The District of Columbia Office of Planning’s review of the 2010 Campus Plan to the DC Zoning Commission last night requires that Georgetown house 100 percent of students on campus by 2016.

In its report, the OP called for the university to dramatically boost its capacity of on-campus residences within the next decade. While the agency supported the university’s commitment to add 250 more beds on the Hilltop by next fall, it asked that the university pledge to increase housing coverage to 90 percent of all undergraduate students by the start of the 2015 school year. Georgetown would then be required to quarter all students on campus by the following year.

If the school did not meet these requirements, the number of total undergraduate enrollment would have to be reduced by 25 percent of the difference between the number of undergraduates and the number of on-campus beds provided. This reduction would occur annually, from 2017 through 2020, until the university complied with the full housing goal.

The report also called for a cap on overall enrollment at 12,959 students for the next two academic years, as well as a maximum of 13,432 students for the 2013-14 terms. In comparison, combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year was already 12,888 students.

In its March 31 changes to the original campus plan, the university volunteered to limit overall enrollment to 15,000 students.

The OP’s recommendation came just ahead of the continuation of campus plan hearings before the DC Zoning Commission next week.

The Hoya reported on April 14 that the university faced questions about its plans for student residency from neighbors at the first zoning commission hearing. Many neighbors complained about alleged unacceptable student behavior off-campus.

The Office of Planning seems to have considered these complaints while examining the Georgetown plan and the enrollment figures.

“The number of students, noise and traffic has created objectionable conditions to neighboring residential properties by reducing available on-street parking in a neighborhood with severely limited off-street parking and intermittent alley systems, noise, litter and public disturbances that resulted in an increase in 911 calls to the MPD,” the report said.

MPD has received more than 1000 911 phone calls from the West Georgetown area in the past year. However, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson said on the Kojo Nnamdi radio show on March 21 that only a quarter of these were directly related to students.

According to Bill Starrels, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration  representative on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, more on-campus housing could provide a win-win situation for both the university and the community.

“I think this is something good for our constituents. I think it’s good for the students,” he said.  “I think students can be empowered by the opportunity to live on campus.”

Scott Stirrett, chair of the student advocacy group D.C. Students Speak, disagreed. He said that Georgetown students as a whole should not be penalized because of the minority who cause a “problem for the neighborhood.”

“Even if there are these few students, fundamentally you can’t exclude a certain group just because you don’t like them,” he said.

Stirret added that he was surprised by the OP’s recommendation because Georgetown quarters more of its students on campus than any other area school.

“[Housing 100 percent of students on campus] is simply infeasible because there is limited space on campus behind the gates,” he said.

Chair of ANC 2E Ron Lewis said that, though he had not had a chance to speak with his colleagues about the report, the OP’s advice should prove useful in the proceedings to come.

“The report by the Office of Planning is a very important document,” he said. “It uses careful thought, research and it bases its conclusions on demonstrable fact.”

“I believe the OP report will be of considerable help to the Zoning Commission,” he added.

At Zoning Commission headquarters on May 12, neighborhood representatives will resume their questioning of the group of university officials and experts behind the campus plan. The ANC will make its own presentation and undergo questioning at a later date.

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