GU Campus Plan Controversy Reaches Foxhall

Photo by RJSmith
Lenore Rubino of Burleith and Bob Avery of Foxhall
Lenore Rubino of Burleith and Bob Avery of Foxhall
In the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere galloped from Boston to Lexington to warn of a British Army onslaught. Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association, took her message to Foxhall regarding a modern-day threat: the proposed expansion of Georgetown University with its significant potential impacts on traffic and surrounding neighborhoods.

The BCA is one of the many groups opposed to the Georgetown University expansion plan because of the fear that the increased graduate enrollment will negatively affect their largely single-family community.
The Foxhall Community Citizens Association members listened attentively as Rubino listed Burleith's objections to the GU plan, especially the further conversion of single-family homes into group houses for Georgetown students that would destroy the quality of the neighborhood, she said, including decreased property values.
“Our number-one argument is based on the zoning regulations,” she said, referring to legal arguments against the proposed expansion. The BCA has engaged lawyers, experts and a public relations consultant to prepare and present the citizens group's case.
Rubino also mentioned that residents are putting up anti-GU expansion lawn signs that say: “Our Homes, Not GU’s Dorm” and “OPPOSE GU’s campus plan.” She briefly mentioned Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans’ recent appearance at the Burleith membership meeting.  As reported in the Burleith Association newsletter, Evans said he supported the citizen’s position in opposition to the GU plan, but “I basically can’t help you.” 
In a subsequent interview, Bob Avery, president of Foxhall Community Citizens Association, pointed out additional problems in the proposed GU expansion plan specifically for Foxhall:
--GU’s proposed road along the edge of Glover Archibald Park in apparent violation of a scenic easement negotiated with GU and the National Park Service,

--a proposed structure covering an athletic field on the west side of the campus, possibly with lights, that would be a major intrusion into Foxhall,

--the poorly explained 83-foot tall smokestack that will intrude into both the campus and the nearby communities. (Councilmember Evans has spoken out against this proposal).
Avery said GU seems, on the one hand, unsure about how proceed because it “underestimated the degree of negative response” and the unanimity in the community against its proposals, and on the other hand, unconcerned about some of its impact on the community. For instance, Avery said, the University in May it held a graduation party at Yates field that lasted until 2 am.  “That’s just stupid,” he said referring to the negative response the party generated in the community.  Avery said that if GU really wanted to control off-campus students, it could exercise its option to suspend and expel violators.  

0 Comments For This Article


GO HOYAS!!! Did you people not know a university was there before you bought your property????
Georgetown is an amazing University,get to know them grumpy neighbors!!
I support GU expansion and I am a Georgetown homewoner!!!!!


exactly, was the university there when you bought your house? It was certainly there when I bought mine.


The quality of education provided by Georgetown University is not the issue. The issue is the quality of the expansion plan which will have negative environmental impact on the adjacent national parkland of Glover Archbold park, and negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods with increased rental housing, increased traffic, increased sound and light pollution. There are many ways in which the university can expand; the surrounding communities believe that Georgetown University should revisit the drawing board and come up with a better plan.


The better plan would be for neighbors to learn how to get along in a neighbrohood that has a prominent university. The other option is to move if you are unhappy. This whole issue is getting old and some of us Georgetown residents are tired of the complaining ones!!!!!!!

Georgetown University will be there far longer than any of us!


Were you all blind when you bought property adjacent to Georgetown University? Did you think that Georgetown was some tranquil Jesuit enclave?

How stupid can you all be? And your arguments are utter nonsense: how can a smokestack being built on Georgetown's property "invade" the neighborhood? Is the smokestack going to jump across the park? Or, tell me, how could night and weekend graduate students in working professional programs destroy the fabric of the neighborhood? Good grief, they aren't going to be living by Georgetown, they all rent in Arlington!

This is all absurd; grey-haired homeowners throwing fits the likes of which would not be tolerated by five-year olds.


Another problem is that, once again, Lenore Rubino is being dishonest with her neighbors. Property values in Burleith and elsewhere in 20007 have skyrocketed, despite national trends. She denounces rental properties for students, even though she has promoted the sale of such properties through her web site.

The anti-student hysteria is more likely to hurt the neighborhood's image than the presence of the University, of which every reasonable person is already aware.

As for the opening paragraph, well, Lenore Rubino is no Paul Revere; in fact, she has more in common with the southern segregationists, who were eager to tell others who can or cannot live in a particular neighborhood. (Keep in mind that the GU student population is more diverse than the surrounding neighborhood, so keeping students out means keeping the neighborhood white.)


A huge deterrent to would-be homeowners in Burleith is dealing with unhinged residents like Lenore Rubino. As one former Burleith resident put it:

"Complaints by our neighbors included:
– trash cans were not completely in our yard- we didn’t realize that three inches into the common alley was a nuisance- our mistake.
– the best was our immediate neighbor who banged on our wall because he couldn’t hear his own TV one afternoon. We could hear his television, but he could not. So, a call to DPS to break up the conversation of 3 people in our living room at 4 in the afternoon. Classic."

Rubino and others are promoting (or reinforcing) the belief that Burleith is a neighborhood filled with nutty activists who are undesirable as neighbors. Does anyone really think that such antics improve quality of life or increase property values?