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Expanded Law School on Tenley Campus Tenley Campus Neighbors Association, Inc. Tenleytown Neighbors Association. Who We Are. Tenley Campus Neighbors Association, Inc. (TCNA)—re-formed in 2010 by neighboring property owners to preserve the historic, residential character of their community

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Who we are
Expanded Law School on Tenley CampusTenley Campus Neighbors Association, Inc. Tenleytown Neighbors Association

Who we are
Who We Are

  • Tenley Campus Neighbors Association, Inc. (TCNA)—re-formed in 2010 by neighboring property owners to preserve the historic, residential character of their community

  • Tenley Neighbors Association—formed in 1990 to enhance the Tenleytown neighborhood

  • Together these groups represent approximately 200 taxpaying households in ANCs 3E and 3F

  • Many others have signed petitions opposing the AU Campus Plan for Tenley (See TCNA Supplement).

Tcna and tna oppose the au plan as presented
TCNA and TNA Oppose the AU Plan as Presented

  • Inappropriate use per history of site (both prior rulings and 1986 Agreement)

  • Numerous Objectionable Conditions

  • Number of Students, Faculty & Staff (500% increase)

  • Traffic and parking impacts are unacceptable

  • Plan still does not meet DC requirements for a campus plan and any “further processing” hearings should be postponed

  • Current record also shows that the Plan fails to meet standard for “special exception” and should be rejected

  • Substantial conditions are justified

A neighborhood of single family homes
A Neighborhood of Single Family Homes

  • Tenley site is R-1-B district: “designed to protect, quiet residential areas;”“only a few additional compatible uses shall be permitted” (Cited in June 2, OP report)

Site history the 1986 agreement
Site History--The 1986 Agreement

  • In 1985, AU purchased the Tenley site as the proposed site of law school (approximately 1,000 students)

  • Neighbors objected to proposed “special exception” based on exact same rule in effect today. 11 DCMR 210.2

  • BZA granted a special exception, but imposed the conditions which were agreed to by AU and ANC3-E, on behalf of neighbors

  • The 1986 Agreement (Exhibit A to TCNA Pre-Hearing Statement) has no termination provision

  • In 2001, ZC “expresses no opinion” as to enforceability of 1986 Agreement (ZC Order No. 949 at 31)

The 1986 agreement remains appropriate baseline
The 1986 Agreement Remains Appropriate Baseline

  • 1986 Agreement remains the approved baseline for appropriate development at this low density, single family home, R-1-B zoned site

  • The 1986 Agreement conditions roughly consistent with use as former Immaculata School:

    • Student population cap of 500

    • Faculty and staff capped at 125

    • No student cars allowed on campus

    • Future uses to be compatible with Washington Semester program

  • In 2001, ZC approved “Project M” for Tenley, with conditions (increased cap but limited it to just 700 students)

  • What AU proposes now is more than four times “Project M”

Tcna tna approach to au campus plan
TCNA/TNA Approach to AU Campus Plan

  • Our policy--to engage AU and seek a middle way

  • In December 2010 retained expert architects and planners at our own expense to work on design

  • Structured a detailed, written compromise to protect west end (via easement) in March 2011

  • But AU never even responded

  • No “good faith” negotiations over the basic issues, only the design features, since March

The au approach to campus planning
The AU Approach to Campus Planning

  • Ignore ANC and neighbors requests for information

  • Brush off City Council concerns

  • Create appearance of process/listening

  • Invest heavily in PR/Legal

  • Use design discussions to avoid underlying issues

  • Cynically “spin” community involvement in its ZC filings

Au s approach in their own words
AU’s Approach (in their own words)

  • “Keep in mind that 10 years ago, and even 20 years ago, our plans were not approved by the ANC…And yet nonetheless we’re able to prevail…” David Taylor, quoted in Current newspaper

  • Quotes from AU administrators (found on AU’s own site):

    • “There will be a fight at the ZC so I don’t think cataloging a list of issues and then chugging through it is helpful.”

    • “If you leave Dunblane [historic site], gives neighbors idea AU won’t build there at next campus plan (makes them happy)”

Virtually all neighboring homeowners object to tenley plan
Virtually All Neighboring Homeowners Object to Tenley Plan


= Against the relocation of the law school to the Tenley Campus

Owned by AU

= Owned by the Catholic Church

Objection number of students faculty and staff
Objection--Number of Students, Faculty and Staff

  • AU plans to at least quintuple density of use—like moving an entire small college to low density, residential site!

