Posts Tagged “Office of Planning”
At 2:38 p.m. today, the Office of Planning and Facilities Management sent the student body an email about “lowering energy usage” from the hours between 2:20 and 7:00 p.m.
Thankfully, we were given an entire six minutes to prepare ourselves. At around 2:45 p.m., without warning, all electrical power suddenly shut off in Village A and dormitory residence halls, and, ten minutes later, we received an email letting us know that the “University has been asked to shed some of its electrical load usage.” Unfortunately, since the wi-fi had also been turned off temporarily, this email wasn’t exactly accessible.
The power will be off in most residence halls (excluding Village B, Henle, LXR, Nevils, and Townhouses…sorry, freshmen) and class buildings until 7:00 p.m. tonight. In the meantime, Lau and Leavey still have power. Vox empathizes with those of you who were in the shower, and hopes that next time, the Office can plan for facilities a little more.
Photo: Duncan Geere via flickr.
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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.
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As we’ve previously reported, the Office of Planning recently filed its report to the DC Zoning Commission regarding Georgetown University’s 2010 campus plan. While the report ultimately recommends that the plan be approved, it sharply criticizes certain aspects of the campus plan in a similar manner to the recommendation filed by ANC 2E earlier this year.
The report proposes several restrictions on the University in order for the plan to be approved, most notably:
- On-campus housing: Most infamously, the report proposes that the University provide on-campus housing for 90% of traditional undergraduates by 2015 and 100% by 2016. If the University hasn’t accomplished this by 2016, it would be forced to cut undergraduate enrollment by a quarter of the difference between the number of students and the number of beds until housing was provided for all students.
While the OP concedes that Georgetown houses a greater percentage of students than most universities in the district, it states that “many universities of competitive standard to Georgetown house 100% of their students on campus [including] Harvard, MIT and Princeton.” Of course, these schools’ endowments respectively total $27.4, $8.3, and $14.4 billion compared to Georgetown’s $1.01 billion, and each of them have substantially larger campuses than Georgetown. The report justifies the restrictions by stating that “housing one hundred percent of the undergraduate students on campus has been found to be the most effective means of controlling student behavior.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Update: The full report of the Office of Planning is now available after the jump.
The District Office of Planning filed its report to the D.C. Zoning Commission today, recommending that Georgetown University house 100 percent of its traditional undergraduate students on-campus by the fall of 2016, according to the Georgetown Dish.
The Office of Planning recommends that the University accomplish this by “incrementally reducing the [traditional undergraduate student] enrollment […] until the TUS enrollment equals the university-provided housing.” The report obtained by the Dish stated concerns about the “adverse impact and objectionable conditions due to the number of students” in Burleith and West Georgetown.
Unsurprisingly, Advisory Neighborhood Commission chair Ron Lewis told the Dish, “This is a strong, thoughtful, well-documented report.”
This outcome seems to support Georgetown Metropolitan writer Topher Matthews’s theory that the University made last-ditch changes to the plan—including the addition of 250 beds on-campus and reducing the total student cap from 16,133 to 15,000—in an attempt to win over the Office of Planning, and by extension, the Zoning Commission.
If so, it didn’t work.
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Washington is updating its zoning laws next year. Since these laws affect everyone in DC, working groups that anyone can attend are being held now to make recommendations on the revisions. While other groups have produced policy recommendations from the clash and collaboration of different groups, the interests of students are being completely ignored on the zoning rules that affect them most.
This is because the Campus/Institutional Working Group is being held in July. Holding the meetings in July, when most students are out of Washington and university employees are more likely to be on vacation, is like holding a working group on Memorial Day or the July 4th weekend and expecting full attendance.
Why the Office of Planning would hold the meetings in July when other working groups meet during school months is unclear, because Steve Varga, the Office of Planning employee who sent out the working group schedule, never responded to requests for comment.
Linda Greenan, Georgetown’s Associate Vice President for External Relations, said in an email that Georgetown will have some administrators attending the meetings. These employees, however, will be a poor representative for student interests.
Students learned from Todd Olson’s alcohol policy to be wary of rules enacted during the summer. The Office of Planning should be embarrassed by this similarly shadowy process, which, deliberately or not, cuts out the group most affected by new university zoning rules.
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