In Response to Concerns, American Moves Beds Around
Taking a cue from Georgetown University, which made last-minute concessions before its first date with the Zoning Commission, American University is tweaking its campus plan to appease the neighbors before going through the review process.
On the "east campus," now a parking lot on Nebraska and New Mexico, A.U. proposes reducing the number of new beds on the from 770 to 590, converting some of it to administrative office space and reducing square footage by 18 percent. The new dorms will have no windows facing the street—even better than ANC 3D's suggestion that they be sealed shut!—setbacks will be increased from 40 feet to 100 feet, and no freshmen will be allowed to live there.
Overall, though, the changes don't crimp the University's style too badly. The new plan calls for just as many beds to be added to existing dorms elsewhere on campus in places less offensive to the neighbors. A.U. is also changing its "projected enrollment" of 13,600 students by 2020 to a hard "cap," which is something ANC 3D had been adamant about—though not an actual reduction in A.U.'s expansion plans, it's an important change for the University to be able to negotiate in good faith.
In re-jiggering its plans before going before the Zoning Commission, A.U. might be responding to the harsh way in which the Office of Planning responded to Georgetown's campus plan, insisting that all students be housed on campus by 2016. If its campus plan goes through as currently proposed, American will have 6,400 undergrads and 4,300 beds for them by 2020.
American faces the Zoning Commission on June 9th.