Community group appeals 20-year Campus Plan

Tuesday, July 8

The Foggy Bottom Association filed an appeal with the D.C. Zoning Commission last week, challenging their approval of the University’s 20-year Campus Plan.

The development agreement outlining and limiting the scope of the University’s expansion in Foggy Bottom over the next two decades was approved in late 2007. It has been a major point of contention for community members in recent years, many of whom are trying to prevent further growth in the area.

A major concern raised by the FBA, a community group, is the commission’s decision to allow the University to proceed under a “Planned Unit Development” designation – which they say could free up extra land for construction.

“GW’s plans would add more square footage to Foggy Bottom than there is in the Empire State Building,” said Con Hitchcock, an attorney representing the FBA. “Campus Plan rules are the only kind of rules that should have been used in this situation.”

The appeal also challenges the University’s campus headcount, which requires them to keep track of the amount of students living in Foggy Bottom. The document requests that students living on Mount Vernon Campus also be included because they are spending time in Foggy Bottom.

Additionally, the appeal calls for a comprehensive environmental review of the entire plan, rather than the individual building-by-building assessments currently required.

University Spokeswoman Adela de la Torre said the school is confident that the original Campus Plan will be upheld.

“The Zoning Commission’s order approving the 2007 Campus Plan carefully considered the FBA’s claims regarding Mount Vernon students, the use of the PUD process, and several other arguments raised by the FBA during the hearings,” she wrote in an email.

De la Torre said the University’s legal team is reviewing the appeal and claims made by the FBA. A response will be submitted to the commission when it is due at the beginning of August.

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