President's Message

By Eric Langenbacher,


Recently, a neighbor showed me a trove of old documents—issues of the Burleith Bell, community event announcements, photos—dating back to the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. I was struck by how active and engaged our neighbors have always been. I also found it fascinating to read about what issues animated previous generations. Many concerns are similar to today’s—new development such as changes at the Safeway on Wisconsin or the building of Hillandale. Some issues—like crime—were much more frequently mentioned. But overall, as much as plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, it is also clear just how improved life in our city has become and how the dedication of neighbors to Burleith is a constant. So, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the volunteers in the past, present, and future.

In any case, I hope that everyone had a good summer—despite the heat and rain—and an opportunity to get away at least a little. Good luck to all the students in the neighborhood as the school year commences! On that note, to all drivers, please be careful. Several neighbors have expressed concerns about people running stop signs, especially on 37th and 35th Streets. The BCA will press the District government to do something about this on-going problem.

I would like to remind everyone to fill out the BCA’s survey on historic designation before the September 3rd deadline: The survey is for data gathering only—it is not a vote. The same participation rules as with the 2017 housing survey will pertain: You must be a Burleith resident and/or property owner; one survey per person; maximum of two surveys per address. Participants must be over the age of 18. In order to make use of the final data, demographic questions will be asked so we can parse the results however may be desired. The demographic questions will be the same as what was used on the previous Neighborhood Study Group Survey, which include identifiers for address, owner, owner resident, renter, other, etc.

The data will be shared at the conclusion of the survey period. The results will not directly drive an action by the Board. However, should the results come in reflecting a clear majority against historic designation, we will cease discussion about it and efforts towards achieving historic designation will not be undertaken; should the results be tight or ambiguous, we will host a special community meeting to discuss possible next steps; should the results come in reflecting a clear majority in support of historic designation, we will host a special community meeting to discuss next steps including the structure and parameters of a formal vote.

We would also like to thank all the individuals that have helped inform the discussion and gather all the information we have pooled together. If you are unfamiliar with the issues at hand regarding this topic, or if you know of neighbors who would like more background, please refer to the Explore Historic Designation page on our website.

An initial public meeting on July 23 kicked off discussion of the planned renovation of the Jelleff Recreation Center with several more meetings to come. The renovation budget is modest, and the complex needs a new HVAC system and changes to make it ADA-compliant. We need to pursue all avenues to gain more funding. Please let us know what potential uses for the space you would prefer: The BCA will announce the meetings as they are scheduled.

On the topic of meetings, the ANC and other stakeholders are hosting a town hall on small cell facilities on Thursday, September 13, at 7 pm at the City Tavern Club (3206 M Street NW). Essentially, there are plans to install small, wireless communication facilities on poles throughout the District including ANC 2E. This should improve service, but several neighbors within ANC 2E have expressed reservations about locations and health issues. It is also not too early to mark your calendars for the BCA annual meeting to be held on Thursday, November 8. That is just two days after Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.

Work on green infrastructure in several Burleith alleys is scheduled to start in October and be completed by March 2019. Concerns have been expressed about how this work might affect trash collection and parking, but we have been assured that the contractor will work with affected residents to achieve acceptable temporary solutions. Construction at MedStar hospital is now intensifying. There will be shifting traffic patterns around the expanded construction and staging areas. This will affect neighbors accessing the hospital complex, as well as the Leavey Center and other places on campus. We will continue to monitor the situation and look for remedies if needed. Also, thanks to the efforts of Kishan Putta and our ANC representative, Ed Solomon, we should be getting a new Capital Bikeshare stand in the neighborhood—but there are still some details to work out.

There have recently been some complaints about noise from parties. If you are bothered by excessive noise, at any time of the day or night, please call the GU Helpline at (202) 687-8413, describe the problem, and ask for a callback or email about how the issue was resolved by GU. Then, please email with the subject line “Noise” and include the date, time, and address of where you suspect the noise is coming from., a description of the problem, when you called the Helpline, your contact info so someone from the BCA can respond to you, and results, if any. If the problem is acute, you can always call 911.

Finally, there have been some recent car break-ins and thefts. Although the police and the university have promised additional patrols, remember to always lock your car doors. If you see anything, please contact 911 immediately.