Testimony: Support for D.C.’s Tenley Campus Law School Relocation and Construction Plan

December 1, 2011

Mr. Anthony Hood, Chairman
Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW, Suite 210 South
Washington, DC 20001

Support: Case No. 11-07B, American University – 2011-2020 Campus Plan for the Relocation and Construction of the Washington College of Law at the Tenley Campus

Dear Chairman Hood and members of the Commission:

Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, a regional organization based in the District of Columbia focused on ensuring transportation and development decisions are made with genuine community involvement and accommodate growth while revitalizing communities, providing more housing and travel choices, and conserving our natural and historic areas.

We are here to express our support for the proposed actions under Case No. 11-07B by American University. Moving the AU law school to the Tenley location will take advantage of excellent transit access by Metrorail and Metrobus, and contribute to greater vitality for Wisconsin Avenue as a major commercial corridor. The Tenley campus plan sensitively increases capacity for the law school while respecting its historic buildings and neighbors.

I also note that our office is a block from Tenley circle, next to the Metro station on Wisconsin Avenue, so we very much welcome our new Law School neighbors We view this move as a benefit to everyone. More broadly, we recognize that universities play a vital role in the city’s economy and offer stable employment for a broad range of workers. We want to help universities take full advantage of D.C.’s assets while pursuing their mission, encourage investment in the city, and contribute to a better surrounding community.

With respect to the specifics of this proposal, we concur with the thoughtful testimony by Ward3Vision. We agree that the front of the law school needs to better connect to Wisconsin Avenue. We appreciate the limitations of historic preservation goals for the buildings and the green space, but we ask that a plaza and a kiosk or vendor cart be encouraged to enliven the space between the buildings and Wisconsin Avenue to create a more people-oriented place.