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Fossum Voted Off Alexandria Planning Commission

Maria Wasowski, Nate Macek and Derek Hyra appointed to influential board.

Donna Fossum, a member of the Alexandria Planning Commission for more than two decades, was voted off the prestigious board on Tuesday night.

Three new Planning Commission members were appointed by City Council—Maria Wasowski, Nate Macek and Derek Hyra.

Longtime commissioners Larry Robinson and Jessie Jennings stepped off the influential body, which makes recommendations to council on special use permits, requests for vacations or encroachments of public right-of-ways, rezonings, master plan amendments and other requests. Members also represent the Planning Commission on other city boards.  

“I didn’t get a single vote after 23 years on the Planning Commission,” Fossum told Patch. “I didn’t get a thank you. I have no idea of why. … Don’t waste your time helping the city because they don’t care.”

The West End resident represented the Planning Commission on the Transportation Commission and the Beauregard Rezoning Advisory Group. 

Last year, Fossum finished 10th in the 14-candidate Democratic primary for council.

Wasowski, co-owner of A Show of Hands in Del Ray, is a former president of the Del Ray Business Association and former chair of the Potomac Yard Design Advisory Committee. She received votes from all seven councilmembers.

Hyra is the chairman of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The West End resident is an associate professor at Virginia Tech, whose research focuses on inner-city economic development, national housing policy and urban politics.

Macek, an Old Town resident, works as a consultant at Parsons Brinckerhoff specializing in financial planning for major transportation investments. He currently serves as chairman of the Waterfront Commission.

The new members of the board will join the commission for its March 5 meeting.

Council also appointed two new members to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals—Mindy Lyle, who served on the Waterfront Plan Work Group, and Del Ray Realtor Jen Walker.

They replace incumbents John Keegan and David Lantzy on the BZA, which hears and decides appeals requesting variance from provisions of the city’s zoning code.

SYSM February 28, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Guess that's when you find out who your real friends are...
George C. February 28, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Open your eyes and don't be foolish. This was a result of a political vendetta, not an attempt to bring in "fresh" blood. The fact is she ran for city council last year and as a result angered some very powerful people in the city. This is a sad day for Alexandria. Fossum was one of the planning commission members who actually looked out for lower income residents. She has also been instrumental to the development of this city, with one recent notable accomplishment being her work on the Beauregard project. I can tell you this, I am regretting my council votes at this point. I wish they would make decisions that are best for Alexandria residents and not based on their political motivations.
NoBS March 01, 2013 at 02:07 AM
George, who do you think has a vendetta against Donna and why? Just because she ran?
Defy Libtards March 01, 2013 at 02:13 AM
SYSM - NO ONE in Alexandria cares about you, or anyone else. We are all entitled, judgmental, and angry about our own politics.
Gina Baum March 07, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Do you actually think Fossum didn't get a heads up? No doubt she did. There are some people who just don't understand grace and dignity. The appropriate response of a true leader deserving of such an influential powerful seat in the City might be..."I am grateful to have served the community in this capacity for as long as I did and thank all those who put their trust in me." Instead she gives this woe is me boo hoo response like a three year old. As far as I'm concerned with a response like that it is pretty clear this decision was for the best.

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