President's Message


By Eric Langenbacher,

There is quite a lot going on in and around the neighborhood as 2018 really gets going.

Since the ANC started to emphasize the issue just before the holidays last year, there have been a series of meetings about changing the parking rules in ANC 2E. In addition to ANC commissioners, representatives from the community associations, Georgetown University, the DC government (DDOT) and the business community have been participating. Many options are on the table and there are still several different perspectives and solutions from the various stakeholders. I have made it clear that the recent BCA survey found that Burleith neighbors are comfortable with the status quo. All proposals that I have seen respect our preference. But we do need to be vigilant of possible spillover effects and unintended consequences from any changes in Georgetown. I will inform all of you as the discussion progresses and changes are implemented.

As you have likely noticed, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is preparing for construction on its new surgical pavilion. For the next few months, the impact should be minor because they first need to gut and demolish the old Kober-Cogan building. That work commenced in January. MedStar is still working out all of the logistics for their community outreach. Until they have a method to communicate directly, the BCA will forward any relevant announcements that we come across to the community listserv. We continue to be assiduously represented by Nan Bell and Ed Ohl on various committees of the Georgetown Community Partnership, which has been all over various issues related to this multi-year project.

The BCA also recently started to email BCA members and members of our community listserv whenever requests for special exceptions or variances to the 2016 zoning regulations are filed. Although this information is available on DC government websites, affected community members are not always aware of pending requests or when the requests are considered by the relevant regulatory bodies. As the BCA emails make clear, community members may share their views—in support or in opposition, in writing and/or in person—with ANC 2E, which weighs in first, and/or the Board of Zoning Adjustment (special exceptions) or Zoning Commission (variances), which makes the final decision. Interested persons may speak in support or opposition at ANC meetings and/or at BZA and ZC public hearings. The BCA is not taking a position on these requests, although individual board members may choose to participate in the process.

In January, there was a hearing on community groups’ (including the BCA) lawsuit against the FAA regarding airplane noise from Reagan National Airport. Many neighbors attended that hearing and most felt that our lawyer did a good job and that the judges seemed sympathetic. A recent verdict in Phoenix for residents against new FAA flight  paths augurs well. Nevertheless, appearances can be deceptive and we will have to wait until the judges issue a verdict.

The BCA will soon schedule additional meetings in regards to managing change. One will likely be a refresher on historic designation, coupled with various perspectives on the economic ramifications of such status. Another will be an open forum where all speakers can advocate whatever position they hold. At one point in the spring, I would like to reach a decision point (after two years of discussion) about proceeding with an application for historic designation. Note that the District has its own process after an application is submitted. I believe strongly that the community should decide one way or another so that this option does not circle back in 5 or 10 years. We need to be able to tell future generations of Burleithians that we had a comprehensive process and made a decision.

I would like to thank Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper for once again hosting the annual gløgg party on Super Bowl Sunday, February 4. We had a record turnout with over 80 people who enjoyed tasty hors d’oeuvres and delicious mulled wine. Attendees included Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmember Jack Evans. (Click here for photos.)

Finally, it is with heavy heart that we mourn the passing of Peggy Cooper Cafritz on February 18. In addition to her artistic and philanthropic activities, she was a DC School Board president and the founder of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 1974, which has so enriched the city and particularly Burleith. Her moving obituary in the Washington Post is worth reading.