Organiza.gif (1182 bytes)

Home     Organizations

Forward to November 1999 Federation NewsBack to Federation of Citizens Associations home pageBack to September 1999 Federation News

Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 5, Issue 2, October 1999
3710 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-5164 phone/fax

Call to Action Issue: Housekeeping and Other Issues
October Election Results
Federation Delegates in the News
University Expansion Plans: Need for Council Action
Needed: Federation Volunteers for DC Boards and Commissions
Federation Quarterly Luncheon Coming Up
The DCRA’s (Somewhat) New “Neighborhood Stabilization Program”
Future Federation Assembly Meeting Dates

7:00 p.m.

Welcoming of New Associations

Member Association Statements of Concern

Other Business

The Charles Sumner School
1201 Seventeenth Street, N. W. (at M)

Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)


As is usual when Federation Officers and Board Members change, changes in style and emphasis of the newsletter occur. This second 1999 issue of the Newsletter will focus on organizational issues and intentions for the upcoming year. As the Federation approaches its new and 90th year, we need to regularize some of our approaches to doing business and better conform to the definitions within our Constitution. For example, in the interests of organizational health as well as efficiency, one of the first items of the new agenda will be the reactivation of the standing committees enumerated in the Constitution. These committees (1) provide an opportunity for detailed analysis of current relevant issues and offering recommendations and comments, (2) report normally at Federation Assembly meetings, thereby giving the assembly directly the benefits of their deliberations, and (3) afford a good opportunity to get to know fellow committee member delegates and appreciate their positions and motivations.

Another and exciting item on the new agenda will be the finalization and putting into place of the Federation's Legal Defense Foundation. More about this later in this issue.

Back to top of page


Just about every member organization flocked to the September 29 election meeting and voted for choices for Federation Officers (5) and Board Members (10). In a welcome departure from past custom, several delegates competed for the same offices and ran brisk campaigns. Gentlemanly (ladylike), elections in the past revolved around an "official" slate of candidates, chiefly to ensure that 15 good and qualified delegates were willing to comprise a full Board of Directors.

This year's element of competition is a sign of organizational health, and is bound to be repeated in the future. The venerable Federation is well and elastically able to accommodate, or at least consider, all personality configurations and points of view.

The new officers and Board members for 1999-2000 are:

President, Guy Gwynne of Burleith
First Vice President, A.L. Wheeler, Esq. of Oldest Inhabitants
Second Vice President, M.R. Peggy Snyder, Esq. of Hillandale
Secretary, Open at this writing
Treasurer, Dr. Marc Weiss of Southwest Neighborhood Assembly

Board Members

Patrick H. Allen, Esq. of Citizens Association
Gracie V. Baten of Shepherd Park
Rhoma Battle of Penn Branch
Allen E. Beach of Chevy Chase
Larry Chatman of Sixteenth Street Heights
Buck Clarke of Cardozo-Shaw
Dino J. Drudi of Michigan Park
Kay A. Eckles of Residential Action Coalition
Lois Forster of Cleveland Park
Alice F. Stewart of Palisades

Back to top of page


Two delegates, Dorothy Brizill of Columbia Heights and Dr. Marc Weiss of Southwest Neighborhood Assembly were featured prominently in the October 4 Washington Times: Ms. Brizill with a major article on D.C. management practices, and Dr. Weiss was featured in connection with the development of the Southwest quadrant.

Foggy Bottom President and Delegate Ellie Becker and others mounted a large and active campaign to warn against and prevent reciting of the George Washington University Hospital closer to the residential area. It was well covered by most TV stations on October 10.

Shepherd Park Delegate Gracie Baten appeared on TV Channel 5's upbeat Neighborhood News program on October 13. This a.m. segment features community affairs and concerns. Ms. Baten discussed area matters. New Federation member Crestwood Association is in the same part of town.

Palisades Delegate and former President Penny Pagano, Foxhall Delegate (and former President) Scott Polk, Columbia Plaza Delegate Dorothy Miller and a number of others appeared on several news shows in connection with morning leafleting of traffic on Canal Road and MacArthur Boulevard. The continuing leafleting is aimed at preventing a proposed major new Georgetown University two-way entrance on Canal Road and installation of a new, additional stoplight.

Back to top of page


Whether coincidental or not, four of the District's seven universities have launched expansion projects that seem certain to impact negatively on their surrounding residential communities. Georgetown University will try to raise its non-housed enrollment by 500; George Washington University is attempting to build a major new hospital closer to residential areas; Mount Vernon College (recently acquired by GWU) on Foxhall Road has reportedly made plans to enlarge its enrollment in a major way and reconfigure elements of its campus; and Catholic University has announced plans to double its freshman enrollment with no corresponding plans to house the additional students on its campus.

