Sept. ANC Update: Back-to-School, Art All Night, Rose Park, Starr Restaurant
By September 6, 2022 0 584•
Holding its September 2022 virtual meeting on Aug. 29 before Labor Day ensured a low public turnout, but the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E) still made momentous and potentially controversial decisions heading into the fall.
Chair Rick Murphy (2E03) gaveled the meeting with the announcement that only six commissioners would be in attendance due to the ANC’s two Georgetown University students moving outside their district’s boundaries (i.e., off-campus). Murphy offered and the ANC passed unanimously a resolution commending the student reps, Srivastava and Kumar, for their “creativity, commitment and energy.”
Crime and Safety
Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Philip Robinson of the Second District provided an overview on Georgetown’s crime statistics. In July, zero homocides, sex abuse cases or assaults-with-a-deadly-weapon (ADW) cases were reported although one act of violence was logged, bringing the total of violent crimes to one. For August, no violent crimes were reported. Motor vehicle thefts, however, rose from two in July to five in August (with two of the stolen autos recovered). Thefts-from-autos rose from eight in July to 12 in August. And property thefts rose from 31 in July to 54 in August. Robinson emphasized, however, that most of the vehicle thefts were due to owners leaving keys in cars and the majority of property thefts were targeted against particular clothing and cosmetics retailers for which MPD is formulating a tactical response with “two overtime units detailed.”
Progress has been made on homeless encampments, Robinson reported, from two last month to only one this month. Residents are urged to call 202-673-6495 for crisis response.
Elizabeth Miller (2E07) raised the alarm about package thefts reported by her constituents. Robinson agreed to discuss reviewing Nextdoor Georgetown reportings with the department and Miller. Gwendolyn Lohse (2E06) inquired about thefts targeting outdoor diners. Snatching wallets and purses from diners “has not been a trend in the Georgetown community,” Robinson said.
Briefing from DC DHS
Rachel Pierre, administrator of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Family Services Administration (FSA) provided an overview of FSA’s role in preventing homelessness, providing shelter and youth services and outreach, housing assistance and community services. She emphasized that homelessness cuts across every neighborhood in the city “across all eight wards.” With increased city funding over the last year, DHS’s housing voucher programs have grown by more than 50 percent,” she said, calling the increase for FY 2022 “amazing.” Chronic homelessness “has decreased this year compared to last year,” she said.
Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC)
GMC’s executive director Kelly Andreae called to offer some helpful statistics on Georgetown’s homelessness problem. Of the 90 guests GMC recently matched with housing, Andreae reported one-third were placed in transitional housing, one-third in permanent housing and one-third were “choosing to remain outside.” Even if such individuals are assigned caseworkers, there are “a lot of barriers” to placing “chronically homeless individuals” in housing, she said.
As homeless migrants – mostly single adults – are being bussed to Union Station, GMC has begun to discover through its street outreach programs that the immigrants are arriving in increasing numbers into Georgetown, though they have not yet begun to line up for GMC services. “In recent days, GMC has seen a substantial increase in those individuals,” Andreae said.
“GMC is a very important resource in our community and they do great work,” Chair Rick Murphy proclaimed.
Report from Mayor Bowser’s Office
Julius Terry of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations (MOCRS) announced the mayor’s 2022 Back to School Guide. In response to complaints from Chair Murphy and Elizabeth Miller (2E07) about 311 requests reported as “resolved” prematurely, Terry stated that he will review how the city handles such requests. Commissioner Lohse suggested a stern ANC resolution should help support such a review. Kishan Putta (2E01) conveyed constituent complaints about swimming pools at Jelleff and Volta Park closing long before Labor Day despite the heat in August getting “worse and worse.”
