The City of Alexandria will wait to see what a court has to say about a recent lawsuit brought by a home owners association in Fairfax County that seeks to put a stop to a move of a Metro bus lot in Old Town Alexandria to Newington, Va.
“We’ve been wanting to get the bus mart out of Old Town for decades,” said Alexandria Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks. “It’s in the wrong place. It’s surrounded by residential development, and it’s an inadequate and unsafe workspace for the mechanics working on buses.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved a plan for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA, to move its bus lot at 600 N. Royal St. in Old Town to a spot on Cinder Bed Rd. in Fairfax County.
The Newberry Station HOA filed a complaint Apr. 6 in Fairfax County Circuit Court against the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, WMATA and site developer Iskalo CBR of Williamsville, N.Y.
The homeowners association says, among other things, that there is a violation of state conflict of interest laws because two of the Fairfax County supervisors also sit on the board of WMATA. The vote for WMATA’s proposal was 6-3 and the two supervisors who site on WMATA’s board voted in favor of the proposal. The board members noted their WMATA connections prior to the vote.
The mayor of Alexandria also sits on the WMATA board.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova abstained from voting on the matter, citing that she had received a campaign donation in excess of $100 from McGuire Woods, the law firm representing developer Iskalo, according to Lorton Patch.
The lawsuit “in the short term probably doesn’t change the schedule of the project,” Jinks said, adding that Alexandria is assuming Fairfax County followed its procedures and policies correctly but “we’ll have to see what the court says...We’re not in a position to make judgment.”
Jinks said Alexandria anticipates it will take about two years to get a new project completed at the site on Royal St. and hopes that when Metro moves out the bus mart will be able to be torn down immediately.
“At some point in the next year, we would hope WMATA would start to undertake the process of selling land in Old Town,” said Jinks. “We want to give plenty of opportunity for the people who live around that particular site to weigh in on issues like design and density.”
Lorton Patch Editor Shawn Drury contributed to this report.