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City Council Settles on Smaller Waterfront Work Group

Eight-person group will deliver report in the fall

The Alexandria City Council approved the creation of a new work group Tuesday charged with addressing outstanding issues with the city’s controversial waterfront plan.

The council accepted Rob Krupicka’s proposal of an eight-person group composed of five citizens at-large, one member of the Waterfront Committee, one member of the Old Town Citizens Association and one member of the City Council, who will not vote.

“We need to bring in new voices… maybe ask different questions and bridge gaps,” Councilman Krupicka said. “All should have qualifications, reputations in the community that has us feeling they’re fair in their decisions.”

The members of the group will be appointed by Mayor Bill Euille.

The City Council discussed groups ranging from 12 to 16 members with representatives from different organizations at Saturday’s public hearing. Councilwoman Alicia Hughes asked Saturday that other civic groups be considered, as well as a member of the Old Dominion Boat Club.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Del Pepper reiterated that she would like to have a member of the city’s Archeology Commission in the group.

“There are certainly many ways to skin a cat,” Euille said.

“I’d like a member of the planning commission in the group, but this [eight-person] group affords different perspectives and is small enough for a good discussion,” Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said Tuesday.

Krupicka said the Old Town Citizens Association and the Waterfront Committee are represented because they have “been involved since the very beginning.” He encouraged every stakeholder to attend the workgroup meetings, which will be held throughout the summer.

According to a city memo, the work group will be charged with identifying elements of the plan where this agreement and then focus attention on remaining issues where large divides remain, including the addition of hotels and more parks and cultural uses.

The group wouldn’t need to develop a consensus on every issue or even take formal votes. The group would categorize outstanding issues that should be addressed in the actual waterfront plan and those that are better addressed in the planning implementation phase.

The group will report to City Council in the fall. Council hopes to vote on the waterfront plan before the end of the year.

“This is a positive thing, not a negative thing,” Krupicka said. “This is a once in a lifetime thing to create something our kids and grandkids can enjoy.”

Joe Cantwell June 29, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Positive next step in the process.
Andrew Macdonald June 30, 2011 at 12:21 AM
We are very pleased that the City Council recognized the need to consider waterfront alternatives that have been proposed by citizens, but very disappointed that the Council did not see fit to appoint us to the new waterfront working group last night along with Old Town Civic and the City-appointed Waterfront Committee. We are still hoping that Mayor Bill Euille will remedy this oversight and ensure that CAAWP is represented as an at-large voting member. We have worked hard to seek public input on the plan as a community-based organization. In fact we are not waiting for the new working group to take their seats. We have already begun to explore a number of other alternatives -- indeed one of our 12 citizen working groups is studying the lessons that other waterfront town have learned in their effort to redevelop their waterfronts. In short, we are engaged already in trying to find elements of a plan that are right for a historic town like Alexandria. If appointed to the new group by the Mayor , we will bring all this citizen expertise with us. Only the most cynical would say that citizens who care deeply enough about their town to spend hundreds of hours looking for solutions -- after finally getting the attention of our elected officials - are not open minded and deserving of a seat at this table. Andrew Macdonald Former Vice Mayor Co-Chair Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan (CAAWP) www.AlternativeAlexandriaWaterfrontPlan.com
William Rogalski, Jr. June 30, 2011 at 01:33 AM
The City Council's decision to postpone a vote on the waterfront plan and appoint a working group to help define alternatives that are acceptable to as many people as possible are steps in the right direction. On the other hand it is essential that this group represents a broad spectrum of Alexandria's citizens and presents real alternatives to to the exisitng plan, which is badly flawed. The working group should not just work around the edges of this plan, since this will not address many of its fundamental problems; instead, it should be open to real public input and be innovative with respect to new solutions that truly balance benefits and costs, both physical and fiscal. The exclusion of a representative from such organizations such as Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan (CAAWP) is a cause for some concern with respect to how seriously the working group may consider the input of the current plan's opponents. CAAWP represents an ever broadening segment of the City's population on this issue, and has worked to ensure any waterfront development effort respects the unique aspects of Old Town, while also maximizing its benefit to all of Alexandria's citizens and visitors. As they learn about the waterfront plan many people throughout Alexandria have become quite incensed, and it is absolutely critical that their voices be represented. CAAWP is an organization that is able to help accomplish this.

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