  • AU has withheld data on future enrollment in rapidly growing special programs (symposia, CLE, part-time offerings)

  • According to US News, AU law school is already one of largest in US

  • Law school is hugely profitable--$43,458 tuition

  • “Off cap” enrollment grew from approx. 1,400 in 2001 to approx. 1,770 today

Objection number of students faculty and staff1
Objection--Number of Students, Faculty and Staff

AU’s makes extraordinary claim that no adverse impact because only 800 students on site at any one time, but…

No basis in record for this number

Number is ludicrous on its face (approx. 600 1L’s alone)

The zoning standard doesn’t say peak use

Total level of activity outside the building that counts—even AU’s error-filled traffic report shows 1,200 drivers

Objection traffic and parking impacts will be significant
Objection--Traffic and Parking Impacts Will Be Significant

  • TCNA/TNA traffic expert concluded that the assumptions and methodology used in AU’s traffic study are deeply flawed

  • Even using AU’s “facts” – our expert estimates three times more trips than AU

  • Current plan virtually guarantees heavy traffic flow onto neighborhood streets, especially Warren and Yuma

Objections traffic and parking
Objections—Traffic and Parking

  • Illegal parking by students and visitors is a long-time sore point at current law school

  • To park at AU today, students are charged $996 per year, faculty pay $1440; so they routinely park on neighborhood streets (approx. 4,800 tickets issued per year)

  • No AU restrictions on parking on residential streets by attendees of CLE classes or the many other daily activities.

  • After two-years of promises to ANC 3E, AU has still not proposed any credible parking enforcement solutions!

  • Parking impacts will occur both sides of the Tenley Circle

Traffic and parking metro is no magic bullet
Traffic and Parking- Metro is No “Magic Bullet”

  • Virtually all faculty and staff will drive and require parking

  • Only 15% of students and even less of the faculty use Metro now. (Two-thirds of the faculty do not live or pay taxes in DC. )

  • All AU projections exclude future growth in special events, programs and part-time users.

  • Do the math--even if one uses AU’s projections, the increased number of users (at least 500) cancels out most of the projected local benefit (higher percent of bigger number).

  • And, all this is in addition to whatever happens at current law school…

Objections loss of green space
Objections –Loss of “Green Space”

  • AU site plan reduces important neighborhood “green space”

  • Beautiful west side of property extends ¼ mile into neighborhood

  • AU’s initial plan was to raze historic “Dunblane”

  • Still no long-term protection for “green space” around “Dunblane”

Objection proposed buildings are out of scale
Objection—Proposed Buildings Are Out of Scale Street view

  • Scale of project is just too big for R-1-B District!

  • The obvious solution is to reduce the campus population

  • And AU site design still ignores many “principles” agreed to by ANC3E/OP (per AU site plan July 21, 2011)

    • Compatibility with historic buildings

    • Building presence on Yuma – minimize lighting, keep building heights below trees, residential feel

    • Western side of site – minimize construction or no construction ever

    • Minimize additional traffic on Yuma and 42nd Street.

    • Be mindful of traffic and safety concerns on Nebraska.

    • Minimize impervious surfaces and maximize tree canopy.

    • Do not add to on-street parking demand.

After two years campus plan re tenley remains incomplete
After Two Years, Campus Plan re Tenley Street viewRemains Incomplete

  • 11 DCMR 210.4 states that, “as a prerequisite to requesting a special exception,” applicant must include details of all proposed activities (special events etc.)

  • AU provided inaccurate data on existing “special” uses to OP, and still omits important details of expanded future uses

  • Per DDOT, AU traffic plan still does not meet DDOT requirements

  • “Special processing” hearings are inappropriate until all DC requirements are fully met

  • And OP reports based on incomplete information should be given little weight

Au proposal fails to meet zoning standard
AU Proposal Fails to Meet Zoning Standard Street view

  • DC law is clear—AU has no matter of right use in residential neighborhood. Glenbrook Road Ass’n v. District of Columbia Bd. of Zoning, 605 A2d. 22, 26 (DC 1992)

  • Courts have rejected proposals very similar to AU’s. Marjorie Webster Junior College, Inc, v. District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment, 309 A.2d 314 (DC 1973).

  • Plan as proposed is clearly “objectionable” to neighboring property owners.

  • AU has therefore failed to meet the burden of proof for “special exception” in 11 DCMR 210.2;

  • “Special exception” was never intended as a “loophole” for universities to do as they please!

Baseline conditions must be imposed even at this stage
Baseline Conditions Must Be Imposed Even at this Stage Street view

  • The Tenley plan should be rejected outright, but if it goes forward, there must be extensive conditions imposed to limit size, massing, traffic and parking, and to protect “green space”

  • #1--The AU population should be capped at no more than the size of the current law program; this cap should include CLE participants and all special programs and special events on the site

  • AU already has an adequate facility for the current law school and could easily leave programs (e.g. the first year program) at that site

  • AU’s desire to grow must be balanced with need to respect and preserve the quality of life for District residents in this R-1-B district