ANC Nominates GCP Co-Chair, Talks Trash
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 02:09
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E Chair Ron Lewis was appointed co-chair of the Georgetown Community Partnership, a body designed to provide a forum for resolving issues between the university and its neighbors, at the ANC’s monthly meeting Tuesday.
The partnership was a key element of the 2010 Campus Plan, which was approved by the D.C. Zoning Commission this summer after being revised in a series of private talks between Georgetown administrators and representatives of neighborhood groups.
Top Georgetown administrators, including Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, were also present at Tuesday’s meeting to assure local residents of Georgetown’s commitment to maintaining the promises made during the negotiations in the spring.
Lauralyn Lee, who is set to become the university’s associate vice president of community engagement and strategic initiatives this fall, told the audience that the university is in daily conversations with neighborhood groups to lay the groundwork for the successful implementation of the agreements reached in the campus plan.
“We are really extremely committed at every level to enter this phase and hope it will be a very successful partnership,” she said.
Commissioners Lewis and Ed Solomon were quick to laud the new cooperation between the university and surrounding community.
“What is really new is that [we are] in partnership with the highest levels of the university,” Solomon said. “This is result-oriented. A new day has come. The university has a lot invested, and we have a lot invested.”
But Commissioner Bill Starrels spoke more cautiously, saying that he still has not seen any concrete outcomes from the programs implemented as part of the campus plan agreement.
“I want to be optimistic,” he said. “I have still heard some behind-the-scenes complaints. I just want to see the results. That’s all we’re looking for.”
Olson assured the audience that the university is taking measures to keep noise to a minimum on neighborhood streets. These initiatives range from the elimination of the party registration requirement to make on-campus partying a more attractive option, increasing late-night programming on campus on weekend evenings and moving Magis Row housing from 36th to 37th Street.
“It’s not that we promise that there will be no more noise in the neighborhood. I don’t want to be unrealistic,” Olson said. “But we want to make the neighborhood as livable and workable as it can be.”
The university met with neighborhood groups earlier on Tuesday to discuss trash removal procedures.
“We had an outstanding meeting … with [Georgetown] and … we’re coming to realize that the university is serious about this part of the key issue of the campus plan,” Commissioner Jeff Jones said. “We’re going to work together … to address this common issue of trash, rats and property maintenance. It’s really important, and we appreciate the university’s doing that.”
Apart from the campus plan proceedings, the meeting’s agenda was dominated by discussions about downward trends in area crime.
John Hedgecock, lieutenant for Metropolitan Police Department’s police service area 206, which contains Georgetown, told the audience that most forms of crime have decreased since last year.
Most notably, automobile theft more than halved, dropping from 32 to 15 cases. In addition, aggravated assaults with a weapon dropped to eight cases in 2012 from 15 in 2011. The only type of crime to see an uptick between 2011 and 2012 was theft, which increased by more than 10 percent from 372 to 410 cases this year. According to Hedgecock, most of the thefts were instances of shoplifting, and most of the crimes this summer occurred east of Wisconsin Avenue, especially in the 2900 block of M Street.
Hedgecock attributed the overall reduction in crime in part to the heightened presence of reimbursable MPD details funded by the Georgetown Business Improvement District.
Commissioners thanked audience members for their patience during the restoration of O and P Streets, which included the replacement of water mains and local service connections, repavement and the restoration of the historic streetcar tracks. The 20-month project concluded last month.
“This is a rare public works project,” Lewis said. “It was a very long time in coming, but it managed successfully … to combine both the highest standards of … engineering safety with the highest standards of historic preservation.”
Lewis added that service of the G2 bus line, which was suspended during construction, will resume before the end of the month.