Residents of the 1500 block of 32nd Street had some unwelcome summer visitors in the form of rats burrowing in their backyards and feasting at night at (3217 P St., NW).
The open and overflowing trash containers at Marvelous Market have been the subject of much frustration among 32nd Street residents, who say they have never had a rat problem previously. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner called the rat situation a "serious infestation."
Tom Birch said he first learned of the "horror of these rats" six weeks ago to a month ago and has been working with the community, the business and District agencies to address the problem.
According to Birch, a tree with low-hanging branches near the dumpsters gave the rats a "trapeze point of entry" to a source of food. It "made an easy way for rats to crawl up and crawl across the branches and then just drop down into the bin," he said. The tree was recently trimmed, but Birch said more needs to be done.
Theodore Boone, who lived in and now owns a rental property on 32nd Street, said he spent nearly $4,000 this summer on bate, traps and a new fence to keep the rats out.
"Marvelous Market was sloughing off the neighbors for way too long," criticized ANC Commission Ron Lewis. "I have been astounded at the slowness, frankly, of the response."
Shawn O’Quinn, a senior vice president at Marvelous Market owner Thompson Hospitality, attended the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Tuesday to apologize for the cafe's slow response.
"We agree wholeheartedly that we can do everything we can to help protect the community and keep our trash locked up and more secure," said O'Quinn.
The company is replacing the existing cans, which have plastic lids, with new lock-able cans with steel lids. They have also installed a power compactor and a cardboard baler to keep food more secure and less likely to spill out of disposal bins.
"What you described sounds like a pretty good response. And you know we're going to watch it carefully," said Lewis.