Resolution regarding American University’s 2021 Campus Plan
Whereas, American University (the University) is required by Zoning Regulations to submit a Campus Plan for approval by the Zoning Commission using the 2016 Zoning Regulations as the controlling authority and,
Whereas, ANC3E is a party to the Campus Plan and,
Whereas, [2016 Zoning Regulations] This is in contrast to the 2011 Campus Plan where the Plan was debated in parallel with the Further Processing of several proposed buildings making for a complex and ultimately contentious process, 101.16 seeks to avoid that situation by separating the two processes. ANC3E agrees with this change in that it clearly delineates the process of planning for campus development versus the process of implementing those plans.
Whereas, [Community Engagement] In response to the Zoning Commissions concerns about the process, engagement and tenor of the 2011 Campus Plan (Zoning Case 11-07), AU and the community, starting with the parties to the 2011 Plan, set about reimagining how they could engage in productive, respectful, transparent, collaborative and ongoing discussions with each other, guided by the Commissions’ suggestion of using Georgetown University’s Georgetown Community Partnership as a template of how to accomplish that goal. The result was the AU Neighborhood Partnership, the primary mechanism with which the 2021 Campus Plan was discussed and created. The partnership was affirmed by the Zoning Commission as part of the 11-07G order for the Hall of Sciences Further Processing.
The Neighborhood Partnership (renamed from the original Neighborhood Collaborative), also sought to include a wide and representative cross-section of the communities surrounding the University, not just the 2011 Campus Plan parties, when creating the plan in order to assure that, not only were their views considered and incorporated, that they should be able participate in implementing the plan once it was in place.
The Partnership began its work in December of 2018 and continues now and into the future. The Working Groups established include: Student Life & Safety, Facilities Planning, Transportation & Parking, Engagement & Communications, and Data & Metrics. ANC3E believes the enhanced structure, addition of a diverse range of community voices, commitment to a consensual and collaborative decision-making process, and the sustainable nature of these attributes will benefit both the University and the community as the plan is implemented, especially in regards to Further Processing cases.
Whereas, [Facilities] The 2021 Campus Plan foresees no significant buildings or structures within or immediately adjacent to ANC3E’s boundaries thus we are not concerned about the direct impacts of buildings or structures but instead their indirect ones.
Whereas, [Housing] the Plan states that it will still maintain the 67% housing requirement established as part of the 2011 Campus Plan, including the 200 bed exception currently housed at 4000 Brandywine Street NW (the Frequency) via a Master Lease. ANC3E does not believe that continuation of this arrangement (with the caveats that are included in the Campus Plan if the University were to change this arrangement or to propose any additional buildings for Master Leases) justifies opposition to the Campus Plan. Nonetheless, ANC3E believes that creating additional on-campus housing is preferable to displacing existing housing and recommends the University create new on campus housing whenever possible. The University proposes to build 500 new beds on campus in order to house more students and ANC3E supports this proposed development.
Whereas, [Enrollment] the Plan states that it will abide by an overall enrollment cap of 14,380 for all students including a 2,000 student cap for the Tenley Campus. Student enrollment assessment has changed in the 2016 Zoning Regulations, adding additional students and locations not counted in previous Campus Plans which is reflected in the new cap of 14,380 versus the old cap of 13,600. ANC3E has reviewed the methodology the University used to arrive at this new cap number and agrees with the result. A more detailed analysis is contained in the Campus Plan document
ANC3E supports the cap.
Whereas, [Transportation] The Plan’s Comprehensive Transportation Review (CTR) foresees no significant impact from the proposed developments. ANC3E recognizes that the University initiated and completed its CTR in the very earliest stages of the process and appreciates the time this allowed us to analyze, process and comment on it. ANC3E sees no significant impact from the Campus Plan but did ask for several issues be addressed including: the impact of the Shuttle Bus stop located at the rear of the Spring Valley Building on 48th Street, the impact of For-hire vehicles such as Uber and Lyft doing drop-offs and pickups on the surrounding community, the continuation and enhancement of the Good Neighbor Parking Policy, supporting increased bicycle use and infrastructure, addressing transportation impacts of special events and in particular managing bus traffic and idling, and lastly, the assurance that adequate parking exists in coordination with a holistic approach to minimizing and mitigating vehicular trips to and from the campus.
