President's Message

By Eric Langenbacher,


I hope everyone is enjoying the spring blossoms—especially the Yoshino cherries that are almost at their peak. The cold weather in recent weeks has preserved many of the flowers.

You have no doubt heard that the communities’ lawsuit against the FAA regarding airplane noise to and from National Airport has ended without relief for residents. This was quite disconcerting. But, representatives from around Northwest DC, coordinated by our ANC representative Ed Solomon, are pondering any next steps. I will alert the Burleith community when something is decided. Meanwhile, there are still some legal costs to cover, so if you still want to donate, please go to the DC Fair Skies website.

Construction at MedStar's new Medical/Surgical Pavilion will start to ramp up very soon. The first stage will be demolition of Kober-Cogan Hall. New traffic patterns in place around the expanded construction and staging areas will affect neighbors accessing the hospital complex, as well as the Leavey Center and other places on campus. Beginning April 2, 2018, all patients and visitors must enter the hospital campus at Entrance 2 off Reservoir Road (the Emergency Department entrance). Entrance 1 will be closed. Traffic on Reservoir Road may be a problem once things really get going. MedStar has promised to send more detailed information soon. We will monitor the situation and look for remedies if needed.

Our next managing change community meeting will be on Wednesday, April 11, 7–9 pm, at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. This will be the third meeting dedicated solely to historic designation (HD). (An initial meeting in February 2016 that was half devoted to HD was followed by HD-specific meetings in June and September 2016. We also had meetings in March and October 2017 devoted to zoning and customized zoning.) The specific topic for the April 11 meeting is economic ramifications of historic designation on house prices. Confirmed speakers include Rich Schmidt, a neighbor who has compiled research on these effects; realtor and Burleith resident Lenore Rubino, who will provide a basic overview of the housing market in our neighborhood; and realtor Nancy Itteilag, who will share her perspectives on the issues. Several other realtors and speakers have been invited, but are not confirmed as I write this. I am also hoping to get someone from DC's Historic Preservation Office to recap the process and answer factual questions about what historic designation entails.

The final meeting will likely be Thursday, May 3, at Washington International School. This will be an open forum where all neighbors can share their perspective on development issues and historic designation in particular. I think we will start with two longer presentations—one opposed and one in favor of historic designation, followed by shorter speeches by neighbors.  I urge everyone to look through the Explore Historic Designation webpage devoted to this 2.5-year exploration of managing change and historic designation. The results of the “Burleith Housing Survey” from spring 2017 are also available there. I am deeply thankful to the dedicated volunteers who have put this information together, literally transcribing recordings and verifying pieces of information with the speakers.

In late May and early June, we will vote on whether the BCA should proceed with an application for historic designation. There will be two times (one weekday and one weekend) when BCA members can vote. You need to be a member for at least a month to be eligible to vote. I have proposed June 9 as the second and last voting day, which will allow neighbors to join or renew their membership in the days after the last May 3 meeting. Please note that submitting an application does not automatically mean historic designation is granted. The city has its own multi-step process after an application is submitted and before a final determination is made.

All the best,