We’ve noted here before the warlike nature of the relationship between Georgetown University and its neighbors (students are like terrorists: If you see one, there must be 10 others hiding in the bushes). If the upcoming Zoning Commission hearings are like truce negotiations, then Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E’s recommendations regarding the University’s 10-year campus plan are a roadmap to peace through strength.
Basically, the neighbors want to seal all evidence of student presence either on M Street or inside the campus gates, protecting quiet streets from noise and unsightly student rentals. The problems of cacophony and crowding have gotten intolerable, they say, as a result of Georgetown’s failure to keep a lid on its student population since the last 10-year campus plan. And the stakes are high! “If these problems continue unrelieved,” the report reads, “the stable, engaged community we cherish—and that the D.C. zoning rules are designed to encourage—is at serious risk of being lost and becoming a rental student enclave because of what GU is doing.”
In order to avoid that dark future, the Commission recommends sanctions:
- New enrollment caps should be set lower than the current student population, in order to remedy past injustices.
- Limits must be imposed on the number of students living off-campus, with further enrollment decreases if those limits are not met.
- Magis Row on 36th Street should revert from undergraduate housing to accommodations for older faculty.
- The University should not be permitted to acquire more property in zip code 20007 without approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
- University and Hospital buses should not be allowed to go through the neighborhoods, but rather enter and exit the campus via Canal Road only.
- Students who commute to Georgetown by car should not be allowed to park in the surrounding neighborhood.
- Georgetown should create a shuttle system to ferry students from M Street bars back to campus on weekend nights.
- Georgetown must develop strong measures to address off-campus student conduct, treating parties outside the university gates, for example, as strictly as those inside it.
Arbitrate that, Zoning Commission!