Last night’s Zoning Commission public meeting on the Georgetown campus plan—which I’ve been reporting on for a longer piece that’ll be in the paper—was remarkably short. The last Georgetown hearing I went to lasted nearly five hours. Yesterday’s ran from 6:30 until about 8:45 p.m.
But the shortness of the meeting was a bad sign—at least for the neighbors who oppose the plan. Chairman Anthony Hood ended the meeting with a decision to wait to see if Georgetown’s suite of programs (noise/party patrols, trash pick-up, paying MPD officers to stick close to campus on weekends, etc.) designed to mitigate, well, the existence of students living in Burleith and West Georgetown are actually working. In mid-April, the university and its neighbors will submit their own assessments of how terrible (or not terrible) the student presence in the neighborhoods is. On May 10, the commission will hold another meeting to discuss the issues they weren’t able to reconcile last night: Enrollment, housing, and off-campus student behavior.
“They just keep kicking the can down the road,” Christopher Clements, president of the campus plan-opposing Burleith Citizen’s Association, told me with a shrug. “Really, we’re at a point where we just want a decision.” Another neighbor added, “I’m a bit disappointed in them.”
And really, the winner here seems to be Georgetown. The commissioners made it clear they were uncomfortable with the Office of Planning’s fall recommendation that the university house all of its students on campus or outside of the 20007 zip code. And that’s the solution that all the nearby neighbors I’ve talked to are endorsing. But it’s incredibly unlikely they’re going to get it. Right now the commission seems to be giving Georgetown a “help me help you” moment.
Photo by Kevin H. via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License