the neighborhood’s concerns, but said, “We live under the constraint of finances.” Vice President ToddOlson outlined the Campus Plan in how it would strengthen on-campus student life. He argued that projects such as the New South student center and the library extension would make campus a more appealing home. New requirements such as making all transfer students under 21 live on campus and having all off-campus students sign community contracts are other measures the plan includes, according to Olson.
Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association, stated that 48 percent of houses in Burleith are rentals, most of which are occupied by students. According to her, this number will grow if the Campus Plan passes.
“Band-aid solutions do nothing to mitigate problems,” she said, referring to the measures Solomon outlined. “The issue of students living off-campus needs to be addressed as nothing else will improve our quality of life,” she said to raucous applause from residents.
Last Monday, the Citizens Association of Georgetown hosted a forum to discuss proposed changes to city zoning regulations.
The meeting, which filled the Letelier Theater, brought Travis Parker of the D.C. Office of Planning to discuss what will be the first changes to the regulations since 1958. Although Parker mostly spoke about how the changes can affect the neighborhood, many questions focused around Georgetown University’s proposed campus plan.
According to the Georgetown Dish, one resident waited over an hour in an aisle to ask how the neighbors can have their voices heard without being “steamrolled” by the University. Parker responded to this, and similar questions, by directing neighbors to voice their opinions to the Zoning Commission.
“The Zoning Commission is, in my experience, very good about listening to concerns and if not resolving them, at least addressing them,” Parker said.
Thursday night’s Burleith Citizens Association meeting featured an appearance by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who answered residents’ concerns about Georgetown’s 2010 campus plan.
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.”
Last April, the Burleith Citizens Association started soliciting donations for their anti-Campus Plan campaign; five months and $11,000 later, the community group has finally hired zoning and urban planning consultants to help build their case.
“As we move into the fall, activity surrounding the GU campus plan will heat up,” BCA President Lenore Rubinowrote in the Burleith Bell [PDF], a monthly newsletter. “The BCA in conjunction with the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown is working with our consultants to build our case before the zoning commission.”
In this week’s edition of “How Burleith Residents Misunderstand the 2010 Campus Plan,” we take a look at Lenore Rubino, President of the Burleith Citizens’ Associations. This gem of a line is from an email Rubino sent out over the Burleith listserv:
“Good for all: More on-campus, affordable housing that accommodates student needs. I would think university students, no matter where they are located, would want and demand safe, affordable, convenient on-campus housing, especially at the tuition rates some universities are charging.”
Sigh. I’m not sure where Rubino thinks the University can build more on-campus housing. Neighbors often cite the fact that an architectural firm identified space for 800 additional beds on campus—if the University built on every plot of open space there exists on campus. (And built only dorm-style housing that no student would ever opt to live in as an upperclassman.)
I’m also not sure why Rubino thinks that new on-campus housing would be less expensive than off-campus housing. It certainly isn’t more affordable now.