Photo by Joyride 1×1.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
This week, the Washinton Citypaper dedicated its cover article to the long drawn out campus plan issue. While the article touches on campus plans across the city, it is primarily concerned with the Georgetown campus plan. It’s definitely worth a read.
For the most part, the author of the piece, Shani O. Hilton, takes the position that you would expect the Citypaper to take, which is that Georgetown neighbors are rich (or as Hilton repeatedly put it: “affluent”, “comfortable”, “well-heeled”, “occupiers of $900,000 houses”, and “upscale”) and knew the university was there, so tough. This argument carries a lot of weight with people inclined to view this situation through the lens of the plot of Footloose. And the comments section is somewhat ripe with the choir echoing Hilton’s praisings. But it’s not a particularly novel insight and it’s an irrelevant point under the zoning laws.
But that’s only one aspect of Hilton’s generally strong article, in another part she makes this interesting observation:
Much of the recent upheaval is tied to the schools’ decennial efforts to gain required approval for mandatory 10-year campus plans—encourage an adversarial system replete with exaggerated gripes and over-the-top demands.
This is an often overlooked point. One of the main reasons this is such a drawn out process is that it only happens once every ten years. Lacking any way to meaningfully affect Georgetown’s behavior for nine years, the neighbors have an incentive to load a decade’s worth of complaints and wishes into this one shot. Once this process is done, it won’t be until 2020 that the neighbors have any leverage again. It makes the whole process unnecessarily confrontational and it gives each side credible reasons to think they’re the victim. Continue reading
Last night the Zoning Commission began its public deliberations on Georgetown University’s campus plan. While the commissioners appeared far from reaching a final decision on the plan, the contours of the discussion were well fleshed out. Watch it for yourself right here.
While all five of the commissioners attended the meeting last night, Commissioner Marcie Cohen is apparently recusing herself from the decision, so only four opinions matter. And relatively shortly into the proceeding you could begin to see where those opinions stand.
As he was throughout most of the testimony, Chairman Anthony Hood displayed a can’t-we-all-get-along attitude. He repeatedly cited the recently approved Howard University campus plan as a model. It appears that he just hopes against hope that a compromise between the school and its opponents can be reached.
Vice-Chair Konrad Schlater took the most pro-University line of the commission. Early on he cited how GU is the largest private employer in the District. Late on he made it clear that he rejected the possibility of GU housing all its students either on campus or outside the 20007 zip code. He acknowledged that a nuisance does exist from students living in the neighborhood, but he appears to believe that the campus plan is not the proper way to address those concerns. Continue reading
Tonight’s the night that the Zoning Commission finally starts to reveal its hand and move towards making a decision on the GU campus plan. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm and it’s at One Judiciary Center. Or you can just watch it from the comfort of your computer here.
The Commission may not reach agreement on all the matters in the plan, but it is likely that tonight’s meeting will give the public a good sense for where the commission will end up.
The public is not allowed to speak tonight, but if you’re really into this issue and want to show support for your respective side, you ought to get down there.
Photo by Focused Until Successful.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
To assist in the necessary redistricting of the ANCs, the city released a raft of data. All of the source data is from the Census and was released a while ago. In fact, GM already has had his say on the implications of the new data. But the city has put it all in one handy place. And the data confirms that ANC2E will need to add a new commissioner.
Here are the final pre-redistricting populations (GM had it a little off in his earlier post due to misestimating the dorm populations):
While GM had the individual districts a little off, the overall numbers were right. Under the law, each district (called an “SMD”) needs to have 2,000 residents, plus or minus 100. The Georgetown districts currently average 2,352, which means it’s impossible to redistribute the population amongst them in such a way to have them all below 2100.
The City added approximately 30,000 residents since 2000. So it should be adding approximately 15 ANC commissioners across the city, including one for ANC2E (which added the ninth most new residents of any ANC).
Where to put it? With so much of the population concentrated on the campus, the focus needs to start there. GM’s suggested that simply adding another “student only” district is one option. According to the Census (which is the only count that matters) there are 3,900 residents behind the gates, so they could easily fill two districts. The other districts could easily shift around to get them up or down to the right level.