Alexandria Waterfront News Update — Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Dear Friend of the Alexandria Waterfront, here is an important update on key waterfront issues:
Congratulations to Allison Silberberg
FAW congratulates Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg on her victory in the June 9 Democratic primary for Mayor. Allison has been a strong supporter of reasonable, historically compatible development of the Alexandria waterfront that enhances, not detracts from, the historic character of Old Town. The Republicans did not nominate a candidate to challenge Allison in the November 3 General Election. Therefore, unless a write-in candidate can successfully challenge Allison on November 3, she will become Alexandria’s mayor in January. Until then, she will continue to serve as vice mayor. The six other seats on Council also will be filled in the November 3 election.
Virginia Supreme Court denies petition for rehearing in waterfront litigation
Last Friday, the Virginia Supreme Court issued an order denying a petition for a rehearing of the Court’s March 27 affirmation of an Alexandria Circuit Court decision upholding the manner in which city officials, notably former Planning Director Faroll Hamer, short-circuited the zoning protest provisions of the City Charter and zoning ordinance. By refusing to accept petitions challenging the rezoning of the waterfront, Hamer prevented the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals from considering the zoning protest. The Supreme Court’s decision is most unfortunate as it has negative citywide implications, but the Court’s denial brings the waterfront litigation to an end. Carr City Centers can begin construction of its hotel at Duke and South Union, which it anticipates will occur later this month.
Carr hotel construction could begin later this month
At the June 8 meeting of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group for Waterfront Construction, a timetable for the various waterfront construction projects was included in this presentation to the Monitoring Group: http://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/special/WaterfrontPlan/AdHocPowerPresentation8June2015.pdf That timetable will be found on page 5 of the presentation. Carr’s project schedule is shown on page 7.
On May 29, Carr sent a letter to “adjacent neighbors” offering to provide photographs of houses and other structures within 200 feet of the hotel site most likely to be impacted by construction of the hotel. Attached is a copy of that letter. The purpose of these photographs is to document the structures’ current condition should there be subsequent damage from pile-driving and other excavation-related activities. Although it is not easy to see, a dotted line on the map on page 8 of the presentation shows the perimeter of the area where Carr has offered to take these photographs on June 24 and 25. Building owners were to request these photographs by last Friday, June 12. FAW will ask Carr and City officials to extend this deadline so that those affected property owners who are just now finding out about this photography offer can sign up for it.
BAR hearing tonight on demolition of the historic Alexandria Marine building
Tonight, June 17, at 7:30 p.m., the Board of Architectural Review for the Old & Historic District (BAR) will meet in the Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall to consider a request by EYA to demolish the historic Alexandria Marine building at 226 Strand Street. That now-vacant building is just north of Point Lumley Park and across Strand from the site of the proposed Carr hotel. Here is the link to agenda for the BAR meeting: https://alexandria.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=367183&GUID=0675C340-773C-4BAF-967E-C452B04691EB Here is the link to the application to demolish the building: http://alexandria.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=69391acd-1327-4458-b078-2e598f420d3d.pdf Here is the link to the staff report on this demolition proposal: http://alexandria.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=841e17a2-4d55-4aed-9601-fd298a7567a4.pdf Members of the public can speak for up to three minutes tonight about this demolition proposal, which is docket item number 9.
This historic structure, which was likely constructed in the late 1890s, is located on the site where, according to the Waterfront Plan, a civic building will eventually be constructed. Although no specific plans have been developed for the use of this civic building, potentially it could house the soon-to-be-homeless Alexandria Seaport Foundation and its boat-building activities; those activities have been housed in the soon-to-be-demolished Robinson Terminal South building. There is no reason why the existing building at 226 Strand could not be incorporated in the construction of the proposed civic building. Here is an article in yesterday’s Washington Business Journal about the history of this building: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2015/06/from-bone-mill-to-acid-house-this-old-town.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2015-06-16&u=oyiD5fTZLNCAgAAXoZs69RVtE+&t=1434490655
Architectural symposium this coming Friday and Saturday June 19-20
Alexandria’s Department of Planning & Zoning will host a symposium on contemporary architecture in Alexandria this coming Friday evening, June 19, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday, June 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The symposium, which will be held at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, will feature guest speakers and explore what Alexandria’s urban fabric might look like in 50 years. Some are concerned that the intent of this symposium is to open the door to more contemporary architecture in Old Town, thereby undermining historic preservation in the Old & Historic District. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are strongly encouraged. Here is the link to information about this symposium, where you will find a link to an RSVP form: http://www.alexandriava.gov/planning/info/default.aspx?id=84690
Next OTAPS meeting on Wednesday, June 24
The next, and possibly final, meeting of the Old Town Area Parking Study Group (OTAPS) will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at 6:00 p.m. in the Sister Cities Conference Room. The agenda for this meeting will be posted in the near future on the OTAPS webpage, which will be found here: https://alexandriava.gov/tes/info/default.aspx?id=77053. The Group is supposed to finalize its recommendations regarding changes in parking rules and policies for Old Town.
Please contact us if you have questions about what is happening along the waterfront. Also visit www.alexandriawaterfront.org for up-to-date news about waterfront issues.
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Bert and Mark
Bert Ely and Mark Mueller, Co-chairs of Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront
Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront lets Old Town Post publish their newsletters to our readership. Please consider getting involved with the organization. The organization is free to join though contributions are welcome. You can sign-up to become a FAWer by clicking http://www.alexandriawaterfront.org.