City Desk

Zoning Commission Approves American University Campus Plan

I was under the weather when this went down, but the Zoning Commission approved American University's 2010 campus plan last week—it will be AU's biggest development yet. The Eagle has the details:

The plan allows the University to add 1,100 beds and provide on-campus housing for 67 percent of students by 2016, according to a March 21 memo from AU President Neil Kerwin.

Campus Plan approval included:

•  Construction of East Campus (590 beds)

•  Construction of North Hall (360 beds)

•  Additions to Nebraska Hall (150 beds)

•  Additions to Mary Graydon Center

•  And the relocation of Washington College of Law to Tenley campus

The Zoning Commission will decide March 26 whether to approve construction to transform Tenley Campus into WCL.

AU can now begin construction on North Hall and additions to Nebraska Hall, which are scheduled for completion by fall 2013, The Eagle previously reported. North Hall will be located behind the President’s Office.

Earlier this year, I spent some time at AU reporting a story on the campus plan process. Complaints from neighbors about East Campus—which is currently a 25-year-old underutilized surface parking lot—included fears about noise and peeping toms (college students naturally would be interested in looking into the windows of 50-something neighbors, apparently):

Neighbors submitted hundreds of pages of testimony, blasting the university as having a “total lack of willingness to be forthcoming and to constructively engage with the community.” Neighbor Elizabeth Nottingham clinched her letter complaining that another proposal from American, to move its law school to Tenleytown from its current Massachusetts Avenue location, will create traffic and be terribly noisy (law students are known for being noisy!). She insisted, “In short it will be objectionable, and I object to it!”

Still, the objecting didn't get neighbors very far. AU budged enough to satisfy the Zoning Commission, but still won its case.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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