Georgetown's 10-year town-gown ritual
It's that time of the decade again: Georgetown University is about to submit its newest 10-year plan to the D.C. Zoning Commission. This has become almost a ritual in Georgetown as the university presents plans, the neighbors object, the university changes the plans, the neighbors are still not satisfied, the university submits the plans anyway, they get approved, nine years go by and the process starts all over again.
This decennial rite offers residents an opportunity to unleash 10 years of frustration at the university. What do those frustrations stem from? Primarily the hundreds of GU students who live off-campus in houses mostly in the western portion of Georgetown and in Burleith. Residents complain of noise, trash and parking shortages, and that's when they're not blaming the students for poor weather, the price of gas or the fact that their tennis elbow has flared up.
I'm joking, of course, but the accusations and recriminations do get out of hand. For instance, in order to get some peace and quiet, a Burleith resident started a blog that vaguely threatened the future employability of Georgetown students by publishing pictures of them ostensibly drunk and in his alleyway. Some anonymous commenter apparently threatened him, and the cops were called in to investigate.
Like the blog itself, this anonymous threat was not helping anyone. Nor was it helpful when a Georgetown resident joked during a meeting of the Citizens Association of Georgetown that residents ought to shoot students for parking their cars on public streets. He was applauded, by the way. Of course, that tastelessness is nothing compared with what you'll find on GU student blogs on the topic (or what is shouted by young drunken lungs at 3 a.m. on Prospect Street).
So what do you think? Do the residents have no one to blame but themselves for moving next to a university? Or is the university being a bad neighbor by growing too dramatically and not making a stronger effort to mitigate the school's effect on Georgetown residents' quality of life?
| May 21, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: D.C., Georgetown, HotTopic, Local blog network
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