The D.C. Zoning Commission voted today to approve Georgetown University’s 2010 Campus Plan, marking the end of a tumultuous process that spanned more than two years.
The commission voted on an amended version of the plan, which was announced in June after two months of private negotiations between the university and its neighbors. Several commissioners said they were both surprised and proud that the negotiations had led to a successful compromise.
“It really is hard to get really ecstatic about zoning cases, but I will say that I was not expecting this substantial and successful a result when we deferred making a decision …,” Peter May, a zoning commissioner, said. “In this case, I feel like we got everything and more.”
Zoning Commission Chairman Anthony Hood said the negotiations could serve as a model for future campus plan debates.
“I will be talking about this for a long time,” he said.
The university’s amended plan includes several concessions to neighbors, including commitments to house 90 percent of undergraduates on campus by the fall of 2025, establish a satellite campus to hold 1,000 students in the School of Continuing Studies and place a renewed emphasis on on-campus student life.
The revised plan also provides for the establishment of the Georgetown Community Partnership, which is intended to help all parties more quickly reach an agreement on the next campus plan, which is intended to be a 20-year plan. Hood stressed that he looked forward to seeing the partnership take effect.
“It’s going to work,” he said.
According to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr, the university had already begun setting up the framework for the partnership while awaiting official approval of the Campus Plan.
“We’re hoping to have that ready in fall,” she said.
According to Kerr, students will be involved in the partnership and will play a role in implementing changes introduced in the amended version of the plan, such as a reevaluation of the university’s party registration policies.
After details of the revised Campus Plan were unveiled, Georgetown University Student Association President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) released a statement that commending the university for taking a new look at on-campus life.
However, they also expressed concerns that other amendments to the plan could negatively impact students.
“We are committed to advocating for student interests and demanding an active role at the bargaining table as the University implements the campus plan,” they wrote.
The sole point of contention at Monday’s hearing was a provision that would allow the university to build an addition to the Leavey Center for new undergraduate housing without further approval from the Zoning Commission. The Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center is slated to be turned into a residence hall, and the university also plans to add several stories to the building.
However, after being shown preliminary plans for the addition, commissioners agreed that they did not need to conduct a separate approval process on the structure, which will still be subject to approval by the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission on Fine Arts.