ANC Report: Airbnb; Yarrow Marmout
The Georgetown–Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E held its July meeting June 29 to discuss, among other things, home rentals and the city’s archaeological survey of 3324 Dent Place NW, the lot on which freed slave Yarrow Marmout lived.
On home rentals, the commission touched on both short- and long-term rentals with regard to Airbnb “party houses” and Georgetown University student rentals, respectively. D.C. Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs acting director Melissa Bolling appeared at the meeting to talk about both issues.
Commissioner Tom Birch raised a number of concerns that Georgetowners have about short-term rentals, including their use as “party houses.” Despite legal issues surrounding Airbnb rentals in D.C., Bolling said her agency can only flag problem houses based on complaints related to excessive noise or other problems. She noted that DCRA is considering new rules on short-term rentals akin to those the D.C. Taxi Commission have considered regarding Uber.
On off-campus student housing, Bolling said that DCRA wants properties rented out by GU students “in the system” in order to make sure the dwellings are safe, inspected and licensed to be rented. She said DCRA will be conducting “surprise” inspections this summer to further that goal.
Also at the meeting, Ruth Trocolli, the D.C.’s chief archaeologist, gave an update on the dig underway at the Yarrow Marmout lot on Dent Place. She and field director Mia Carey have high hopes that the dig will uncover artifacts that will shine a light on Marmout and Georgetown’s African American history more broadly.
Marmout, who was taken from Guinea and enslaved, was educated and became a successful merchant in town. His life was recounted in the book, “From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family.”
To support the project, contact the D.C. Preservation League to donate towards its goal of raising $7,000. According to the league, “This project is being conducted by the D.C. Historic Preservation Office with the assistance of student and community volunteers. The funds will be used to conduct remote sensing of the site, hire a professional earth moving team to remove fill and to purchase necessary supplies to complete the project.”