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Old Dominion Boat Club Settles With National Park Service

Club says settlement agreement in the 39-year-old case reaffirms its ownership rights at the foot of King Street.

announced on Tuesday that it has entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. government over land rights at the foot of King Street.

The club said a deal was reached on May 15, concluding a 39-year-old dispute.

“We are thrilled that this long battle is over,” ODBC President Miles Holtzman said“Aside from putting this litigation behind us and recouping a substantial amount of the legal fees we have spent over the last 39 years, this agreement with the National Park Service - represented by the Department of Justice - further affirms the right to our position on the Alexandria waterfront.“

At issue was the against 34 Alexandria "riparian owners" to take the property for a public walkway. In this case, a riparian owner is someone who owns land along the Potomac River.

The boat club and three other defendants disagreed while the remainder settled.

The ODBC had filed a motion for summary judgment, which the United States District Court granted in August 2009, finding in favor of the ODBC.

Following an appeal by the U.S. Justice Department on Jan. 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its decision in favor of the ODBC, affirming the judgment of the lower court.

Holtzman told Patch that the new settlement was in the "very high six figures. We consider what we got back to be a very big win," adding that the club will explore using the money to expand its already robust roster of community activities.

Holtzman said in a that the club had spent more than a million dollars on that federal case.

He would also like to explore replacing the chain link fence near the waterside, which he recalled as something the city "put up one evening."

"In the early 2000s, I petitioned the [Board of Architectural Review] to put something more environmentally and aesthetically appealing there but the National Park Service wrote the mayor a letter saying the mayor shouldn't hear our case because of the outstanding legal issue," Holtzman said.

He hopes that now the federal case is closed, the club might be able to move forward on that.

Holtzman said the settlement was spurred by the January 2011 court decision. "Both sides saw that as an opportunity to close this out," he said. The club sought to recoup some of its monies after that judgment and the negotiations took about a year, according to Holtzman.

While this federal case is now closed, the club must still wrangle with the to send parts of a local suit back to Alexandria Circuit Court.

“The City of Alexandria is trying a similar move to take the Boat Club’s property through eminent domain under the guise of waterfront development,” said a Tuesday press release issued by the boat club. “This case is being waged in court and in the court of public opinion.”

City Attorney James Banks told Patch on Tuesday that there is no “eminent domain option” on the table in regards to the boat club’s land.

"We want to be a good neighbor," Holtzman said. "We'd like to have a better situation down there, and we'd like to keep talking to the city. The city is the one who stopped talking to us."