AU has addressed each of these concerns in the Campus Plan including: agreeing to move the Shuttle Bus stop on 48th Street to Massachusetts Avenue, working with DDOT and the Transportation & Parking Working Group to mitigate the impacts of For-hire vehicles, continuing and enhancing the Good Neighbor Parking Policy, working with the ANC and DDOT to identify bicycle infrastructure opportunities especially along Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues and in adding new Capital Bikeshare stations and expanding existing stations and working towards realizing those opportunities, work with the Neighborhood Partnership to establish guidelines for special events that anticipate and mitigate their impacts, and agree to a maximum of 3000 parking spaces are available while continuing to implement proactive parking pricing policies in order to discourage Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trips to campus.
ANC3E also recognizes the need to monitor the Campus Plan’s compliance with its commitments and supports the University’s proposal to establish a TDM dashboard in order to make the data public and readily available.
Whereas, [Neighborhood Relations] During the 2011 Campus Plan process, ANC3E made clear its dissatisfaction with how the University was handling student behavior, particularly students in off-campus housing. AU responded with several strategies to address the issues and the Neighborhood Partnership placed particular emphasis on ensuring that a) students are well-informed of the University’s expectations regarding their behavior via the Good Neighbor Guidelines and its relation to the Student Code of Conduct and b) the application of these expectations via the Student Code of Conduct. The University has pledged to work closely with the Partnership and the ANC to monitor the effectiveness of the program and to adjust it as needed. ANC3E believes the University and the proposed Campus Plan satisfactorily addresses these concerns and provides the necessary processes to manage them on an ongoing basis.
Now therefore be it resolved
- ANC 3E encourages AU, and respectfully asks that the ZC likewise encourage the University, when possible, to develop new housing versus displacing existing housing within the community, in line with ANC3E’s desire to increase the available housing stock whenever possible.
- The Zoning Commission approve the 2021 Campus Plan as developed by American University and the American University Neighborhood Partnership.
- ANC 3E authorizes Commissioners Jonathan McHugh and Tom Quinn to testify for the ANC at any proceedings connected to the above-referenced application.
ANC 3E approved this resolution at its meeting on December 10th, 2020 which was properly noticed and at which a quorum was present. The resolution was approved by a vote of x-x-x. Commissioners Jonathan Bender, Jonathan McHugh, Amy Hall, and Tom Quinn were present.
By Jonathan Bender, Chairperson
1/ 5.11 SUBTITLE X SECTION 101.16: A FURTHER PROCESSING OF A CAMPUS BUILDING SHALL NOT BE FILED SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH A FULL CAMPUS PLAN APPLICATION
2/ 5.6 SUBTITLE X SECTION 101.9: FURTHER PROCESSING FOR SPECIFIC BUILDINGS, STRUCTURES, AND USE
 5.6 Subtitle X Section 101.9: Further Processing of Specific Buildings, Structures, And Uses…
 Subtitle X Section 101.16 IBID
 Under Community Liaison Committee (“CLC”) #60. For the reasons stated in the Conclusions of Law, the Commission finds no violation by the University of Condition No. 17.
 In its updated Campus Plan the University retains the policy that Master Leases that cover all or almost all of the units in a building would count toward the 67% bed requirement. With regard to all other proposed Master Leases, the University would present the proposed Master Lease to ANC3D and ANC3E during their regular meetings and the ANCs would then have the opportunity to address the matter with the public at their next regularly scheduled meeting, should they see fit. Then, the approval of the lease as counting toward the 67% requirement would be addressed by the Partnership, on whose Steering Committee ANC3D and ANC3E representatives serve.
 Due to pending development behind the Spring Valley Building at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW and at the request of ANC3E, AU is currently pursuing a change to the location of the Spring Valley Building bus stop on the Red Route from 48th Street, NW to in front of 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW to alleviate the need for the shuttle to utilize the neighborhood streets.