In the case of student enrollment expansion without on-campus housing, the upshot is that the additional numbers are pushed into the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Among predictable problems that stem from such influxes of young freshmen group-renters into family and small business communities have been:

  • unreasonable noise
  • creating and scattering of increased amounts of garbage and trash
  • parking problems
  • dilution of resident taxpayer voting impact
  • creation of an element of rental landlords that buy up houses and pack them with students
  • reduced property values as the number of students increases
  • taxpayer flight from the city

At bottom of mounting D.C. problems with its universities are twofold: Lack of enforcement of existing regulations and laws, and failure to set forth clearly reasonable parameters for in-town institutions and their community impact.

DCMR 11 (Zoning) Section 210.2 states clearly, "Use as a college or university shall be located so that it is not likely to become objectionable to neighboring property because of noise, traffic, number of students, or other objectionable conditions." Section 210.3 provides, "... it is the intent of this subsection to prevent unreasonable campus expansion into improved low-density districts." To date, these clear regulations have been observed in the breach, particularly by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

A growing school of thought is that the city has progressed under new leadership to the point where responsible (as distinguished from ignored, laissez-faire) regulation may be applied to the District's colleges and their community impact. The most obvious remedy is to enforce existing zoning regulations on likely institutional impact and on residential-area rental housing. A next step will be to make campus plans contractual and enforceable. These campus plans are currently little more than statements of momentary intention, from which to depart at will. These will be the first initial steps and they will comprise a good beginning.

Back to top of page


Many of us in the past have had to appear before District government boards and commissions and have been disappointed with the quality of performance of board members and commissioners. Most of these positions are unpaid and are filled by persons who, for whatever reasons good or bad, are willing to take the time and trouble to help make the city function by deciding disputes and other matters. The positions range from Election Board member to Solid Waste commissioner and from Board of Zoning Adjustment member to Historical Review Board member to even more interesting mayoral assignments. There are virtually always openings.

The city does not need specialized or supereducated individuals to fill these openings, but rather, normal, educated and committed volunteers who are willing to serve: people such as, well, Federation delegates.

Future newsletters will carry some of the more interesting vacant positions on the boards and commissions along with information on how to apply for them. We already have an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) commissioner in the Federation, and past president Barbara Zartman was in the final running for membership on the Zoning Commission. Any delegate could be next. Let's try, for everyone's good.

Back to top of page


Depending on an available suitable reservation date, the Federation will hold its next quarterly luncheon at the elegant Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Retired) Club mansion at 1 8th and F Streets, N.W. in December.

This will be an-optimal opportunity for both veteran and new delegates to meet one another in an unstructured setting at a central downtown location. These luncheons are one of the Federation's most pleasant activities, and all delegates and alternates are invited to participate.

Back to top of page


Rather talked up and little about is the new Neighborhood Stabilization Program of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Basically, the newish plan assigns a DCRA inspector geographically to physical neighborhoods within 28 Service Areas. The main purpose of the arrangement is to enable housing/zoning inspectors to familiarize themselves as thoroughly as possible with a particular city area in order to boost efficient inspection and, hopefully, to afford areas both better housing and zoning inspection and better access, through the inspectors, to other, non- DCRA agencies. To date, the jury is out as to the success of the program.

All delegates' neighborhoods come within the program, defined both by area street boundaries and by census tracts. For instance, Service Area XI, Western Sector is bounded by "Southwest to Rhode Island Avenue, from 7th Street, N.W. to 16th Street, N.W.; north on 16th to Spring Road, N.W.; Spring Road, east to New Hampshire Avenue to Georgia Avenue; south on Georgia Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue." The inspector for this area is Mr. Joseph Lewis, pager number (202) 666-7193, telephone number (202) 727- 7271. "The Service Area includes 12 Census Tracts 28.1,28.2,29;30,31,35,36,37;43,44,45, and 52.1."

A suggested idea is to review the DCRA publication Pattern of Staff Deployment by Service Area, ascertain particular service area boundaries and the assigned inspector, and invite "your" inspector for a walk through the neighborhood, accompanied by the pertinent community association and/or Federation representatives. The inspector should write down reported infractions and do something about them. He/she should also keep track of just what action, if any, has been taken and be ready to report to the association or Federation representatives exactly what he has done or caused to be done — in writing, if requested.

We owe it to DCRA to give this initiative a chance. If it is successful, excellent. If it is not successful and is merely a spotty or otherwise unsatisfactory inspection, then the Federation will take this up with DCRA senior management and Councilwoman Sharon Ambrose's DCRA oversight committee. The Federation has made one major representation to Mrs. Ambrose already, and her committee is following the DCRA inspection program.

DCRA Neighborhood Stabilization Program "Pattern of Staff Deployment by Service Area" printed releases will be available for all delegates at the Tuesday, October 26 meeting.

Back to top of page

Future Federation Assembly Meeting Dates

The Sumner School has reserved the following dates for the Federation's Assembly meetings. Each will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the School and Museum, which is at 1201 Seventeenth Street, at the corner of M Street, N.W.

Tuesday, October 26
Tuesday, November 23
Tuesday, January 25
Tuesday, February 22
Tuesday, March 28
Tuesday, April 25
Tuesday, May 23
Tuesday, June 27

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)