A wrap-up of the CAG meeting on the 2010 Campus Plan, Part 1

On Monday night, the Citizens Association of Georgetown held its first public meeting on the 2010 Campus Plan since the final draft of the plan came out last Fall. And even though a lot of what was said has been said before—why neighbors dislike the 2010 Campus Plan, why students make awful neighbors, etc., etc.—this meeting was a pretty big deal.

CAG didn’t just hold another rant session—it kicked off the first truly organized (monetarily and politically) movement Georgetown University will have to combat if it wants to pass its 2010 Campus Plan in one piece. Or, as Lydia DePillis of “Housing Complex” wrote, they held a council of war.

The GU Relations Committee, the group of citizens who are organizing CAG’s campaign to influence the plan, outlined the aspects of the plan that will negatively impact the Georgetown neighborho0d. CAG also passed out contact information for elected officials and urged residents at the meeting to lobby officials on the plan, and pushed residents to donate to the “Save Our Neighborhood” fund, to hire experts to testify against the plan in its official review stage. Then residents were given a chance to ask questions, make suggestions, and comment on CAG’s strategy.

Because this was a hefty meeting, Vox is going to recap this list-style, and in two separate posts. What follows is summary of neighborhood sentiment toward the campus plan. Later this afternoon, we’ll run a summary of some of the more interesting discoveries CAG made about the Georgetown neighborhood in its research.

The timeline:

Cynthia Pantazis, the chair of the GU Relations committee, kicked off the formal presentation.

“The core of this presentation is really about responsible growth in the community,” she said.

Pantazis laid out the timeline for the review of the 2010 Plan by the City. Georgetown will submit the 2010 Campus Plan to the D.C. Zoning Commission, and the Office of Planning will write a report on the plan within 90 days. Then the Zoning Commission will set public hearings on the plan—probably six to 10 of them.

“Parties are able to interface with the [Office of Planning] to provide information to them while they write their report, and CAG will definitely be a part of that.”

The best part of these posts are always the residents’ comments. They’re after the jump!

The residents’ comments

  • From a resident on Prospect Street: “How much impact can this group possibly have on the final plan? …. Who will hear, who will care?”
  • From a resident living at 34th and P Street: “How are you going to discourage students from bringing their cars? How do you discourage them, outside of shooting them?” The audience laughed. Gianluca Pivato, the vice-president of CAG you may remember for his nasty e-mail language, explained how to report illegally parked cars residents suspect belong to students to the City.
    “To shoot, it’s up to you,” he said.
  • Another resident: “What pieces of their plan that are essential to increasingly the student body, those should be lobbied against.”
  • And another: “This is terrific. What you’ve done so far is really, really great …. One of the reasons for the turnout here tonight is that you seem organized …. Political pressure needs to be organized. One of the failings of the community on the last campus plan is that it wasn’t. You need to do that, whether it’s on the table or under the table.”
  • Pantazis: “[Students without actual parking permits] keep parking and parking, over and over, and getting tickets and tickets.”
  • A West Georgetown resident: “Remember, it’s an election year. It’s an absolutely propitious year for us to organize.”
  • Richard Hinds, counsel for CAG: “Help us financially. [Georgetown] will put tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars into hiring consultants. Their reports will say, I can tell you now, ‘this or that change will have no impact on traffic.’ If you want to fight an even fight here, we need your money.”
  • Anthony Conyers (COL ’12) of Georgetown Energy, a student group that is encouraging solar panel use in Georgetown, chimed in about ways the community could work together.”It’s time for students to step up and use our resources to make the community a better place,” he said, saying that residents interested in solar energy could visit the group’s website.As the room clapped, one resident sitting near Vox whispered to another, “He must think we’re stupid.”
  • A Potomac Street resident: “I don’t run through the streets and scream at night. I’m sorry, I was a student once, and I didn’t.”
  • Another Potomac Street resident: “We need the money, and the politics …. I was one of three, three neighbors that funded that effort [to shut down Philly Pizza]. I’m telling you, it is expensive. It wasn’t until we could hire a lawyer that we saw progress. It was a year and a half of absolute nightmare in that neighborhood.
    “So I don’t think you’ll be getting any checks from us, we’re spent. But if you wanna see this happen, you’re gonna have to step up to the plate.”

