Zoning Commission will wait on response from Old Georgetown Board before approving residence plans
The D.C. Zoning Commission met Monday night to review proposals for the construction of the Northeast Triangle Dorm and conversion of Ryan and Mulledy Halls into residential spaces. Although all commissioners expressed profuse support, they decided to withhold approval until the University received a response from the Old Georgetown Board, who has not yet commented on the University’s plans.
The meeting began with a presentation of the current proposal by Georgetown Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Augostini. He described how Georgetown had reached “an inflection point” as a result as of the financial crisis, the ongoing technological, and a history of rancorous tensions with neighbors.
As co-chair of the Georgetown Community Partnership – a body formed by the 2010 Campus Plan – Augostini explained how the Partnership catalyzed an improvement in neighbor-University relations: “We realized the issues that separated us were a function of history. We were far more in agreement and had shared objectives.”
These shared objectives included improving Georgetown’s capacity as a residential living and learning campus. So far, these goals have resulted in the two sites now waiting approval at the Zoning meeting, one of which is the Northeast Triangle Dorm.
Principal Sasaki Architect Vinicius Gorgati presented the current plans. The dorm will have an active first floor with workshop spaces, study nooks and a fireplace lounge. The seventh floor boasts a terrace and the eighth an accessible green roof. With the green roof and other features, Sasaki hopes to achieve the Lead Gold certification in energy efficiency.
Augostini closed the presentation with a request for design flexibility in conjunction with proposal approval so that he and his fellows would not have to return to the commission.
The 5% leeway request for location, height, and density prompted questions from the commissioners. Commissioner Peter May held reservations on flexible location, as Sasaki had already gone further east than initially allowed.
Zoning Chair Anthony Hood lightened the mood: “You asked for a lot of flexibility. I can understand not wanting to return to us.”
Representatives from the DDOT and the D.C. Office of Planning as well as ANC 2-E Chair Ron Lewis expressed their approval of the proposals.
GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) spoke to positive student opinion: “As a whole, there is real sense that students think this is the future of the University. Students have begun to buy into being full members of the community, allowing it to succeed at the granular level.”
While the commissioners echoed approval of both improved community relations as well as Sasaki’s blueprints, they decided not to move forward due to the OGB’s lack of comment on the proposals. Instead, they arranged another hearing with the University for January 13th, 2014.
The University will meet with the OGB next Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Sasaki Associates