Campus Plan hearing begins today

April 14, 2011

More than a year’s worth of debates and negotiations will crest Thursday, when the D.C. Zoning Commission will hold its first hearing about the University’s 2010 Campus Plan.

University President John DeGioia, Provost James O’Donnell, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, as well as traffic and economic development consultants hired by Georgetown will testify at the hearing.

However, community leaders and elected officials from Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission will not testify, due to an eleventh-hour request filed by ANC commissioners and the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown to delay their testimony. By delaying the community testimony, residents will have “ample opportunity to express their views,” according to D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who supported the delay with Councilmember Mary Cheh.

After the University filed pre-hearing changes in late March, including plans to add 250 beds on campus or a satellite location, the D.C. Office of Planning announced it would release a revised analysis and testify on May 12.

The order of presentation at the hearing will not change despite the delay and the community testimony will be held after the Office of Planning and DDOT’s presentations.

Nonetheless, the turnout tomorrow is expected to be high. Student advocacy group DC Students Speak, with funding from the Georgetown University Student Association, will provide free shuttle service to the hearing. At later hearings, DCSS plans to present student testimonies to the Zoning Commission.

“We’re really trying to get students to attend because we think it will show the Zoning Commission that the stakeholders are not only the small, vocal group residents opposed to the Campus Plan, but also the students of the University,” DCSS member Alykhan Merali (SFS ‘13) said. “Our presence will set the tone for the rest of the meetings.”

Last night, Burleith Citizens’ Association President Lenore Rubino also announced plans to arrange car pools for residents to attend.

University officials, who have no plans to alter their presentation, are eager to start to the hearing process.

“We look forward to the hearing and will be ready and happy to have it go forward as scheduled,” O’Donnell wrote in an email. “We have a good story to tell.”

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