What neighbors dislike about the 2010 Campus Plan (If you’re a campus plan expert, skip this part and pat yourself on the back)

Pantazis reviewed what is relevant to the neighborhood in the plan followed. Residents are dismayed that …

… the University plans to increase graduate student enrollment by 3,200.
… the University is not building any new undergraduate housing within the gates of Georgetown, what they call the “traditional campus.”
… the University is proposing “significant development on the 1789 block,” including about 80 new apartments for graduate students.
… the University is building an 83′ smokestack above its power plant facility where a 10′ stack currently stands. Residents are worried because the University has not promised that the new smokestack will not alter its present emissions output.
… the University plans to add 1,000 parking spaces around campus.

Pantazis also noted that the University plans to enhance its off-campus student life program by adding one SNAP car (it currently maintains one car), and staffing one SNAP car in the summer months. RA-like staff members will move into the Burleith or West Georgetown area, too, “to help deal with disorderly students.”

She concluded by saying that more traffic in the neighborhood due to increased graduate student enrollment is one of the GU Relations Committee’s biggest concerns. Ironically, she said the committee suggested “encourag[ing] more environmentally-friendly transportation,” as the solution.

Recall that the neighbors successfully pressured the University to reroute most its GUTS bus routes through the Canal Road entrance, making them, uh, less than useful.

More this afternoon!

9 Comments on “A wrap-up of the CAG meeting on the 2010 Campus Plan, Part 1

  1. This is ridiculous.

    Students (Georgetown Energy) come, attempt to talk about common ground, and it is apparently considered an insult. (As they further comically require the GUTS buses to go halfway to Maryland in an attempt to make people use their cars less. I should probably stop talking about this though as using logic or making a good faith effort at unity is apparently considered insulting.)

    This language about shooting students is inexcusable. Obviously, you can’t control every crazy guy that walks into a meeting, but Pivato should have rejected the notion immediately, and encouraged a civil discourse. This is not making a good faith effort to be a good neighbor, this is blatant “us vs. them” language, with no attempt to work together.

  2. I was at the meeting and Pibato was clearly making light of a stupid comment and he did clarify that they are against shooting anyone. It was obvious to anyone there except Molly. Seems to me that Molly is being a bit too defensive and harping on small insignificant stuff to fan the flames. The discourse was very civil as any honest attendee can testify. Not even once there was an insult or a characterization. Everything was based on facts, regulation and civil discourse.

    As for the private email that vox populi got hold of, it was just that, a private conversation between two adults. One insulted the other first, the second responded in kind. Again, in a private email exchange.

    Stop being so fragile and defensive and start talking about the real issues, please! They did, it’s your turn now.

  3. The neighbors are making a bad faith effort to negotiate with the GU community, and frankly enough is enough at this point. GU needs to grow a pair and tell CAG to fuck off (CAG’s words, not mine). If it’s going to come down to a lawsuit (AGAIN) then GU should just go balls to the wall and stop trying to be conciliatory to them.

  4. Yeah, clearly vox took PIVATO (learn to spell) really seriously when he made the joke about shooting. That’s why Molly called the cops, right?
    As for the private email, a) it’s not like the blog stole it, someone sent it to them and b) PIVATO is always, always, always representing the CAG when he’s talking about the campus plan. He’s an elected community representative. I think it was a valuable glimpse of how neighbors “just being adults” really feel when they’re not out in public with their slimey grins and talking about how the university needs to respect them. Whiny, uncivilized bitches.

  5. Oh Molly Dolly, so young and already so much anger and resentment. Now you are upset because someone has a grin? Enjoy life, go out, have fun, don’t get involved in things that don’t concern you and you don’t understand. If you want others to be civil with you maybe you should stop calling them names first. Don’t you think?

    And, by the way, what is it to you? Do you think GU cares about you? If you do I have a bridge to sell. They are using you against the residents and you fall for it every time. Wise up, you will need it at one point. You are simply pawns here.

