ANC Hurls 15-Point Verdict at G.U. 10-Year Plan
Georgetown's advisory neighborhood commission (ANC2E) approved, six to one, a resolution that opposes Georgetown University's 2010-2020 campus plan and adds 15 recommendations of its own at a Feb. 28 meeting. The resolution, which has no legal binding but does have influence, has been sent to DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment, which has the power to amend the university's plans. The ANC's resolution underscores the sour state of Georgetown's town-gown relationship. "The context for examining the current proposed campus plan begins with G.U.’s severe adverse community impacts over the past 10 years," the ANC wrote. "In a nutshell, G.U. has conducted itself so that what was supposed to happen over the past 10 years – a steep reduction in undergraduates living off-campus and in adverse community impacts – demonstrably did not happen. In fact, the situation that was considered objectionable by the BZA 10 years ago has become worse." The commission went on to state: "G.U.’s conduct-enforcement measures are loophole-strewn, sporadic and demonstrably inadequate. Inexplicably, G.U.’s own conduct rules are considerably more lax for students living in off-campus housing than they are for students living on-campus, a disparity that only encourages the disruptive off-campus situation we are experiencing. While G.U. touts its 'new' enhanced enforcement, the fact is that all of the measures it cites except one (the off-campus 'contract') are already in place – and they do not work." Many of the recommendations hit upon students' presence in the neighborhood, whether living off-campus, boisterously returning to the campus from the M Street bars, or taking up parking spaces on residential streets during the day. A cap on enrollment and off-campus housing was advocated, as was satellite parking; and any additional land purchases in zip code 20007 would have to be approved by the community. Shuttle buses are also recommended so that students do not walk through neighborhood streets in the wee hours, disturbing the peace. Top neighborhood leaders spoke at the meeting. Jennifer Altemus, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, said, "We cannot continue to live like this. The viability of Georgetown and Burleith as residential communities is being threatened." Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association, added, “G.U. has behaved like a stealthy corporate Goliath." Linda Greenan, the university's associate vice president for external relations, defending the proposals as a "very modest plan," said, "We are disappointed that after two years we couldn't come to an agreement with the community." She then added that the university would not put a cap on its students living off-campus: "Our students have a right to live in the community." A student newspaper, The Hoya, ran an editorial on the resolution, headlined "ANC Proposals Beyond Reason." ANC3D – Foxhall Road and MacArthur Boulevard and northward from the campus – also voted against the plan at its March 2 meeting. The Foxhall Community Citizens Association will meet March 16 at Hardy Recreation Center to discuss the plan. BZA hearings are set for April 14, May 12 and May 16.
Visit ANC2E.com to download the PDF to read the full resolution.