Staff Editorial: Foggy Bottom headache

Almost five years ago, this editorial page made a very simple request: “The Foggy Bottom Association should use newly acquired funds to improve the neighborhood, rather than to initiate litigation against GW.” Instead, the FBA has done the exact opposite.

More than two years after its filing, the FBA’s appeal against the 20-year campus plan has been struck down. At the same time, a complaint about how GW counts its students has been sent back to the Zoning Commission. The FBA has expressed desire to continue their tradition of filing complaints against GW by moving forward with this new appeal.

This is yet another opportunity for the FBA to change their relations with the University. Instead of continuing its appeal, the FBA needs to drop this claim and (finally) put forward a good-faith effort to work with the University to better our community, rather than make endless attempts to impede all University efforts.

As a display of pure desperation, the FBA once claimed that study abroad students should be counted in the number of GW students in Foggy Bottom, despite the fact that they use absolutely zero local resources. In the appeal addressed last week, those complaints have been scaled back. Instead, the case they intend to present to the Zoning Commission will focus mainly on how Mount Vernon students are counted. The FBA claims that all students who use the Foggy Bottom area should be counted, while disregarding the daily exchange in which students who live in the Foggy Bottom area also attend classes on Mount Vernon. This exchange reduces the validity of the claim that these students “contribute to noise, traffic, and other unfavorable conditions,” as the FBA describes in its appeal.

More than the specific merits of the case, this appeal is demonstrative of how perverse the relationship between GW and the FBA has become. Are they really fighting over the possible inclusion of a couple hundred students into the student body count? Or the difference between a “primary relationship” and “intensity of use” test?

If anything, the FBA should use their intensity as a positive force in Foggy Bottom, rather than to create intense headaches.

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