Three new commissioners will represent the Foggy Bottom and West End communities on a locally elected board beginning in January, giving GW hope for new dialogue with the group.
Local residents Anne Savage, James Morris and Vince Micone were elected Nov. 2 to a two-year term on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, a six-member board that makes zoning recommendations to the city government. They replaced former commissioners Maria Tyler, James Lewis and GW senior Graham Long, who chose not to run for re-election.
Michael Akin, director of the Office of D.C. and Foggy Bottom/West End Affairs, said the change in the board gives GW the opportunity to foster a better relationship with the ANC members.
The commission has fought the University on most of its initiatives, including its expansion into the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, construction of new dorms and extension of Health and Wellness Center hours. The commission’s most vocal critic of GW, Dorothy Miller, won re-election on Nov. 2, defeating former Student Association President Kris Hart, who waged a write-in campaign against the six-time incumbent.
“I’m hoping that the new members will represent a fresh start,” he said. “Hopefully we will be able to work together to better our community.”
Akin said the University contacted the commissioner-elects the day following the election to try to establish a relationship with them early on.
“GW immediately reached out to all members of the ANC congratulating them on their electoral victory and affirming in the very beginning that we are committed to open dialogue,” Akin said.
Micone will represent district 2A06, which contains the core of GW’s campus. He said that while he sees the University as an asset to the community, residents have a “legitimate concern” about uncontrollable expansion. He agreed with Akin that there should be dialogue between the two groups.
“Will my style be different from other members? Quite possibly, yes,” Micone, 37, said. “My experience is that whenever possible we should try to find a common ground. If not, we can agree to disagree in a respectful manner.”
Micone has lived in the District for 15 years and decided to remain a resident after spending a semester in D.C. during his graduate studies at the University of South California. He has been living in West End apartments for about a year. He previously lived in Dupont Circle, where he chaired the local ANC for five years. He works in the U.S. Department of Justice as the assistant director of human resources.
Micone highlighted significant negotiation accomplishments achieved by the Dupont ANC under his leadership, including the approval of a local museum’s expansion project.
“We allowed the Phillips Collection to expand, which is a major undertaking where there had been division, discontent and distrust for over 20 years,” he said. “But we came together, found common ground and established a new way for the neighborhood to communicate with the Phillips Collection and the environment now is much more positive.”
Micone said there are a variety of issues that he wishes to address as a Foggy Bottom commissioner, including the construction that will take place on the former GW Hospital site off Washington Circle. In the past, the ANC has debated plans for possible commercial use of the site.
“I want to make sure that what goes in that space serves the community in the best possible way,” he said.
Savage, 34, will represent district 2A03, which includes Foggy Bottom’s historic district. She moved to D.C. 10 years ago and has lived near 25th and K streets for about a year. She said that her predecessor, Maria Tyler, served as a mentor in her decision to run for the ANC.
“I had an overwhelming sense of civic duty and after meeting with my neighbors I decided that this was for me,” Savage said.
The ANC must work with the University administration to address community members’ concerns about noise from GW students, she said.
“I absolutely think we need to have dialogue,” Savage said. “The University has created animosity on the commission because they have not kept promises they made to the community.”
Morris, 63, represents district 2A04, which includes the Watergate complex. He has been a D.C. resident for 13 years and lives in Potomac Plaza apartments on Virginia Avenue. Morris works as a senior editor of The Wilson Quarterly, a nonpartisan scholarly publication.
Morris shares the opinions of other commissioners and sees the ANC’s constant battle against the University’s expansion as the most pressing issue facing the community.