North Old Town residents are pressing City Council to fund a revision of the community's small area plan while council is deliberating what to include in Alexandria's fiscal year 2014 budget.
“As we understand it, the resources in the planning department are limited and there are other parts of the city interested in having their plans updated, too,” Tom Soapes, president of the North Old Town Independent Citizens’ Association of Alexandria, or NOTICe, told Patch.
Soapes noted that it has been more than 20 years since the North Old Town small area plan has seen any significant revisions "although it’s been amended a few times," he said.
“We need an updating… We’re working on the larger picture. There’s just so much going on,” he told Patch. “It’s not just the power plant – that’s of course critical – but things like the Bus Barn, the ABC/Giant site and other places that are in play for change. We’d like to see the future of this area looked at more holistically.”
In a Jan. 17 letter to council, Soapes wrote: “The existing plan was adopted in 1992, and though it has been amended from time to time, there has not been a coherent revision or update. We believe that with the closing of the Mirant/GenOn Potomac River Generating Station in October of last year, this part of Alexandria faces significant changes in the coming years. When redevelopment of that site comes, those 25 acres will need to be rezoned to encompass more than the current “Utility” designation. We believe that to be prepared for new development on that site, the City should look at the whole North Old Town area.”
NOTICe has started to put together its vision for the area with the help of the citizen-run NOTICe Land Use Committee.
“None of the things happening in Alexandria are taking place in a vacuum,” Soapes said. “We’re going to try and look at this and come up with a vision statement of our own showing how our area connects with what’s going on at Potomac Yard and Old Town and its waterfront and the Braddock area. We want to be able to articulate that to the city.”