Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

ANC Approves Proposal for New Canal Road Sign

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a proposal for a new welcome sign at a revised Canal Road entrance during a meeting Tuesday night that marked sole student commissioner Mike Glick’s (COL ’05) last ANC meeting, concluding his two years of service on the board.

Glick’s plan for a new welcome sign at the site was passed by a vote of 7-0.

The sign, a Senior Class gift from the Class of 2003, would be black in the style of an iron gate with the university seal and “Georgetown University” in gold lettering. This project would also involve the installation of a new traffic light allowing for left turns onto M Street.

The commission requested that the existing “HOYA SAXA” mural remain where it was painted because they felt it contributed to the fabric and spirit of Georgetown University. Glick said keeping the “HOYA SAXA” sign unmodified and unmoved was “a personal must.”

The commission also expressed concern about fire and safety standards for residences in Georgetown and Burleith.

David A. Clark, director of the Department for Regulatory and Consumer Affairs, encouraged tenants to recognize their rights and invite inspectors into their rented spaces to see if their buildings are up to code. He also invited students to ask or look for a building’s license, which should be posted conspicuously on the premises.

Daniel Rigby (MSB ’05) died in an October townhouse fire that fire officials said could have been prevented had the residence met fire safety standards.

ANC Commissioner John Lever said he feared that many students cannot afford to pay high expenses for rent.

“The economic model is forcing students to seek sub par housing,” Lever said. “Dan Rigby died in a basement with bars on the windows.”

Many D.C. officials have criticized the Student Housing Association – a private organization which owns area houses and leases them to students – for dangerous housing situations. The SHA had had orange signs on houses they leased discouraging student tenants from allowing inspectors into residences.

Two days after Rigby’s death, however, the DCRA had a team of inspectors visit 93 residences to examine fire exits, plumbing, electrical cords and building codes. They found 88 rental properties that did not have business licenses. According to Clark, since that date, only one house has applied for a license and residents at only 32 homes permitted the inspectors inside.

The DCRA also closed nine homes displacing 43 students after Rigby’s death Some houses have now been re-occupied though there have also been additional closures. After calls from students and parents, 10 new areas have been closed.

Clark explained that many landlords, despite public service announcements and mailings, do not know that they are required to have a basic business license because it is a relatively new requirement. Glick also expressed his concern that landlords who know that they will not pass safety standards will purposely not apply for a license.

Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Felicia Lucas encouraged residents to be more cautious as seven robberies, 15 burglaries and 57 thefts were reported to the MPD over the past month. She asked residents to be sure to close and lock doors and windows, to close blinds, to secure valuables away and to save serial numbers of laptops.

Glick said that he found the rising number of muggings troubling. “I never want Georgetown to be a place where criminals come,” he said.

In his concluding remarks, Glick said that it had been a privilege to represent the student body during his service on the ANC.

“It hasn’t always been easy,” he said. “People always ask me if I’d do it again, and I say that I certainly would.”

Glick also encouraged the commission to continue working with the university, to trust the business community and to welcome the positive resources that Georgetown students offer.

Glick represents the 2,800 residents of district 2E04, which includes the Southwest Quad, Village C, Village A and Alumni Square.

Glick’s successor, Brett Clements (COL ’07), who was elected to the Commission last month, will continue the 10 year tradition of student representation on the ANC.

Although Clements was absent at Tuesday’s meeting, he later said that his main efforts as an ANC Commissioner would be directed towards safety standards for students living in off-campus housing.

Clements said he finds “discouraging” the profit-maximizing efforts of some landlords and the reluctance of some students to request inspections in order to preserve landlord-tenant relationships and avoid eviction.

“This seriously bothers me,” Clements said. “Students and landlords alike should be making sure that safety is the number one goal.”

Clements is meeting with other ANC Commissioners, the DCRA and city officials in two weeks to discuss this issue.

“The Georgetown administration, students and larger community have come together because of the fire,” Clements said. “We need to use that momentum to effect positive and substantive changes in the current system.”

Clements also hopes to continue to support construction projects for Georgetown residents.

“I hope to advocate on behalf of the students and administration with any proposed renovations or building projects that will improve the student life and the academic programs of Georgetown,” he said.

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