Report from Ward 2 Council Member Pinto’s Office
Council member Pinto organized a walk-through of Hardy, Hyde-Addison and Duke Ellington schools to determine readiness for the start of the academic year. Parents were reminded about the city’s Covid Centers and the availability of rapid tests as well as the city’s provision of Monkeypox vaccines. See DChealth.dc.gov/page/monkeypox. Pinto will also be hosting a Ward 2 Bike Ride on October 1.
Introduction of Hardy’s New Principal
Commissioner Putta welcomed new principal of Hardy Middle School, Errol Johnson. “He’s been very open with the community and has invited the parents to an ice cream social,” Putta said. Johnson, of New York, served as a Teach for America math instructor and helped raise scores at Dunbar Senior High before coming onboard at Hardy. “He’s impressed me already,” Putta said. “When we visited, we found him painting one of the hallways himself.” Johnson told the ANC that he believes “education is the key that unlocks doors” and that he’s been “very fortunate to have been welcomed so strongly by the community.”
Georgetown Main Street (GMS) and Art All Night
GMS executive director, Rachel Shank announced Georgetown’s Art All Night, a free community-wide event that’s part of DC Art All Night (AAN) running from N Street to R Street along Wisconsin Avenue NW, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23. The festival will include an “activated streetscape,” 13 event locations and over 20 participating businesses. The Georgetown Neighborhood Library will serve as the welcoming location. GMS is looking for volunteers to help with the festival and is putting out a 36-page guide to the evening. Contact Georgetownmainstreet.com or Rachel@Georgetownmainstreet.com for information.
Commissioner Miller announced a photography exhibit in the space above Compass Coffee at 1351 Wisconsin Ave. NW by Georgetown Creatives during Georgetown’s Art All Night on Sept. 23. At the activated studio site, three credentialed photography judges will select awardees.
Lynne Golub-Rofrano, founding executive director of Georgetown Village provided an update on the senior services center at 1680 Wisconsin Ave. NW. “We never closed our doors during the pandemic,” she said. The center maintains a loaning closet of durable medical equipment to lend on a short- or long-term basis, if needed. As a membership organization serving those “55 and up,” Georgetown Village also offers transportation services, “light bulb changing” or other essential tasks – “just ask a volunteer!” Golub-Rofrano said.
DDOT’s Transportation and Circulation Study for Georgetown
With the goal of “identifying recommended improvements to the transportation infrastructure in Georgetown,” a committee of 16 stakeholders from Georgetown are serving as an Advisory Committee to the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT). Commissioners Murphy, Lohse and Palmer will serve on the committee in addition to leaders of the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG), the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID), and representatives from pedestrian and bicycle advisory committees. Expressing disappointment that DDOT reserves the authority to appoint the technical consultants for the study and to finalize the report’s ultimate recommendations, Chair Murphy lamented “This is DDOT’s study and not the community’s study.” The study is “moving much more slowly than we’d like,” Murphy added. “We haven’t heard from DDOT in six months.”
Georgetown University’s Community Day
On Saturday, September 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in front of Healy Hall, Georgetown University will host a Community Day, Chair Murphy announced. “It’s really good to have the students back,” he said, “we’ve missed their energy on the streets.” Commissioner Lohse agreed: “They’re a key part of the fabric of our community.” ANC2E will have a table on the lawn.
Rose Park to Celebrate 100 Years
On Thursday, Sept. 22, Roseparkdc.org will be hosting a gala to commemorate a century of dedicated service to the community. “Get your tickets now,” urged Commissioner Lohse. And don’t forget that the day before, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Rose Park Farmers Market will be open at 3 p.m. Financial contributions to support the Friends of Rose Park are always welcome to “keep the park as beautiful as it’s been the last 100 years,” Lohse said.
ANC Resolutions Passed
Following a site visit with D.C. Council members Brooke Pinto (Ward 2) and Robert White (at-Large), Commissioner Putta offered a resolution urging that Hyde-Addison school receive from the city all needed repairs and maintenance. “We did see things with our own eyes that I thought were worth mentioning,” Putta said. Indoor stacks of poles from outdoor tents had not been moved for over a year, and the new projector for the auditorium/cafeteria has also gone a year without repair.
