When University officials spoke to neighbors in May and raised the possibility of building a new housing complex on the “1789 Block” (the area between Prospect and N Streets and 36th and 37th Streets), neighbors said they didn’t want to see undergraduates living in that area. So the University decided the new residences would be for grad students and faculty. When officials at the May meeting said they were hoping to put 200 to 250 beds in the complex, neighbors said that would be too much density. So the University lowered the projected number of beds to 120.
Even with the concessions, though, neighbors still aren’t enthusiastic about the proposal, which was presented Monday night by University Architect Alan Brangman. While there were some quibbles about the specifics of the plan, most of the objections stem from one essential conflict: many neighbors don’t believe the land the University owns outside the front gates counts as “on campus;” University officials do. And so does D.C.: Georgetown University’s legal boundaries, as defined by the the National Capital Planning Commission, include portions of four blocks West of the front gates.
“It’s a misnomer and it’s a deception,” one neighbor said of the University’s practice of defining the campus as including these areas beyond the front gates. “They [the students] are living amongst us! They’re on the left of us, in the front of us, on the side of us, and they’re in the back of us … They’re not really within your gates, although you’re hiding behind the fact that [the boundaries were] approved.”
Brangman was having none of it, though.