The Issue: Spring fever calls for lawn chairs and late nights swiggin’ bottles on the front porch. As Georgetown University boosts enrollment and on-campus housing tightens, more students are spilling into single-family homes in Burleith and west Georgetown. In response to resident complaints over student partying and noise, GU began the Student Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2000.
Seems that’s not enough. The Burleith Citizens Association (BCA) has set up an e-mail database to track complaints of unruly students, reports the Georgetown Voice. Residents should call 911, in addition to SNAP, to report all noise complaints, says BCA. “We have found that many times, SNAP is not effective,” BCA writes in a listserv announcing the new process. In addition, residents should document the matter by sending an e-mail with the address, time, and description of incidences—photographs and videos are welcome–enabling the community to keep a historical record.
Overreacting?: Some student residents fear historical documentation is excessive on the BCA’s part. “I’m calling MPD next time I hear a baby or kid scream in the house next to mine,” writes Joelle Van Dyne. Others fear new tenants will be blacklisted because former tenants were rowdy. “If they don’t purge the list every year, then 123 Reservoir might stay on the list, even if the person living there in September is different than whoever lived there in May,” writes Doug. Besides, when you move to Burleith, you know you’re going to live alongside college students. “…living close to a University comes with features that may not be attractive to residents outside the University community. Decide to relocate. Go back to sleep and and awaken the next morning with a newfound sense of purpose,” writes All of the above.
Just Tryin’ to Sleep: But a database is nothing new, says BCA president Lenore Rubino. Residents have long sent records of disturbances directly to Rubino’s e-mail—BCA now just has a separate account. “We want to keep track of it, so we can make sure that MPD is doing what they’re supposed to be doing—it’s not about a partying house,” Rubino says. SNAP hasn’t always been effective in responding to complaints and shutting parties down, she adds. MPD is more so, and police have to file an incident report. If a house is a chronic problem, those police reports, backed by the BCA email database, enable residents to more easily go to DCRA to declare it a nuisance property, according to Rubino. Burleith homes are in close quarters “so your noise has greater impact than in your mommy’s hood. If you disturb the peace at 2 a.m., why not face the consequences?” writes Burleith resident.
What’s Next: The database has been operational since Friday. The battle between residents longing for sleep and students partyin’ out the college years lives on.
Photo by JacobEnos, Creative Commons Attribution License