3147 Dumbarton Street
Recalling that “DC Chicken and Gyro terrorized the neighborhood,” with noisy and disruptive drivers “well into the wee hours of the morning,” the ANC voted unanimously to inform the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) that it opposes allowing the landlord of the premises of 3147 Dumbarton St. NW to contemplate the establishment of another “food delivery service” at the location contrary to zoning regulations.
The ANC approved Commissioner Palmer’s proposal to urge the Department of Public Works (DPW) to more strictly enforce parking regulations – especially against double parking – on M Street between 28th and 34th Streets NW, on 20th Street between M and Olive Streets NW, and on 31st Street between M and South Streets NW.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The ANC approved Commissioner Lohse’s resolution to carefully study issues surrounding the placement of electric car charging stations on the streets of Georgetown. While electric vehicles are a key aspect of combating climate change, Lohse stipulated, Georgetown’s historic sidewalks and streets are narrow. Georgetown’s Transportation Study should therefore be sure to address how best to “integrate green transportation into Georgetown’s historic district.”
Rose Park Capital Bikeshare Station
Commissioner Lohse also proposed a request for a “joint clarification” from DDOT and Rock Creek National Park Service (NPS) explaining the delay of over a “year and a-half” in installing a Capital Bikeshare Station at Rose Park after “all agencies” had supported the measure in 2019.
Rose Park Concert
CAG board member Ellen Eisenberg promoted the return of Concerts in the Park on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Rose Park and requested the necessary permits. Commissioner Lohse announced that “as an alt-country fan, I’ll be especially excited,” given the lineup for the event. “The ANC fully supports CAG’s plans including for amplification,” she said following unanimous approval of the resolution.
BellRinger Bike Ride
Following a brief presentation from BellRinger executive director Chris Timco, the ANC voted unanimously to approve BellRinger’s Oct. 22 fundraising Bike Ride to support cancer research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Care Center. Up to 1,000 riders are expected for the event, but once underway should be clear of Georgetown by 8:30 a.m. For more information on BellRinger, go here.
Opposition to Lawyers Have Heart 10k and 5k Runs
Owing to “significant impacts in our community” and “disruptions in the neighborhood,” Commissioner Palmer proposed a resolution to withdraw ANC support for the Lawyers Have Heart 10K and 5K races in Georgetown. Year after year, she argued, organizers for the event have promised to reduce noise, traffic disturbances and other chaotic factors, such as poorly placed toilet facilities from the annual run/walk fundraiser for the American Heart Association. “Residents have simply had enough,” Palmer said. Although he has run in the fundraiser for many years, Chair Murphy agreed. “I hate to see it go but Commissioner Palmer is right,” he said.
Settlement Agreement Needed for Yellow Cafe
“We encourage Yellow to come to the neighborhood,” Chair Murphy told William Simons, the general manager of Albi and a spokesperson for Yellow – a popup cafe – opening soon at 1524 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Until a settlement agreement is reached, however, the ANC will protest the establishment’s application for a “Class C” license based on the potential “impact on peace, order and quiet in the neighborhood.”
Stephen Starr’s Mega-Italian Concept Restaurant on M Street
Nick Manos, director of construction and facilities for local restaurateur Stephen Starr of Le Diplomate fame, provided a quick powerpoint update on the latest plans for Starr’s proposed mega-Italian concept restaurant and market at 3276 M St. NW, site of the old Dean & DeLuca. The plans to be presented to the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) call for sensitivity to the “historical significance of the building” and the “historical value of the signage” on the facade. Most exciting, the side awning and tent space will be converted to a bright white windowed solarium. “We’ll be making existing structures even better,” Manos said. The ANC fully endorsed Starr’s proposals. “The second half of 2023 is way too late,” for the restaurant’s opening, Chair Murphy quipped.