Evans and Altemus respond negatively to proposed Campus Plan

Unsurprising to anyone who has followed Georgetown University’s 2010 Campus Plan—which the University officially filed last week—the Citizens Association of Georgetown and D.C. Councilman Jack Evans have come out against the proposal.

In a press release, Evans said he was “disappointed to learn that the University’s proposed campus plan does not include any significant action to move more undergraduate students onto the main campus.”

He did, however, praise the University for dropping the proposed 1789 block and the chimney extension from the plan.

Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88), president of the CAG, released a much more critical statement regarding the plan.

“The plan is disappointing in that it proposes no new student housing,” Altemus wrote. The University dropped the 1789 block plan, a proposal that would have created student housing, but was opposed by the CAG because it fell outside of the defined campus area of the University.

The association still believes that the University has not listened to their opinions, despite the University dropping the 1789 block plan and the chimney extension in an effort to meet neighborhood concerns.

“While the omission of these initiatives is recognized, no progress has been made on the community’s principal demand that the University move a substantial number of students back on campus or house them in a satellite campus,” Altemus wrote.

Evans plans to “work with the community to ensure that the University comes forth with a viable plan for moving the majority of undergraduates back to the main campus,” while Altemus and the CAG will continue to appeal to the D.C. Zoning Board with their opinions on the proposal.

Councilman Jack Evans’ press release:

Evans Disappointed with Georgetown Campus Plan

Lack of On-Campus Housing Fails to Address Neighborhood Concerns

Washington, DC – Councilmember Evans today expressed disappointment with Georgetown University’s 2010-2020 proposed Campus Plan, recently filed with the District Zoning Commission.

“I was disappointed to learn that the University’s proposed campus plan does not include any significant action to move more undergraduate students onto the main campus,” said Evans.

The proposal does drop the original plans for the 1789 property, as well as an extension of the University’s heating and cooling chimney to over 80 feet.

“While I do appreciate the University compromising on the 1789 block and the smokestack, clearly the most important issue to the neighborhood and the single issue not addressed by the plan, is relocating undergraduate students back to campus,” Evans said.

“I will continue to work with the community to ensure that the University comes forth with a viable plan for moving the majority of undergraduates back to the main campus.”

Jennifer Altemus’ statement:

Dear Neighbors,

Georgetown University filed their 2010-2020 Campus Plan with the District of Columbia Zoning Commission last week. A copy is available on line at
community.georgetown.edu/campusplan.html. 

The plan is disappointing in that it proposes no new student housing – a priority issue for the community — and therefore does nothing to mitigate the problems created by the current density of undergraduate and graduate students living in the neighborhoods. Indeed by proposing to increase graduate enrollment by 2100 students the plan will exacerbate existing objectionable conditions. GU cannot continue to use the neighborhood for its residence halls.

The submitted plan does not include two items from its draft rendition to which the community strenuously objected: an 83′ tall smokestack and the
1789 block proposal to demolish historic townhouses to build faculty/student housing outside the traditional campus in the residential area. While the omission of these initiatives is recognized, no progress has been made on the community’s principal demand that the University move a substantial number of students back on campus or house them in a satellite campus. On the idea of satellite campuses the University only committed “to investigate the possibility of relocating the School of Continuing Studies and certain continuing studies programs to satellite locations.”

We look forward to presenting our facts and recommendations to the Zoning Commission. We will continue to seek a compromise that better manages enrollment, increases on-campus housing, improves campus and neighborhood safety and reduces parking and traffic impacts. More information can be found on our website at www.cagtown.org.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Altemus

President

23 Comments on “Evans and Altemus respond negatively to proposed Campus Plan

  1. maybe someone should inform altemus that even if the university had more housing, the students dont necessarily want to live in it.

  2. Mr. Evans wants to “mov[e] the majority of undergraduates back to the main campus”? Well I’ve got great news Mr. Evans! Georgetown *does* house the majority of it’s students on campus! 82% of undergraduates in fact, live on campus (http://www.georgetown.edu/document/1242761044874/20090116_IssuesReport.pdf). This puts Georgetown ahead of American, Catholic, GW, and Howard. I can’t wait for Mr. Evans to fight for our cause once he sees how reasonable our requests are, and how many concessions we have made to the neighbors not just this year, but over our institution’s lifetime.

  3. Can the neighbors and the Councilman please show the university where exactly they want new student housing to be build on campus? In case the neighbors haven’t taken a walk through the traditional campus in the last 40 or so years, it has been pretty well built out, including a HUGE dorm complex built less than a decade ago.

    As someone pointed out in a previous entry, the CAG needs to be in conflict with the university at all times in order to remain relevant.

  4. While I’d like the university to house more of its undergrads on the traditional campus, I appreciate the fact that the 1789 project was scrapped. It’s enough for now.

  5. WHERE do they propose building new student housing? I’d really love to know where they would want that to be done that won’t get rid of the little green space left on campus.

