Layer of Annoyance Surfaces at ANC Meeting


The usually very solicitous Georgetown-Burleith advisory neighborhood commissioners, who often thank one other and the various District government officials who address them, showed a subsurface layer of annoyance at the monthly ANC meeting on March 30.

To begin with, presenters from the District Department of Transportation — which had two items on the agenda: the 37th Street bike lane and work on Rose Park’s multi-use trail — were asked repeatedly to keep their presentations short. (The crime report at this meeting lasted almost half an hour; the past two meetings, starting at 6:30 p.m., went on until nearly 10 p.m.) They didn’t.

DDOT was also involved in controversies related to at least two other agenda items: unregistered motorized vehicles on city streets and a possible change to the agency’s approach regarding brick sidewalk maintenance.

The latter elicited an unusually droll memory from ANC Chair Rick Murphy. He recalled that, in August of 2017, former Commissioners Jim Wilcox and Joe Gibbons (and Gibbons’s dog, Scout) physically blocked DDOT contractors from paving over a portion of Georgetown’s sidewalks at 3oth and Dumbarton Streets. Now, it seems, the unwanted surface may be foisted on Georgetown’s treasured brick sidewalks again, without any warning or notice to the ANC.

Commissioner Gwen Lohse’s resolution on the illegal motorized vehicles requested responses not only from DDOT but from the District Department of Motor Vehicles and the Metropolitan Police Department, which she expects immediately.

Even the very favored National Park Service came in for some grumpiness regarding a construction project. The commissioners welcomed the initial fencing off of the pathway from M to P Streets along the steep east edge of Rose Park, after 10 years of pointing out its dangerous conditions. But the work was planned and begun without the ANC being notified or its input sought.

The biggest complaints of ghosting were saved for the Department of Parks and Recreation, however, whose outreach officer Tommie Jones is well known to all the commissioners — and to most everyone involved in the long-evolving redesign of the Jelleff Recreation Center.

The reconstruction of Jelleff is a top priority of Ward 2 Council representative Brooke Pinto, who supports the idea of doubling or even tripling the original 2021 budgeted allocation of $7 million to make the building ADA compliant, including renovations that would transform Jelleff into more of a community hub. But none of the results of the surveys and town-hall meetings — notably a proposal to demolish the entire building and build a new one with a larger, reconfigured swimming pool — was referenced in the feasibility study that DPR announced had been finalized.

“Using 100s of thousands of tax dollars, DPR has been conducting a ‘feasibility study’ by Perkins Eastman/PE who always said they would include all correspondence from residents,” Commissioner Elizabeth Miller wrote The Georgetowner, clearly angered. “But DPR is refusing to include in their report, a community letter signed by three civic organizations including Georgetown Village and passed by our ANC unanimously.”

“The report is PE’s report,” Jones told The Georgetowner on April 7. “All comments, propositions, letters from community organizations and individuals are all being posted openly on the DPR website.”

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