Dear Friend of the Alexandria Waterfront, here is an important update on key waterfront issues:
Windmill Hill Park Shoreline Groundbreaking tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 22
The groundbreaking for the long-delayed rebuilding of the Windmill Hill Park shoreline will be held tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 22) from 8:00 to 9:30, just prior to the start of City Council’s monthly public hearing. The park is at 501 South Union. Construction activities are scheduled to begin this spring with substantial completion by summer 2018; hopefully some trees will be planted as part of that project to bring much-needed shade to the park. Here is the link to the city website for this project: https://www.alexandriava.gov/recreation/info/default.aspx?id=88830 and the link for the announcement of the groundbreaking:http://apps.alexandriava.gov/Calendar/Detail.aspx?si=15813
Ad Hoc Monitoring Group on Waterfront Construction will meet a week from this coming Monday, May 1
The next meeting of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group on Waterfront Construction will be held at 5:00 p.m. a week from coming Monday, May 1. The meeting most likely will be held in the Sister Cities conference room, which can be entered from City Hall’s Cameron Street lobby. Prior to the start of the meeting, the agenda for the meeting as well as the minutes of the last Ad Hoc meeting, on April 3, will be posted in the Meetings & Materials section of the Monitoring Group’s website: https://www.alexandriava.gov/special/waterfront/default.aspx?id=82590#Purpose.
City staff will present an update on numerous issues related to waterfront developments, notably at Robinson Terminal South (RTS). The most recent (April 10, 2017) construction update for Robinson Landing (RTS) will be found here: https://www.eya.com/robinson-landing/Construction-update_4_10_2017.pdf Here is the link to the latest (March 31, 2017) Waterfront construction Living Timeline: https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/special/WaterfrontPlan/info/ConstructionSchedule31March2017.pdf
Hopefully we will get an update on the much-delayed Robinson Terminal North (RTN) project on North Union between Oronoco and Pendleton, including when a new Development Special Use Permit application for the development of the project’s west parcel, on the west side of North Union, will be submitted to the City. Initially a hotel was to be built on that parcel; now condominiums plus limited retail space, including possibly a restaurant, are planned for that site. Hopefully, too, we will get an update on the status of a long-overdue report on the soil conditions at RTN as well as the approved truck routes for hauling soil away from and to RTN.
A proposal for a 64-room “boutique” hotel at 115 South Union could go to the Planning Commission in June
Although a hotel supposedly is not financially feasible at RTN, the Planning Commission is likely to consider as early as its June 6 meeting a proposal to convert the nearly vacant office building at 115 South Union into a 64-room “boutique” hotel that also would have a restaurant and bar with 115 indoor seats plus 20 outdoor seats. This hotel would be just one block north of the soon-to-open Indigo Hotel at Duke and South Union, which also will have a restaurant and outdoor seating. This hotel proposal follows the City’s rejection of a plan to convert the building into apartments due to floodplain issues that will not arise if the building is converted to a hotel.
The proposed Old Town Business Improvement District (BID) is moving forward despite increasing opposition to it
A proposal to create a special taxing district, called a Business Improvement District, or BID, that would encompass much of Old Town’s commercial area continues to move forward despite growing opposition from Old Town residents, businesses, and property owners. The BID, which would collect about $2 million annually from an additional tax on commercial real estate in Old Town, would be created by City Council enactment of an ordinance that would specify the boundaries of the BID. That possibly could happen before Council breaks for its summer recess. If that ordinance is adopted, the next year would be devoted to getting the BID organized, with directors elected by the property owners who would be taxed to pay the BID’s operating expenses. Here is the link to the website established by the BID’s promoters: www.OldTownBID.com. The map on this webpage, https://www.oldtownbid.com/old-town-bid-proposal, shows in gray the portion of Old Town that would lie within the BID; commercial properties in the gray area would be subject to an additional real estate tax of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value. Here is the link to an article in this week’s Alexandria Times about Alexandria’s BIDding wars: http://alextimes.com/2017/04/clash-over-proposed-business-improvement-district-heats-up/
Petition for better air-quality monitoring at Robinson Terminal South
As anyone living near Robinson Terminal South (RTS) knows, air-quality issues arose during the demolition of the RTS buildings. Air-quality continues to be a concern as EYA prepares the site to meet FEMA flood-plain requirements. It will then excavate the dirt brought in to elevate the site as well as contaminated soil for the underground garage that will be built. These same air-quality issues, and the need to monitor air quality, will arise at Robinson Terminal North when construction there finally begins. FAWers are urged to sign an on-line petition requesting the City to take the necessary steps to ensure that Old Town Alexandria’s air is safe. Here is the link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/we-must-have-a-credible-air-monitoring-system-for-the-rts-project?recruiter=593714918&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.