Office of Planning, ANC collaborated on 2010 Campus Plan
Update: Click here to read the e-mails Vox obtained yesterday in a Freedom of Information Act request.
The D.C. Office of Planning, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, and the Georgetown community cooperated on the controversial OP report on Georgetown University’s 2010 Campus Plan, according to e-mails uncovered by student rights organization DC Students Speak and Vox Populi.
The report, released on May 5, most notably recommended that the University accept a legal limit on enrollment and house all undergraduates on-campus.
The e-mails reveal that ANC 2E Chairman Ron Lewis met with OP a total of three times starting in Spring 2010.
On October 19, 2010, Lewis scheduled a phone call with Jennifer Steingasser of the Office of Planning to discuss the possible closing of negotiations between the community and the University on the 2010 Campus Plan.
“The discussions with Georgetown University about their campus plan have been disappointing (to put it mildly) and we’re on the brink of breaking them off,” Lewis wrote. “I’d like a chance to bring you up to date on what’s been going on.”
Community representatives officially ceased talks with the University on October 28, 2010. In subsequent meetings, it appears that Lewis’ input figured prominently in the OP’s final product.
In advance of a February 7, 2011 meeting with OP, Lewis e-mailed Steingasser with talking points containing several elements that made it into the final OP report, including a mandate for Zoning Commission approval of future University purchases in zip code 20007 (i.e. Georgetown and Burleith outside the main gates) and enrollment cap penalties for noncompliance with on-campus housing requirements.
Lewis additionally recommended consulting the Office of the Attorney General on the possibility of the University prohibiting students from residing in zip code 20007.
Meanwhile, an e-mail obtained by DC Students Speak also reveals that Richard Hinds, legal counsel for the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown, is the original source of a UK study on student housing cited in the OP report.
When the time came for the ANC to issue its report on the campus plan later in February, Lewis sought Steingasser’s advice on the wording of the commission’s recommendation. “I will make to finish reading this tonight and give youo [sic] any comments tomorrow – but on first blush it reads well,” she replied.
Lewis also obtained meetings with representatives of former Mayor Adrian Fenty on July 8, 2010, and with Mayor Vincent Gray himself on February 25, 2011.
In a summary of the July 2010 meeting, Francisco Fimbres of the Executive Office of the Mayor wrote, “OP and the community are on the same page and OP should be encouraged to keep supporting and working closely with the community on this.”
The next day, Lewis wrote Neil Albert in the Executive Office of the Mayor encouraging him to disregard claims the University might make in a meeting they were scheduled to have with the mayor’s office later that year.
“I urge you to keep in mind that the arguments they will make have been thoroughly reviewed and rejected by the community and by OP,” he wrote.