Alexandria Waterfront News Update –Thursday, September 15 2016 | Bert Ely and Mark Mueller | Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront


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Dear Friend of the Alexandria Waterfront, here is an important update on key waterfront issues:


Important news from Monday’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group on Waterfront Construction


Important news about both the Robinson Terminal South (RTS) and Robinson Terminal North (RTN) projects was reported and discussed at Monday’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group.


Robinson Terminal South


At RTS, property surveys have been expanded to 150 properties nearest to RTS; 85 surveys have been completed and the balance are supposed to be finished within the two weeks.  It reportedly takes a week to produce a survey report, but Seismic Surveys, Inc., the firm conducting the surveys, is running behind in sending out the reports; most reports should be sent within the next two weeks.  Questions about the survey process, including obtaining a copy of a survey report, should be directed to Adam Hayes, EYA’s project leader for the RTS project.  His email address is: ahayes@eya.com.


There was a related discussion of damage claims.  EYA’s risk manager, Tim Kraft, explained that a “protocol” is being developed for the handling of damage claims.  Under that protocol, submitted claims will be reviewed by an adjuster for EYA’s insurance company and then, presumably, payment will be made to the homeowner.  Once that protocol is finalized, it will be posted on the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group’s website.  While Kraft will be the point of contact for handling damage claims, initial complaints about property damage should be emailed to Adam Hayes.  Anyone filing a claim with EYA also should advise their insurance agent of the damage and the filing of a claim with EYA.


One aspect of the survey process is the monitoring of visible cracks in affected properties.  Upon request, a “crack gauge” can be installed to monitor the extent to which a crack noted during the survey widens during the construction process.  Requests for installation of a crack gauge should be emailed to Adam Hayes.


Demolition activities will continue over the next 2 to 2 1/2 weeks, including crushing of pieces of RTS’s concrete slab for fill material.  Dust control consists of spraying water on the dust created during the crushing process.  Conflicting opinions were expressed as to the amount of “fugitive” dust landing on nearby homes, cars, and personnel possessions.  However, the water spray can be adjusted if too much dust is escaping the RTS site.  Complaints about dust should be emailed to Adam Hayes as well as to Emilio Pundavela, who is monitoring the RTS project on behalf of the City; his email address is:emilio.pundavela@alexandriava.gov


There was extensive discussion about rodent control and nearby home invasions by rodents driven away from RTS during the demolition process.  Presumably the rodent problem will lessen once demolition has been completed.  Complaints about rodents should be emailed to Adam Hayes as well as to Emilio Pundavela.


Other news about RTS.  Ten seismic monitors have been installed in private properties near RTS to measure the vibrations reaching those properties; six of those properties are historic buildings.  Seismic updates are being released on Fridays.  Violations of the designated truck haul route were discussed, specifically reports of trucks traveling east and west on Wolfe.  Trucks going to and from RTS are supposed to travel on Franklin and Gibbon.  Five air-quality monitors have been placed around the site, but are being moved periodically as the demolition work proceeds.  The propriety of moving these monitors has been question by a citizen expert in these matters.  A question was asked about pile-driving at RTS once construction begins.  Adam Hayes stated that pile-driving “was very unlikely” but he could not state with certainty that there will be no pile-driving.


Robinson Terminal North


Ken Wire, the McGuireWoods attorney representing CityInterests and Rooney Properties, the owner/developers of RTN, confirmed that the developers were unable to find a hotel operator for the planned hotel for the project as well as additional equity investors in the project.  Consequently, the RTN development project is “on hold.”  The financial outlook for the project also has turned negative, with construction costs likely to be higher than previously estimated while revenue projections are flat, instead of higher as previously estimated.  Consequently, these problems are forcing a fundamental reconsideration of the design of the RTN project on both sides of North Union Street.


Any material change in the design of the project will require City Council to amend the Development Special Use Permit (DSUP) it previously  adopted for the project or approve a new DSUP.  Any Council action on the RTN DSUP will open the door to reconsidering all aspects of the project, such as how contaminated soil is hauled away from RTN.  Barging as an option will be back on the table.


Wire also mentioned that soil and water samples at RTN have been taken and submitted to a laboratory for analysis, which should take six to eight weeks to complete.  The reports of these analyses should be available to the public “around the end of the year.”  Because  of the RTN project halt, no demolition work will be done for the foreseeable future and North Union will remain open to traffic.


Other waterfront projects


A brief update was provided about the construction of the new Boat Club building at Strand and Duke.  So far, that project has not generated any controversy.  There will be no pile-driving for that project.


There also was discussion about the bulkheading project at Windmill Hill Park.  A 12-month construction period will start in the very near future.  City staff was urged to hold a public meeting before construction begins to inform nearby residents as to what the project will entail and what will be done to protect nearby residents, especially at Harborside and Fords Landing, from vibrations, rodents, and other negative construction effects.


