President and Directors of Georgetown College v. District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
837 A.2d 58 (2003)
The campus of Georgetown College (plaintiff) consisted of 104 acres located in the Georgetown Historic District in Washington, D.C. The Burleith and Hillandale neighborhoods were located north of the campus. Georgetown had an enrollment cap of 5,627 based on its 1990 Campus Plan as approved by the District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) (defendant). Georgetown planned to build a new 780-bed residence hall, the Southwest Quadrangle, to provide additional on-campus housing for students. Georgetown requested that the BZA increase its enrollment cap by 389 students to 6,016, but only after the Southwest Quadrangle was completed. At the hearing to consider Georgetown’s enrollment-cap increase, the BZA received testimony and evidence from groups both in favor of, and opposed to, the cap increase. Specifically, the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods complained that students living off campus were causing issues in their neighborhoods, including misconduct, loud noise, disruptive behavior, parking issues, and poor upkeep of rental properties. The BZA found that the number of students living off campus had an adverse impact on the surrounding communities. Though the BZA acknowledged the completion of the Southwest Quadrangle, it determined that it could not conclusively find that the new dormitory would alleviate the adverse impact of students living off campus. Therefore, the BZA ordered that the 5,627 enrollment cap be continued in Georgetown’s 2000 Campus Plan. Georgetown filed a lawsuit challenging the BZA’s ruling.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Schwelb, J.)
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