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ANC criticizes Campus Plan, proposes enrollment cap
As the D.C. Office of Planning prepares its report on Georgetown’s 2010 Campus Plan for the city’s Zoning Commission, Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Council has put forward a draft of its own positions to be considered at next Monday’s ANC meeting. The draft of recommendations, which will form the basis of the ANC’s report to the Zoning Commission, contains significant criticisms of both the plan and current University policies.
“The GU plan as proposed would have serious adverse effects on the community and would be highly objectionable,” the report, which was prepared by ANC Chairman Ron Lewis, said.
The ANC’s proposed recommendations to the Zoning Commission include requiring the University to cap both overall enrollment and enrollment among particular programs, such as the Medical School. It also suggested that students should be counted using a Full Time Equivalent system, which counts students based on credit-hours to prevent manipulation of enrollment rates.
“A head count system doesn’t really give you the accuracy that Full Time Equivalent does,” Lewis said.
Whatever recommendations ANC commissioners vote to support will ultimately be considered by the Zoning Commission, along with the Office of Planning’s report, which is due the week before the Zoning Commission’s Apr. 14 hearing.
The document also identifies problems with off-campus student conduct, transportation issues, and the growth in student enrollment over the past decade as some of the ANC’s primary objections to University plans and policies.
Lewis consulted a variety of sources while preparing the report.
“I talked to every commissioner,” he said, adding that he also sought input from residents and the University.
ANC Treasurer Ed Solomon echoed Lewis, saying that the proposal was a collective effort of the commission.
“I think [it is] pretty obvious the ANC was involved in putting together the proposal,” Solomon said. “I couldn’t tell you which commissioners spent more or less time working on the proposal.”
However, student Commissioner Jake Sticka (COL ’13) said that he was not closely involved in the production of the report.
“[Lewis] provided it to me via email sometime mid-afternoon yesterday and I got the chance to look at it,” Sticka said. “It is mostly Ron’s draft though … I think the majority of the commission supports it.”
The draft proposal also critiques the growth of enrollment and off-campus student housing after the University’s adoption of the 2000 Campus Plan and subsequent construction of the Southwest Quad.
According to the draft, the 2000 plan projected that student enrollment would be capped at 10,000 students, and the construction of the Southwest Quad would ultimately reduce the number of undergraduates living off-campus. However, it notes that University enrollment has increased to more than 14,000 students and that the number of off-campus undergraduates has allegedly increased.
“Simply put, because of how GU has conducted itself, our community is over-saturated with GU’s ever-expanding numbers of students, and the situation, unless remedied, will only get worse,” the report claimed.
The report raises a number of other issues with the Campus Plan, including concerns about the location of Georgetown University Hospital’s planned expansion and the proposed enclosure of Kehoe Field. Most significantly, the proposal criticizes current University transportation policies relating to Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle buses and off-campus parking.
The report condemned the University’s perceived reliance on residential streets for student parking and GUTS bus routes. Unlike Metro buses, Lewis argued, GUTS buses do not provide a service to the neighborhood.
“The only reason the Metro buses are on [residential] streets is that they serve stops along those roads, which are very valuable to the community,” he said.
The critiques and recommendations within the report will be debated next Monday at the ANC’s public meeting. Although citizens can write to their commissioners, Lewis said, only University officials and a handful of “civic groups” will be invited to raise comments at the meeting.
“We really did solicit the community’s views very extensively over the past year and a half, including at the meeting on [Jan. 20],” he said.
Although Sticka opposes many parts of the ANC’s report, he believes it will ultimately pass.
“I do not support it,” he said. “I will not be voting with the majority of the commission.”