The letter "Georgetown Must Be Saved" {Dec. 29} exuded the naivete' of one who would condemn a locale of our nation's capital to obsolescent stagnation. I quote: "Unfortunately, . . . a number of the commission {of Fine Arts} members who should know better stated that Georgetown residents should realize that they 'must accommodate the needs of the developers.' " The writer commented, "This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. The 'needs' of the developers don't exist. What they 'want' is fed by avaricious greed and nothing else."

What could be more ridiculous than stating that developers have no needs, that their wants are motivated solely by avariciousness? Of course developers -- like others of us -- have needs. Obviously, the correspondent presumes all developers to be money-grubbing predators on archaic communities and blindly assumes that Georgetown's current status is adequate.

The truth is the opposite. Georgetown is sorely in need of venturesome planners with the foresight to guide it into the next century as a place where people can live, worship, learn, and carry on commerce safely and efficiently -- though mindful that it is a historic district of Washington. Any perusal of current local newspapers will disclose that today's Georgetown is fraught with urban problems. Traffic congestion, street crime, inadequate parking, rowdyism, use of and trade in illegal substances -- these are but a few of its degrading elements.

I would remind the letter writer that Georgetown found its beginnings in a remote, brawling port city just up river from what was then one of the largest seaports on our fledgling East Coast -- Alexandria -- and that Georgetown's initial growth and prosperity were due, in large part, to its support of waterway commerce.

Times change, people change, needs change. Consequently, by the end of the 1920s, Georgetown had become little more than a decadent terminal on an unused canal -- the Chesapeake and Ohio.

Older residents of Georgetown remember that their community's current stature is the fruition of an idea pursued by Eleanor Roosevelt, whose efforts elevated it from an urban slum to a desirable residential neighborhood -- a reputation it justly enjoyed from the end of World War II to the late 1970s.

And that effort was splendidly aided and abetted by developers.

In the past decade, Georgetown has rapidly been slipping into a condition similar to one in which it found itself 65 years ago. The time is ripe for its citizens to follow Mrs. Roosevelt's example by expressing their needs to developers and joining them in planning its future. The cost will be no more than and no less than whatever it may be worth to Georgetown's residents and their heirs. -- Gerald S. Collins