President's Message

By Eric Langenbacher,


It was wonderful to see so many neighbors at the annual BCA meeting on November 9 at  Duke Ellington School of the Arts. We had detailed briefings from Councilmember Jack Evans and ANC representative Ed Solomon. Other highlights included a presentation from representatives of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, outlining construction plans for the new surgical pavilion starting early next year, and Melinda Bolling, director of DCRA, who graciously fielded many questions from neighbors about aspects of construction permitting and enforcement.

The BCA also bestowed awards on Officer Antonial Atkins (MPD), Cory Peterson (GU), John Sneeden (Rocklands), Davis Kennedy (Current newspapers), and Ross Schipper and Dwane Starlin (Burleith book) for the myriad ways these individuals have improved life in the neighborhood. Members voted on and signaled their approval of the proposed slate for the 2018 BCA Board—including two new members, Brian Garback and Kishan Putta. I would like to thank the Ellington folks for providing their beautiful space and tech support and Kay Langenbacher for taking care of the refreshments.

On October 25, we had our most recent meeting devoted to managing change in Burleith. After the Neighborhood Study Group (Carol Baume, Walter Hillabrant, Lenore Rubino, and Ed Levy) presented the findings from the survey they conducted in the spring, we had a briefing about custom zoning from Joel Lawson, associate director, Development Review, DC Office of Planning. We also heard from Paul Levy, who was involved with a successful re-zoning effort in Adams Morgan.

There are plans for several additional meetings in the new year devoted to the economics of historic designation and an open forum where neighbors can share their perspectives. As was also mentioned in October, I would like to bring this almost two-year discussion to an end in the spring with some kind of community decision—although nothing has yet been decided regarding timing or procedures. With the rapid pace of redevelopment now is the time to decide—even if we decide to endorse the status quo. Otherwise, neighbors in five or 10 years might re-open the question.

Regarding the issue of changing parking regulations in ANC-2E, there was another meeting on November 14 with various stakeholders. It appears that a consensus on what to do is still elusive. Proposals include restricting one side of the street for resident-only parking or shrinking the zone so that Ward 2 residents outside of the ANC cannot park all day. My impression is that most Burleith neighbors are satisfied with the current situation, but we must be vigilant about possible negative spillover effects from changes elsewhere. I am also a little worried about effects from the development of the old Holiday Inn site. In any case, the BCA is contemplating some sort of survey in the new year to gauge neighborhood opinion on various parking options.

We had a very well-attended community clean-up on the morning of November 11. Many volunteers noted how little trash was found compared to previous years. Although the Halloween party at the Tot Lot was cancelled due to inclement weather, we will have Santa visits on December 3 and a repeat of the holiday decoration contest to be judged December 20. Also, the BCA is planning a community night at a local restaurant in January where a portion of the profits will go to the BCA. Please check your email for details.

I would like to thank all of the neighbors who have volunteered their time to the BCA, Burleith, and the city over the past year. Their names are too numerous to mention, but special thanks goes to Nan Bell for her tireless work in the Georgetown Community Partnership and so much more; to Kay Twomey who so masterfully has run our events, especially the summer picnic; to Stacy Davis for editing and producing four great issues of the Bell; to Ann Carper for her awesome work as webmaster; and to Linda Brooks who as corresponding secretary does so much behind the scenes to make the BCA run as well as it does—and who hosts the winter gløgg party to boot. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the two departing Board members, Alex Frederick and Carol Baume, for their years of dedicated service.

Happy Holidays to all!