    Does the university regret the fact that GW has Mount Vernon right now? Perhaps. But let’s be real – you cannot force students to live on campus for 4 years, particularly when there are better deals available off campus from the landlords these residents apparently never seem to mention in their missives.

  6. News in 2020:

    \Welcome to Altemus Hall, located on what was once Copley Lawn…In other news, any students who leave the campus after dusk are subject to arrest by local authorities.\

  7. The University dropped the 1789 block plan, a proposal that would have created student housing, but was opposed by the CAG because it fell outside of the defined campus area of the University.

    This is wrong. The 1789 block does, in fact, fall within the land zoned and designated as the campus of Georgetown University. Just because it’s not behind a stone wall around it doesn’t mean it’s not a part of campus, any more than Village B or LXR are “off campus.”

    Fortunately, Jack Evans is both a spineless coward and a paper tiger and was just stripped of his title as chairman pro tempore of the DC City Council. In a lot of ways, both sides have been acting out familiar roles in a play whose ending is already well known.

  8. Great point Actually. And furthermore the 1789 plan didn’t call for the demolition of historic townhouses. All of the historic perimeter townhouses would have been retained.

  9. @Actually
    That wording is in line with the argument that has been made by CAG. Their argument is for more “on campus” housing, which under their definition is the area within the stone walls of the campus. That is why the term “defined campus” was used.

  10. I’m glad to see that the local community is still doing its best to make sure as many graduate students and faculty commute into campus and thus contribute to gridlock and congestion. Heaven forbid they have housing near campus.

  11. Yes, but CAG is wrong. The only “defined campus” is the campus established by NCPC in the late 60s and carried forward by the BZA and Zoning Commission through the last few campus plans. It clearly establishes that the majority of the four blocks east of the gates are part of the campus.

    And this should be no surprise to anyone. Georgetown’s owned much of this land for decades. The Hospital was established there what, a century ago?

    CAG and the rest of the community wanted more housing on campus. Georgetown offered more housing on campus in the one location where it was feasible. CAG then bellyached about the location, so Georgetown took it out. Now CAG complains that Georgetown didn’t provide any additional housing. It’s crap.

  12. Geoffrey,

    I understand, but the point is that their argument is based on false premises. Their definition of what constitutes “on campus” is based on their personal preferences and the psychological effect of an old stone wall, not on any legal basis for what constitutes “campus.”

  13. The neighbors are so illogical. Fight against housing which would reduce congestion and parking issues they against which they continue to rail. Ask for more student housing on a campus which already has enough of it. Promote the idea of “satellite campuses” to push students across the River into Virginia, taking their economic impact with them. Maybe the “poor” people of Northern Virginia will be happy to take us, because they understand what an asset our university and others like it are to the local community. Does anyone in West Georgetown think the neighborhood would be what it is without the presence of the University? Perhaps CAG would like the give back GU sponsorships of their Concerts in the Parks (http://cagtown.org/concerts.html), CAG Gala (http://cagtown.org/10gala.html), Cleanup Days (http://cagtown.org/cleanup.html), and Merriment in Georgetown (http://www.merrimentingeorgetown.com/) if it thinks the University is such a threat to the neighborhood. There is no point in the University cooperating with this mob anymore; despite all its best efforts, GU will never be able to overcome the self-entitlement, snobbery, and self-delusion of the CAG cadre.

  14. @Actually
    “…In a lot of ways, both sides have been acting out familiar roles in a play whose ending is already well known.”

    All of this has happened before…all of this will happen again…

  15. “The association still believes that the University has not listened to their opinions.”

    The association is apparently filled with spoiled children. It would be impossible NOT to listen to them; all they do is throw temper tantrums. Unfortunately for them, “listening” doesn’t and shouldn’t mean taking every single one of their suggestions, especially when their suggestions are nonsensical and contradictory. They want us to build more housing… but not on the small amount of land that it actually makes sense to build on. They complain about increased traffic in the area… after nixing graduate housing and rerouting our shuttles.

    Their absurd tactics make even compromise distasteful. While I fully support reasonable discussion with the neighborhood, I’ve yet to see any reasoned arguments on their side.

  16. I was so “frustated” I forgot how to spell frustrating.

  17. If CAG doesn’t want GU to have student housing beyond what they call the “traditional campus,” then GU should close down both Village B and LXR/Henle, keep enrollment the same, and push more students into neighborhood rentals.

    Seriously though, in the past many activist neighbors have opposed the construction of new housing on campus (yes, even on what they call the “traditional campus”) while still complaining that all students should be on campus. Their hypocrisy needs to be exposed.

    Also, compared to her current activities, Jennifer Altemus did more to help the neighborhood when she was tending bar at the Austin Grill.

  18. The neighborhood’s definition of compromise sounds suspiciously like the GOPs’…

  19. In other news, the sun rose in the East this morning.

  20. never before seen footage of Jennifer Altemus as a baby!

  21. Pingback: Vox Populi » Evans launches Ward 2 ANC redistircting

  22. Pingback: Vox Populi » Prefrosh Preview: Off-campus news you can use

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