GU Campus Plan Controversy Reaches Foxhall
November 23, 2010 | by G'town Saucer
Photo by RJSmith
In the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere galloped from Boston to Lexington to warn of a British Army onslaught. Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association, took her message to Foxhall regarding a modern-day threat: the proposed expansion of Georgetown University with its significant potential impacts on traffic and surrounding neighborhoods.
The BCA is one of the many groups opposed to the Georgetown University expansion plan because of the fear that the increased graduate enrollment will negatively affect their largely single-family community.
The Foxhall Community Citizens Association members listened attentively as Rubino listed Burleith's objections to the GU plan, especially the further conversion of single-family homes into group houses for Georgetown students that would destroy the quality of the neighborhood, she said, including decreased property values.
“Our number-one argument is based on the zoning regulations,” she said, referring to legal arguments against the proposed expansion. The BCA has engaged lawyers, experts and a public relations consultant to prepare and present the citizens group's case.
Rubino also mentioned that residents are putting up anti-GU expansion lawn signs that say: “Our Homes, Not GU’s Dorm” and “OPPOSE GU’s campus plan.” She briefly mentioned Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans’ recent appearance at the Burleith membership meeting. As reported in the Burleith Association newsletter, Evans said he supported the citizen’s position in opposition to the GU plan, but “I basically can’t help you.”
In a subsequent interview, Bob Avery, president of Foxhall Community Citizens Association, pointed out additional problems in the proposed GU expansion plan specifically for Foxhall:
--GU’s proposed road along the edge of Glover Archibald Park in apparent violation of a scenic easement negotiated with GU and the National Park Service,
--a proposed structure covering an athletic field on the west side of the campus, possibly with lights, that would be a major intrusion into Foxhall,
--the poorly explained 83-foot tall smokestack that will intrude into both the campus and the nearby communities. (Councilmember Evans has spoken out against this proposal).
Avery said GU seems, on the one hand, unsure about how proceed because it “underestimated the degree of negative response” and the unanimity in the community against its proposals, and on the other hand, unconcerned about some of its impact on the community. For instance, Avery said, the University in May it held a graduation party at Yates field that lasted until 2 am. “That’s just stupid,” he said referring to the negative response the party generated in the community. Avery said that if GU really wanted to control off-campus students, it could exercise its option to suspend and expel violators.