President's Message

By Eric Langenbacher,

The busy official autumn season is over and as we look forward to the holidays, it is useful to look back at 2015 and into 2016. We had a well-attended Halloween party on October 31. I once again extend our deep appreciation to the sponsors, Lenore Rubino, Whole Foods, and Safeway, and to the organizer, Kay Langenbacher. November 7 witnessed our biannual community clean up, as always, ably organized by Janice Sims.

The Burleith Citizens Association annual meeting was held at the Washington International School on November 12. We are most grateful to Principal Melody Meade and Assistant Principal Alex Roosenburg for once again making their wonderful school available to us. In addition to BCA business, we had interesting presentations, described in more detail on the website (along with a fuller recounting of the BCA’s 2015 achievements).

The BCA plans to convene a special meeting in the new year (probably in February) to discuss two major items for the community. The first matter relates to the future development of Burleith. There are an increasing number of renovations and additions to homes in our neighborhood—many of which have concerned other homeowners. Currently, only the DC zoning code governs such issues. We think it would be useful to engage in a discussion about various options, including historic district status. To be clear, such status would not entail the stringent rules governing Georgetown, but rather would mirror what neighborhoods such as Foxhall Village have. We will invite various experts to present all options and ramifications of obtaining such a status, as well as the process and costs.

Second, there is a request from longtime Burleith resident Charlie Volkman on behalf of The Western High School Alumni Association to rename Ellington Field (located between Reservoir Road and S Street between 38th and 39th Streets) the Western High School Stadium, which it was called before Western became the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 1977. Whatever resolution BCA members adopt will be forwarded to Councilmember Evans, who will then consider further action. All interested stakeholders will be able to present their positions before the community decides.

What about that airplane noise? Many Burleith residents are increasingly disturbed by a significant intensity in flight noise that frequently begins early in the morning and continues until very late at night. As I have noted before, along with many other community groups and the university, the BCA is part of the DC Fair Skies Coalition, which has submitted a legal petition for the FAA to review these changes in flight paths. Currently, all the communities are trying to raise money to pay for legal costs. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to this cause. The Citizens Association of Georgetown has various payment options: a downloadable donation form or online payment at the DC Fair Skies Coalition webpage. Please be sure to indicate that you live in Burleith.

On November 19, about 10 residents participated in a community walk-through with representatives from the mayor’s office and other DC government agencies. We pointed out many sidewalks, curbs, and alleys that need attention, along with a number of other issues, such as the restricted lanes around Ellington on R Street and the numerous vehicles parked behind some properties.

On December 12, Santa is scheduled to visit the youngsters of Burleith, and there will be a holiday decoration contest to be judged December 20–21. Looking ahead, on February 7, Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper once again will host the annual winter gløgg party.

Above all, I hope that everyone has a healthy and happy holiday season.