Following the example set by their West Georgetown counterparts, many of the university’s Burleith neighbors banded together in an effort to chip away at the possible passage of Georgetown’s 2010 Campus Plan.
In an editorial featured in this month’s Burleith Bell, members of the Burleith Citizens’ Association called residents to action and established the “Burleith Community Fund” as a way of dissuading the D.C. Zoning Commission from giving the Campus Plan the green light.
The editorial expressed particular concern over Georgetown’s plan to increase the size of the graduate and professional programs by 3,000 students. The university does not plan to add more on-campus undergraduate housing, although the university’s planners have located sites on campus where 800 more students could live. The university also plans to build a new and expanded hospital, which will affect traffic.
The plan outlines how the university and the hospital should expand in the next 10 years. It states that 120 of the new graduate students will reside in a housing complex within the block of 37th and 36th Streets between N and Prospect Streets, but the BCA believes that many more will likely live off campus in Burleith.
The Citizens’ Association of Georgetown has also voiced concerns over the Campus Plan, primarily over the disruptive behavior of students living off campus. Last month, CAG launched a campaign called “Save Our Neighborhood” targeted at the number of Georgetown students living off campus. Neighbors are angered by the excessive noise, trash, vandalism and safety violations committed by students.
The BCA, on the other hand, recognized that students play a constructive role in the community in its editorial, and is grateful for their contributions. The editorial also stated, however, that there have been displeasing incidents regarding students living off campus and that the university should provide more on-campus housing.
“As a community, we cannot ignore the well-documented incidents of irresponsible behavior by some university students who have lived or currently live in Burleith,” the editorial said. “We must also recognize the university’s ongoing failure to provide adequate on-campus housing options or incentives for many of its students, as well as adequate instruction and support to its students living off campus about property maintenance and noise control.”
Allie Barry (SFS ’12), a student who will be living off campus next year, said she believes that additional on-campus housing will not stop students from going off campus.
“I understand the concern of homeowners in Burleith, and I am glad that they recognize that not all students are the same,” Barry said. “That being said, the university is an integral part of the neighborhood, and with the university comes students who do not stay within the campus gates. Students will continue to go out on weekends regardless of a new housing plan or not, so there has to be some compromise here between the residents and the university.”
The BCA plans to hold a community meeting about the Campus Plan on April 21, and a meeting with Georgetown officials on April 26.”