The ANC Responds to GU’s Recent Charm Offensive

Over the last couple months, Georgetown University has been rolling out a series of efforts aimed to address the quality of life complaints that were aired at the spring’s campus plan Zoning Commission hearings. GM is personally convinced that GU has its eye on the upcoming hearings on the campus plan as it introduces these initiatives (which doesn’t mean they’re not good initiative, just that they’re not motivated by neighborly kindness). The idea being that it will argue that it is being proactive to address the neighbor’s concerns and thus the Zoning Commission shouldn’t take the draconian step of demanding GU either build on-campus housing or obtain housing outside 20007 for all undergrads by 2015, as the Office of Planning requested.

To undercut this argument, the ANC just issued a supplemental submission to the Zoning Commission. The ANC writes:

GU’s grudging, small-scale responses to community concerns throughout this case have been  disappointing. Instead of responding meaningfully to Chairman Hood‟s suggestion to the  University that it propose truly new, large, and effective approaches to the neighborhood issues, GU has instead come back with small-scale tweaks to existing off campus student programs.

The ANC takes a particularly cynical view of GU’s quality of life measures:

GU reserves the right to modify any and all of its student conduct measures at any time… And GU certainly cannot expect us to believe that any 11th-hour clamp-down it may have attempted over the past several months – in the spotlight of an impending Zoning Commission decision – will or could be sustained by GU over the long run.

In the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category, the ANC addresses GU’s new trash pick up program:

By the University’s own count, as GU has informed ANC 2E commissioners, a trash truck it sends around the student-centric areas of the community daily at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. has been picking up over one and a half tons of trash every day…The University, after years of turning a blind eye, has belatedly taken some remedial action. But the University does not seem to appreciate that during the 20 or so hours every day when the GU trash truck is not picking up the trash, another 1.5 tons of trash is dumped outside for all in the community to experience. The trash truck proves beyond a doubt the existence of a serious problem. It clearly does not sufficiently mitigate, let alone solve, the problem. In an odd way, it may even exacerbate the undisciplined seven-days-a-week strewing of GU-related trash in the community.

This echoes somewhat a comment GM made recently. By picking up the students’ trash in bags, the school fails to discourage students from leaving bags of trash out on the street. Residents often get fined for this since it encourages rats, so there’s no reason to treat students differently.

But one thing this complaint fails to do is to put the 1.5 tons into context. That’s 3,000 lbs. Or somewhere between 2-3 lbs. of trash per off-campus student. The EPA estimates that the average American produces 4.4 lbs of trash a day. Presumably some amount of trash the students are producing doesn’t end up in their houses’ trash (e.g., a cup of coffee they buy and throw out at a coffee shop) so it’s not like this is evidence that they’re big recyclers, but it doesn’t do much to say that 1.5 tons of trash is to be unexpected from so many people. It’s seems that the issue shouldn’t be how much trash students are producing, but rather how they are handling it.

Anyway, that’s just a couple of points they raise. Here’s the document:

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “The ANC Responds to GU’s Recent Charm Offensive

  1. RobRob

    If non-student residents in Georgetown are fined for improper trash containment, why is the city turning a blind eye to these off-campus student-occupied houses?

    Maybe the District should start fining the residents *and* the landlords for this kind of behavior.

  2. RNM

    For the record, residents don’t get fined often for leaving trash out in bags. As I have gotten one fine in twenty years of doing that.

    Cities have rats…they always will.

    My area of Georgetown has been turned into a wasteland of always out trash cans. They are left out on the wrong days…then left to sit on the sidewalks for days after pickup. Often they are rolling around, rarely do they have their lid on them. Even the most conscientious of students end up with three or more cans lined up in front of their residence making an eyesore and driving down property values. All to fight a problem that has no solution…or to steal from a good outlook…if there is no solution to the existence of rats in a city then there is no problem.

