GU Rebuttal Defends Campus Plan
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2012 02:01
Georgetown filed a final statement to the D.C. Zoning Commission last week defending several components of the 2010 Campus Plan and rebutting recent criticisms.
Friday was the last day the Zoning Commission would permit interested parties to submit supplemental material regarding the plan before a final ruling is released Feb. 9.
The report was in response to a December submission by the D.C. Office of Planning, which reasserted evidence that Georgetown students living off campus have a detrimental effect on quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood.
Georgetown's filing stressed that the number of 911 complaints relating to students have declined in recent years, a trend the university attributed to the increased presence of Metropolitan Police Department and Student Neighborhood Assistance Program patrols. According to the report, many 911 calls in so-called student blocks consist of activity from nearby commercial areas unrelated to students.
In their submission, OP asserted that a large percentage of homes in Foxhall, Hillandale, Burleith and West Georgetown are group houses occupied by students, claiming negative impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
The university's report argued that close to 40 percent of those homes in Burleith and over 60 percent of those in West Georgetown labeled "student addresses" by OP were not group homes but instead students living in the basement apartments of family homes.
The report claimed that such arrangements do not have the adverse effects often associated with student group houses.
The report further pointed out that the percentages in OP's filings include graduate students. According to the university, graduate students do not create the same environmental problems typically linked to undergraduate students.
"The record is clear that graduate students have little or no impact. The few graduate students that do live in the surrounding neighborhoods are rarely, if ever, the source of any noise or behavior complaints," the report reads.
Georgetown also countered complaints that the aggregate number of undergraduate students living in surrounding neighborhoods has increased in the past 10 years. According to the report, 1,199 students chose to live off campus in 2010, down from 1,342 in 2000.
It went on to add that Georgetown houses more students on campus than almost any other District university. Administrators argued that no university campus in the country houses all of its undergraduate students on campus, nor does any jurisdiction in the United States require universities to do so.
The report also reiterated Georgetown's commitment to freezing undergraduate enrollment at the rate approved in the 2000 Campus Plan.
University spokeswoman Stacy Kerr said that the report reflected Georgetown's balanced approach to addressing community and university interests and added that the university has committed to renovate the hotel in Leavey or to find additional space to house students off campus by fall 2014, earlier than previously announced.