    Residents call the cops on you, GU will pick up a couple of you and punish them to appease the residents, slumlords (some are actually residents) keep renting rat holes to you at a huge profit, GU is polluting the air you breathe (apparently the pollutants have been falling on campus for decades), and all you complain about is a spoiled brat that was told to fuck off. Please…

  6. I thought with such strict gun laws in DC, they dont even own guns to shoot at us. But somehow all the crooks running around their neighborhood, which they dont really seem to care about since they are quiet and sneaky, have guns. Thanks for the focus on safety West Georgetown.

    Is he encouraging them to shoot first??? Must be George Bush supporters in that area. I will now brand them all as red blooded conservatives.

  7. hey, GU Supporter, you do know that @GU Supporter isn’t Molly, right? and that calling her “Molly Dolly” is a kind of paternalistic condescension that most civilized people should have put to rest 50 years ago? She probably would go “enjoy life, go out, have fun” more often if 1) students didn’t have to be worried about neighbors calling the cops every time someone makes a peep past 11:00 and 2) if CAG didn’t hold endless meetings bitching and moaning about a campus plan that will, eventually, get passed. You don’t think CAG meetings like this concern Molly, or the students she’s writing to inform? And that she doesn’t understand the issues? We’ve all seen what happened with GUTS bus routes, and we understand how that “concerns” us and GU staff – same goes for 61Ds. Sure, I don’t think GU treats its students terribly well; the surrounding community treats us far worse, and, in fact, encourages Georgetown to treat us poorly. The housing that neighbors want GU to build on campus? The off-campus “rat holes” these resident “slumlords” rent to us are so, so superior to any of the dorm-style housing Georgetown has proposed – which, if you’ve been paying attention and “understand” the issue, would make a not-terribly sizable dent in the number of students living off campus.

    Oh, and I’ve been to your community meetings – the only reason those “discourses” seem “civil” is because everyone there hates students specifically and the university in general. The meetings are more like a series of diatribes in which students are routinely regarded as sub-human beings, a nuisance akin to Georgetown’s rat problem. I do not understand how you think this kind of combative, aggressive offense on the Campus Plan is going to solve a problem that, truly, the residents are doing more to exacerbate than any other involved party. Georgetown is never going to be able to house all of its students on campus, and there is nothing neighbors can do to prevent students from choosing to go off campus. GU also has, shocker, people who work on campus. This means they have to get to said campus somehow or other – whether it be by bus or by car. The residents can’t make it impossible for either option to be viable.

    GU Supporter, your compassion for how the university is using its students against the neighbors is touching, really, but please don’t insult us. Yeah, it’s easy to say that Molly took a “light” comment about shooting students out of context, but not when that context is, in reality, a sustained, bitter vitriol against us. The residents want students to start acting like adults? How about treating us like people first. And then maybe the neighbors could set an example and start acting like grown-ups themselves.

  8. Pingback: Vox Populi » A wrap-up of the CAG meeting on the 2010 Campus Plan, Part 2

  9. 1) About 20 years ago someone estimated that a third of Georgetown houses contained handguns. Whether these guns were legally held or not went unsaid. (I haven’t seen a more recent estimate.)

    2) Ninety percent of the trouble made by GU students living in West Georgetown comes from 10 percent of the students (and maybe just 5 percent). It’s odd how the overwhelming majority of students seems indifferent to this. Just as everyone knows about — and ignores — the decades of neighborhood vandalism by the successive residents of one particular house on Prospect Street. (I will let you all figure out for yourselves which batch of boorish athletes this might be.)

    3) The university’s desire to grow has nothing to do with the welfare of the student population; the neighborhood’s fairly united opposition to that growth has nothing to do with the welfare of the student population. The university wants to make money for its administration and staff; it wants higher salaries and larger staffs for various departments. The neighborhood wants to preserve its quality of life and property values. The university plots and schemes to move further and further east into the neighborhood, and the residents are determined to stop them. The students who post here seem to think they are players in this little struggle, but they really aren’t. They never have been and they never will be. They’re just passing through.

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