    And come Friday night, you see there is a holiday on Friday (Armistice Day I like the old school) so trash pickup and recycling will shift one day which no doubt the students will not know, I will place my trash bag out on the sidewalk and the trash crew will pick it up the following morning. They will not have to deal with dragging cans between cars (often hitting them), they will not have to heave the cans back to the sidewalk where they will sit for the weekend (as they did last weekend on my block). The neighborhood will look like crap, and nothing will be accomplished.

    Oh, and while we are on trash collection, the number of times the crews have opted to just go past some homes and not collect trash is rather large over the years. Maybe I should start fining them for failure to do their job.

    For now, I will continue my act of civil disobedience. Risk my fine and pay the one I get every decade or so. Now if the city wants to force houses not to just leave their trash cans out as an eyesore, and a distraction where people walking around pop off the lids and throw in open food containers (which really attract rats about ten times as much as my trash bag)…then maybe we can talk. Until then…I will tilt the windmill of stupidity.

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  4. Guest

    Topher: be up front and say what you really want: the eviction of the university from the Georgetown community and relocate it to Virginia. I’m sure the real estate barons would have a field day with all the extra land for sale.

  5. RT

    Topher is rarely a NIMBY, but his failure to defend Georgetown (quite the opposite in fact) is really disheartening. Georgetown has always been here, and the residents have an irrational hatred of the institution and its students. I say this with no affiliation to Gtown, but it’s embarrassing and unbecoming of so-called sophisticated people. AU / Tenleytown is the same way. The city needs to come to the defense of the Universities, not whiny obnoxious residents with an entitlement complex.

  6. RNM

    Oh, and shocking…the trash cans are out. Anyone want to make bets on when they will be moved back? I realize it is a bit gap of 5 feet or so to where they are stored…and that the people living there will walk past them countless times a day…so I figure maybe on Sunday? Thank goodness the city has foisted this nonsense upon us.

    Next up, lets talk about the chronic illegal parking of Jack Evans and his Jaguar…apparently he thinks all corners are just reserved parking spots for him, especially the one near his house where his car will often be left at all hours of the night. Can a constituent write him a parking ticket?

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  8. Dizzy

    I must admit to being a little bit puzzled by the “neighborly kindness” aside. Aside from the obvious initial reaction – have you seen any “neighborly kindness” coming from the ANC/CAG/BCA et. al. folks? – there’s a broader question: under what standard or definition of “neighborly kindness” is there an expectation that one neighbor will incur the costs of operating a frequent trash pickup service for the neighborhood far in excess of what the city already provides? Or incur the costs of operating security patrols in excess of what the city already provides? Or of running a landlord registry? None of these measures, which cost real money and manpower, can possibly be expected to materialize as a result of “neighborly kindness,” I don’t think, so I’m not sure how it’s a strike to say that this is not the sole motivation for their coming into being.

    You can probably just go ahead and file every post about the University’s efforts in “the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category.”

    Also, I have to ask: why no mention of the fact that the ANC never actually voted on this submission in a public forum? And why no mention of the BCA/CAG’s submission, in which – among other things – they explicitly go after individuals who testified in favor of the Plan in an attempt to discredit them by listing things like “Jonda McFarlane – in the past associated with a non-profit supported by GU.”

  9. DR

    Just when you think that Lenore Rubino, Jennifer Altemus and their comrades can’t do any more to spite their neighbors, they find a new way. In this case, by demanding that the city ignore the concerns of anyone affiliated with an organization “supported by GU.” For example, they believe that the Duke Ellington School must reject any support or assistance from GU and its students, or risk being censored by CAG and the BCA regarding its neighborhood concerns.
    They complain that Grace Bateman is a long-time activist and supporter of the University, then complain that Tim Moran has only lived in the area since August 2010. On one hand, they think the city should dismiss Moran’s concerns because he hasn’t been around for many years, while they should also dismiss Bateman’s concerns because she has been involved for decades.
    Also, if being a graduate of GU disqualifies your concerns, then they should also dismiss any input from CAG, as it is led by Jennifer Altemus.

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