Free Trash Collection To End

D.C. Policy Affects Burlieth Students

By Sean Gormley Hoya Staff Writer

Houses in Burleith occupied by more than four non-related persons will no longer receive city trash collection. The District of Columbia Department of Public Works Solid Waste anagement division is informing landlords of these houses via mail, and the landlords, in turn, will have two weeks after being contacted to challenge the DPW decision.

If the decision is not challenged, landlords will have to hire a private contractor to collect garbage from these houses. If they do not hire a contractor, regular garbage collection will continue, but will entail a charge.

DPW cited D.C. Municipal Regulation Title 21, Sec. 700.8(b), which deals with rooming houses, as the legal justification for its decision.

According to the regulation, more than three unrelated people living in a residence constitutes a boarding house under District zoning laws. Boarding houses are not eligible for free trash pick-up in the District. However, housing law for the District says that “up to six unrelated individuals” can be considered a family, along with other, more traditional legal definitions of family.

The City Council has yet to address these discrepancies in the law.

Tom Day of the DPW has said he will enforce the decision, as his interpretation of the law been approved by the General Counsel of DPW. DPW General Counsel approval was necessary due to controversies in District law.

Although the DPW decision treats Burleith group houses as rooming houses, operation of a rooming house in the District requires a license, and rooming house bedrooms are characterized by locks that lock from the outside on each bedroom. No landlord in the Georgetown area has been cited for lack of a rooming house license in recent years, despite a sizable number of group houses.

DPW’s ruling is the latest in a series of actions that have left neighborhood residents puzzled. In recent months, the agency has changed traffic signs and installed new parking signs with little or no public input or notification. Each of these actions was met by general opposition from the community.

Students activists are confused by the agency’s latest action, saying that no one had been apprised that these regulations would go into effect until they were a `fait accompli.’

“This action treats students as if they aren’t a real part of the community,” said Wendi Wright (SFS ’01), co-chair of Campaign Georgetown and chair of GUSA’s Off-Campus Affairs Committee. “The student community has been targeted for sanctions” based on their enrollment status, according to Wright.

However, Burleith Citizen’s Association President Bonnie Hardy defended the DPW’s decision. “We [Burleith residents] have a tremendous overflow of trash, oftentimes, and that’s what brought Tom Day to our neighborhood.”

Wright said that Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Off-Campus Affairs Jeanne Lord informed her that the university is choosing not to get involved at this time, given the inconsistency of the law on this issue. Wright said that several student houses had already received notices that their trash would no longer be collected, and that Campaign Georgetown was planning to mobilize if and when service to these homes ended.

In an article written for the Burleith Citizens Association Newsletter about the new garbage enforcement, Hardy described Tom Day as “this neighborhood’s new hero.”

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