ANC Slams GU Campus Plan in Draft Zoning Commission Document
ANC2E comes down firmly opposed to expansion plans by Georgetown University in a draft document released Wednesday.
Georgetown's Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC2E) takes a strong stance against the proposed Georgetown University (GU) 2010-2020 Campus Plan in a draft document posted to the ANC website Wednesday. The document lays out a case for the community's fierce opposition to the GU plan, detailing problems caused by the previous plan's failures and offering recommendations for improvements and changes by the University. The key points include reducing the number of students living off campus and better managing student behavior when in the community.
The Zoning Commission (ZC) will consider the University's proposed plan during a series of hearings, beginning April 14. The community is appealing to the ZC through a regulation that says campus plans should not be “likely to become objectionable to neighboring property.” Zoning Regulations section 210.2. The ANC writes in this draft report that the plan, as currently proposed, is "essentially certain" to be objectionable.
The ANC says the unsustainable numbers of students living in the community, partnered with their impact on the congestion, quiet and cleanliness of the community, could put "the stable, engaged community...at serious risk" of "becoming a rental property student enclave."
One of the main sticking points for the community and the ANC is the student enrollment at the University. According to the ANC, the University used loopholes to expand the student population, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, despite statements that the population would not increase beyond 10,000 students. According to the ANC, the current student body population is 14,000. The University in the new plan offers to cap enrollment at 16,000.
The ANC repeatedly references previous statements by the ZC and the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in which they "determined 10 years ago that there were too few GU undergraduate students living on campus and far too many living in and disrupting the neighborhood." If the zoning agencies took issue before, the ANC reasons, they should be even more alarmed this time around.
The ANC proposed a limit on off-campus housing and proposes that enrollment "caps may and should be set at levels lower than current enrollment." The community also suggests that an independent auditing firm provide annual reports on the University's compliance with any caps imposed.
The ANC also asks the ZC to have the University reconsider and improve its system for addressing off-campus conduct by students. The recommendation is for the University to consider the principle used by Georgetown Washington University, "if noise can be heard beyond the property line of an off-campus student residence, the activity is too noisy."
If the University fails to appropriately mitigate and address the adverse affects of students in off-campus area, the ANC suggests that the Zoning Commission, "impose much stricter enrollment caps and take other measures to alleviate the problem."
Other issues discussed in the recommendations include transportation management, changes to Kehoe Field and future plans for the MedStar Hospital. See the attached PDF to read more for yourself.
Jennifer Altemus, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, said about the ANC's findings and recommendations, "We are in complete agreement with the ANC on this. We must have more students housed on campus or in a satellite campus. We hope that OP and the ZC give this report "great weight" when the time comes."
Want to learn more? Check out our Who's Who of the GU Campus Plan.