Evans supports Burleith against GU, but...

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
Our Homes, Not GU Dorms sign expressed the sentiment at BCA meeting
Our Homes, Not GU Dorms sign expressed the sentiment at BCA meeting

Councilmember Jack Evans’ visit to the annual Burleith Citizens Association was advertised by the community as something different – a defining moment when the councilmember would be asked directly and forcefully to support Burleith’s opposition to Georgetown University’s expansion plan, most notably GU's desire to add more students without an equivalent amount of university-related housing to prevent further conversion to group-home rentals in Burleith.  

Evans, chair of the finance committee and the Council’s most senior member, opened with a lucid presentation on the District’s overall bleak financial prospects. 
 

Lenore Rubino, president of the association, introduces the GU expansion controversy. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Lenore Rubino, president of the association, introduces the GU expansion controversy.

However, as expected, the first question, from a 32-year resident, was about GU’s expansion plan.  Did he “oppose” GU's planned increase? "I do,” Evans emphatically replied, quickly adding that the “City Council doesn’t have a role” in these land-use questions. He directed the community to the D.C. Zoning Commission and the Office of Planning in the executive branch.
 
Despite further questions and requests for help, Evans also said he
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans addresses his Burleith constituents in the Duke Ellington Cafeteria (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans addresses his Burleith constituents in the Duke Ellington Cafeteria
would not testify or write to the Commission (because “that’s all I would be doing”), that he has little influence over the three council-confirmed Commission members and would not introduce legislation on the plan. Evans also said he would not vote against GU’s request for $90 million in tax-exempt bonds. This is because when he did vote against a similar request for the American Red Cross, he heard many protests, including from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. “I’m me and I want to keep that program [and] the feds will just take it over,” he said.
 
One person did support GU, saying he expected to be “stoned to death” for his stand.  However, the overwhelming sentiment among the 50+ attendees in the Duke Ellington High School cafeteria was against the University's plan. Evans, however, stuck to his position: ”I wish I could solve your problem….this is just the way our government is set up," though he reiterated his opposition to GU’s planned 85-foot smokestack.
  
Ed Solomon, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Burleith who introduced Evans, also said he was against the GU plan.  “As it stands now, I can’t support it.”
 
 

0 Comments For This Article

Anonymous

Councilmember Evans' statements at the meeting were extremely inconsistent. On the one hand, he adamantly opposes the proposed GU Smokestack. He even joked about blocking the construction equipment to prohibit Georgetown U from building it. YET ON THE OTHER HAND, he basically told the concerned residents who pay taxes and reside in Burleith that he can't help. Again, it came as inconsistent, unpolished, and, dare I say, LAZY.

I was, however, impressed that he briefed those in attendence on the fiscal matters facing the District. I feel confident that he not only has a firm grasp on those issues but seems passionate about the budget.

That said, since the District's finances are an issue, why not have DCRA generate some revenue and impose fines for landlords who rent w/o a license? Many (but not all) of these guys operate without proper business licenses, pack 5-6 renters to a house, and mock us all the way to the bank...

Don't misunderstand me - this isn't an attack on GU students or the young professionals who rent in Burleith.