Housing Complex

Community Kills New Housing in Georgetown Campus Plan

Battleground. (Aerial photo courtesy of Georgetown University)

I'm a bit late to this, but thought it worth re-pointing out that in its campus plan submission to the Zoning Commission, Georgetown University dropped two major things in response to community concerns: Additional graduate student housing on the "1789 block," between 36th and 37th Street, and a proposed 83-foot-tall "chimney extension."

The organized opposition's greatest objection to the university's plan, of course, is increasing graduate enrollment without building more on-campus housing. Neighbors' aversion to more temporary residents–i.e. students–is so great that they wouldn't even stand for 120 graduate student apartments on university land located outside the campus gates. So now the plan has less housing, and the same number of students.

Then there's the chimney extension, which had been planned in order to better prevent emissions from the heating and cooling plant from re-entering air at the human level. Surrounding residents worried that the University would instead use it to increase emissions, despite pledges to the contrary. But Councilmember Jack Evans apparently got his way, and there will be no smokestack. I wondered what the university planned to do to protect the campus' air quality without a heightened chimney; they haven't figure that out yet.

"The short answer is that we're going to continue to work with our consultants to investigate alternatives for managing re-entrainment," wrote University spokeswoman Julie Bataille in an e-mail. "The chimney extension was a practical and recommended way to respond to the issue but we intentionally removed it from our campus plan in response to community concerns."

On to the Zoning Commission!

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