Two perennial construction problems — truck route violations and parking enforcement — were discussed.  Reportedly, more parking tickets are being issued to construction workers illegally parking on nearby streets.  Residents are encourage to take photos and videos of illegally parked cars as well as trucks traveling on a street that is not a designated haul route and email them to Pundavela.  Here is the link to the most recent timeline for the waterfront construction projects: https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/special/WaterfrontPlan/info/AdHocLivingConstructionSchedule_08_05_16.pdf


Further updates about waterfront construction activities, and specifically what is and is not happening at RTN, will be provided at the Tuesday, September 20meeting of the City’s Waterfront Commission.  That meeting, which will begin at 7:30 a.m., will be held in the Sister Cities conference room, which can be entered from City Hall’s Cameron Street lobby.  Here is the link to the Waterfront Commission’s website: https://www.alexandriava.gov/recreation/info/default.aspx?id=25562


Motorcoach Task Force to meet this evening, Thursday, September 15


The City’s Motorcoach Task Force will meet this evening, Thursday, September 15, at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall’s Room 2000, which is on the second floor across from the elevators.  Here is the link to the meeting announcement: https://apps.alexandriava.gov/Calendar/Detail.aspx?si=14475


The key topic of discussion will be changes in and an increase in the number of locations where tour buses can load and unload passengers along and near the waterfront.  Where the buses load and unload has been controversial because of the resulting traffic and sidewalk congestion and the air pollution generated by idling buses.  Current loading/unloading locations are (1) behind the trolley-bus stop in the unit block of King Street, (2) Market Square (300 block of King Street), (3) in front of Gadsby’s Tavern, (4) on Washington Street in front of Christ Church, and (5) in front of the Lyceum.   Six additional loading and unloading locations the Task Force will consider: (1) 300 block of Cameron (behind City Hall), (2) both sides of the 100 block of North Royal, (3) 100 block of South Union (adjacent to the American Medical Group Building), and (4) the 100 and 200 blocks of North Union, across the street from the Torpedo Factory condominiums and Cameron Mews.


Here is the link to the webpage for the Motorcoach Task Force: https://www.alexandriava.gov/MotorcoachTaskForce


City Council meets this Saturday, starting with Open Mike


City Council will hold its first public hearing this Saturday following its summer recess.  The Council meets in the Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m.  Open Mike, officially called the Public Discussion Period, will begin shortly thereafter.  Members of the public can speak for up to three minutes on any topic other than an topic on the Council agenda that day.  Open Mike gives FAWers an excellent opportunity to speak to Council about any aspect of the waterfront construction projects that concerns them, such as vibration damage and dust particles caused by the RTS demolition, construction trucks traveling on streets that are not designated haul routes, parking violations, etc.  Citizens can register to speak in advance of the Council meeting by calling the City Clerk’s office (703-746-4550) or by registering on-line athttp://survey.alexandriava.gov/s3/City-Council-Speakers-Form Enter 2 in the Docket Item Number box.  You also can register when you come to the meeting; registration forms will be on a table in the back of the room.


Who to contact about waterfront construction problems


Here is who citizens should contact with regard to specific problems they encounter along the waterfront:

  • In a true emergencysituation (motor vehicle or bicycle accident, fire, explosion, etc.) call 911 immediately.  Be prepared to provide details of the emergency.
  • For non-emergency violations of law, call the City’s non-emergency number, 703-746-4444.  Non-emergency events are parking violations, dump trucks with uncovered loads, traffic violations, bicycles running stop signs, and the like.  Be prepared to provide details about the violation, such as vehicle license plate number, color, time of the violation, etc.
  • For civil violations, i.e., violations of construction permits for the waterfront projects or other complaints related to waterfront construction activities, please contact Emilio Pundavela, the City employee designated to receive these complaints.  You can call Emilio, day or night, on his cell phone:  571-221-8309.  You also can email him at:  emilio.pundavela@alexandriava.gov.  Civil violations include trucks not traveling over the designated haul route, excessive vibrations and noise from construction activities, construction workers parking on City streets instead of in the parking places designated for them, and any other violations for which the police cannot issue a ticket.


In addition to contacting Emilio, you also can bring your complaint to the City’s attention by registering it through Call-Click-Connect, using this link: http://request.alexandriava.gov/CCC/#tab=Find  City staff are supposed to respond to a complaint within five business days.  In order to track your complaint once it has been filed, you need to register with MyAlex, which you can do here:   https://apps.alexandriava.gov/Login/COARegister.aspx and click on Create account.  However, waterfront-related complaints requiring immediate attention should be phoned in to the police or brought to Emilio’s attention.

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.

Do you know someone who would like to or should be receiving the FAW waterfront News Updates?  If so, please go to www.alexandriawaterfront.org and click on the “Join Us” tab so that we can add their address to our email list.

Bert and Mark

Bert Ely and Mark Mueller, Co-chairs of Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront

Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront gives Old Town Post their newsletters to publish to our readership.  If you are not already, 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.

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