JohnInNova May 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM
So, the "Boat Club" along with the waterfront Warehouses will continue to be a blight on Old Town?? How nice!
Gina Baum May 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM
LIke I said before, to ODBC its all about $$$$. Can't wait to see what civic improvements they plan.....how about partnering with the City to improve the City's park next to the club at the bottom of King St? Removing the fence in the middle of Wales Alley currently dominated by half of their parking spaces, to improve Waterfront Park for ALL of Alexandria......there's a possibility. If ODBC wants to be "a good neighbor" they can start there. Even Waterfront opponents, some of whom want “ to find a way to bring Alexandrians together," to quote Andrew Macdonald, should agree with improving the park at the bottom of King St and opening up Wales Alley to the public. ODBC you want to be a good neighbor and help improve the Waterfront for ALL -- that would be a good start to moving the efforts of the Waterfront Plan forward and uniting our citizens to make our community and the Waterfront something to be proud of......that's my soapbox for the day.
Tiger May 30, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Actually Gina, it is not all about dollars with ODBC. The club has been around since the 19th century, and has sponsored sports teams and done other positive work in the community for a long time-much longer than you have been here. The club has won a judgment on a property case that has taken decades. You are correct that this could be an opportune time to pursue improving the waterfront. Partnering with the city in this process would be a step forward. However, since the City of Alexandria is trying a legal dodge to take the club's property and access rights, it doesn't seem likely that a positive process will break out soon. The city has become a bit of a laughingstock for its legal efforts-the latest being an attempt to block Wales Alley access by the boat club for a "favored" restaurant owner. Is that owner the "public" to whom you refer? Being a "good neighbor" doesn't mean acquiescing when you are targeted by the city, which is attempting to unjustly seize your property and access rights by eminent domain. I would suggest the City Council's legal staff stop the ongoing harassment of the club (and quit the other heavy-handed legal action against their own BZA-truly ridiculous) as a means of clearing the atmosphere. That would be an ideal way to begin to "bring Alexandrians together" to work cooperatively on improving the waterfront-which is what we all should care about.
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Tiger, Appreciate the response, had you read ODBC's editorial, you would know my position about their history...and that ODBC believes history gives them the right to occupy Wales Alley with their parking lot....better yet here's the post. http://oldtownalexandria.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-the-boat-club-is-here-to-stay The city has gone above and beyond the call of duty negotiating with the club. Yes, at the moment they are here to stay....I for one want better than a dilapidated beer/parking club, that has little to do with boating, for my community at that location, and a tiger like you should expect more too.....
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Moreover Tiger, Given that you can't drive or haul anything in the City of Alexandria wider than 8', you'd have to pull a boat sideways down the Alley (14' of which beyond the outdoor dining is usable) to claim outdoor dining was blocking access. A traffic study showed there was easy access into the ODBC lot with the restaurant's terrace. A consultant, documented, with a film, that it was easier to back a large boat into the parking lot from the Strand than turning off of Union Street, dodging an electrical pole protruding into the alley, pulling into the lot, making a 360 degree turn with parked cars as obstacles....and then backing up to launch a boat. The restaurant owners offered to pay $25,000 to widen the boat club's curb cut at NO cost to ODBC. Every attempt to reach out and compromise was rebuffed by ODBC in favor of legal maneuvering. The restaurant spent $100,000.00 for improvements to Wales alley. ODBC should grateful! With neighbors like that it’s no wonder the City has such difficulty attracting viable businesses into the area. ODBC on every issue has chosen litigation over negotiation...hopefully the Virginia Supreme Court decision, will allow the restaurant to get their approved terrace/deck, and recoup revenues lost from those who've cost the business significant income. It's just unfortunate that the patrons who enjoy the terrace will have to look out on the eyesore that is known as the ODBC parking lot....for now.
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 01:23 PM
"I for one want better than a dilapidated beer/parking club" Yet you favor giving Virtue the right to serve beer, wine, and hard alcohol in the same spot. How ironic.
Tiger May 31, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Gina; I have read the editorial and some of your responses to the club's letter to the editor. The fact remains that the club is a supporter of multiple community-oriented events. While never a member, I have personally seen the organizations' positive impact on and support for multiple community non-profits, stretching over a long period of time. Frankly, there are quite a few very nice members and activities at the club. I would sincerely suggest that you invest some time meeting the people there. It's a little bit more of an investment than tossing around disparaging statements on an internet blog, but it will provide you with a better understanding of the value of the organization. You might find out that you can appreciate some of what they do and the challenges they face. The fact that there is a boat/yacht club in Alexandria is not surprising. There are similar clubs in other local cities, e.g., Washington, DC and Annapolis. The boat club history here stretches back into the 19th century, and should not be discarded lightly. I would also love to have a more attractive area at the foot of King Street, and suggest the city be more forthcoming in their dealings on this and other plans. They have not gone "above and beyond" any call of duty, rather their conduct has been dismissive and threatening over a long period of time. I want better treatment for this club at this location in my community, than your and the city's dismissive statements support.
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Tiger, Gina is a newcomer to Alexandria. It's hard to expect any appreciation for our long and distinguished nautical history out of someone from Jersey.
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 02:09 PM
McBrinn, Really? I'm from Jersey? News to me. I'm no newcomer. I lived most of my adult in life Alexandria now reaching close to 20 years...prior to that I was born and raised in CT. Check your facts....or we're you just extrapolating about my heritage given obviousness of my name...either way it doesn't bode well for you.
Jon Rosenbaum May 31, 2012 at 02:21 PM
It is not ironic at all, Virtue is a public restaurant. It does not sit on land dirEctly adjacent to the river. The Boat Club is selling beer exclusively to private members and sits on river front as does its disgusting parking lot!
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Jon- Virtue may be public, but its profits aren't. Gina- it was your attitude that made me guess Jersey, not your surname. Nice to see you playing the race card though!
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 02:54 PM
And McBride I guess being obtuse is one of your better attributes, To make a correlation and essentially call me hypocritcsl based on the availability of alcohol at the establishments, when it is obvious to any observer, comparing ODBC to a historic multi-million renovation is nonsense....call me crazy but somehow I'd rather drink Stella on tap from the patio of a lovely building rather than old swill from a dilapidated one....how many yachts are there at ODBC? A genius like you should know the term yacht is derived from the notion of sailing...not motor boating...
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM
McBrinn, You are showing your aptitude again...it's enthnicity not race..,.
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Drew- how many times must we flag Gina's abusive, name-calling, terms-of-use-violating posts before her account is terminated? Do we need to contact the folks in NYC and let them know that the site isn't being moderated according to the terms of use?
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:09 PM
What's "enthnicity"?
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:10 PM
And what's "hypocritcsl"?
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:13 PM
While we're at it: Why the apostrophe here: "....or we're you just extrapolating about" ?
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:14 PM
"a historic multi-million renovation" Multi-million what? Multi-million shoes? Multi-million sandals? "Multi-million spelling errors?
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Typing with a thumb on an iPhone with spell check is not one of my best attributes...and admitting ones faults his healthy...
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Is healthily -- see there it goes again..
McBrinn May 31, 2012 at 03:17 PM
"to ODBC its all about $$$$." Why do you hate apostrophes? Why do you think it's OK to abuse them?
Gina Baum May 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Look McBrinn, I am sorry you find my post's abusive. I honestly meant no harm. You are correct, I do hate apostrophes --- they are totally unnecessary -- we all have the capability of figuring out a statement's meaning even with missing words and my bad spelling....anyway, all attitudes, jesting, humor, sarcasm, meanness aside....I have nothing against the Boat Club. They deserve a place on the waterfront and all efforts should be made to get them a great location and a building both they and the community can be proud of. There are so many options available too numerous to mention.....all of this can be accomplished with less litigation and more negotiation. It would be a positive benefit to ALL if we could reach a place where the boat club gets their needs met, the City gets a beautiful Waterfront, and the community gets the benefits of both...I for one would join the ODYC. Again, I apologize, its been much more beneficial for my recent ailment than the Vicodin the Dr. prescribed.
Mike Urena May 31, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Gina, you don't need to apologize- McBrinn attempted an ad hominem attack based on incorrect information and you pointedly corrected him with a little help from your iPhone. The complaints of victimization are just a bit hypocritical.
Karen Gautney June 01, 2012 at 12:15 PM
The ODBC is a privately owned property that enjoys a visible location on our city's waterfront. It is hideous looking. I wish they would clean it up and make it more attractive.

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