The Annual BCA Meeting: Out with the old, in with… more of the same
Last night, the Burleith Citizens Association held their annual meeting. Although the meeting was lightly attended, all the notable Burleithers, including outgoing president Lenore 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.”
Moving on to updates on the Campus Plan, Shiela Heggy, chair of the Committee of the Campus Plan, updated the room on where the case stands. As soon as she started, Vice President for Student Conduct Jeanne Lord attempted to hand out a fact sheet, but was blocked by BCA-ers. From then on, Vice President for External Relations Linda Greenan made no attempt to conceal her harrumphs of disapproval.
The final (or so they say) hearing for the Campus Plan will be on November 17, and the BCA urged residents to attend. They also brought more “Our Homes, Not GU’s Dorms” signs in case anyone didn’t have one, or if theirs were somehow defaced or stolen.
Lt. John Hedgecock also showed up at the meeting to address public safety concerns, especially regarding those of Halloween night.
“I never saw anything like that I saw Monday night in Georgetown,” Hedgecock began. “We had several robberies. We recovered several fire arms … We did plan for a celebration…but we had very few celebrants. We had a lot of people there for other reasons.”
Hedgecock also informed the room that he requested that District Department of Transportation review the crosswalk at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, after an unmarked police car hit a pedestrian.
One resident asked what the enforcement mechanisms were for the city’s amended noise law.
“I can’t tell you what the response is to each individual complaint,” Hedgecock said. “It depends on what we’re dealing with.”
When a resident calls 911 with a noise complaint, the dispatch goes to regular patrol officers. Sometimes, a reimbursable detail will pick up the call, but 70% of calls go to normal officers. Under law, SNAPS and DPS are not notified if someone calls 911.