Tuesday, May 7, 2013
City staff are recommending approval of a new restaurant at the foot of King Street that would include outdoor dining.
Old Town Alexandria businessman Jody Manor is proposing to open a restaurant on the Union Street waterfront at the corner of the unit block of King Street by the Torpedo Factory. The space is currently occupied by the City of Alexandria’s Old Historic Alexandria museum store. The restaurant — open breakfast through dinner — would have 76 indoor seats as well as 20 outdoor spots along King Street and 54 seats along the city marina plaza area. Wine and beer would be available for on- and off-premise sales. The store would have large-screen televisions behind the counter for entertainment and kiosks with Old Town marketing information. Office of Historic Alexandria retail items also would be located in the space, according to the applicant, …
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Three women who filed a previous lawsuit say the city is not playing by the rules with its rezoning plans.
Three Alexandria women who disagree with the city’s plans to rezone its riverside have filed a court complaint seeking to undo City Council’s March vote allowing buildings such as hotels on the waterfront. April Burke, Beth Gibney and Marie Kux on Tuesday filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in Alexandria Circuit Court (see attached PDF) “because once again the City of Alexandria is not playing by the rules in making a zoning change,” according to a statement issued by the lawsuit’s supporters, Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront. They argue that the city’s planning director improperly rejected their appeals to the Board of Zoning Appeals. “The effect of this appeal should have been to stay any vote by Council on waterfront zoning …
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Frank Putzu questions the city's transparency and ability to engage with its citizens when it comes to redeveloping the Alexandria waterfront.
Wednesday, April 3
On March 16, 2013, the Alexandria City Council passed controversial and sweeping planning changes that are already the subject of litigation. The City passed these changes to transform an honest policy disagreement into Through the Looking Glass litigation tactics, where nothing is as it appears to be. There are two cases in court. The first, city-initiated litigation attacks a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision finding that citizens have a right to petition their government in accordance with state law (the BZA is a creature of state law, not the city) and zoning ordinance. The second, citizen-initiated litigation, which is before the Supreme Court of Virginia, is whether the city can manipulate the process to deprive its citizens of …
Friday, March 22, 2013
Former Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald says citizens can rest assured that its elected leaders, Democrats one and all, know what’s best for the city, even when its citizens don’t.
Dear Editor, Virginia is for lovers and the Alexandria waterfront is too! Although the City Council voted only 6-1 to rezone the Alexandria waterfront last Saturday, and although I was disappointed that four years of constructive planning were coming to an end, I was impressed by the intellectual clarity of the Council members. It was clear that they understood the concerns of residents and the importance of creating a waterfront that will compliment one of the most important historic districts in the nation. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Chapman noted just how romantic a venue the waterfront is, or could be, if it weren’t for those old warehouses that gobble up some much landscape. Ms. Pepper, who is known for her support of citizen concerns, took …
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Council's Saturday action on two amendments enables further implementation of the city's Waterfront Small Area Plan designed to revive the riverside.
City Council voted 6-1 Saturday afternoon to allow new kinds of development along the Alexandria waterfront and allowing the city to curb litigation currently stalling the city’s plans to redevelop its riverside. Council also voted 6-1 on an amendment clarifying a part of the zoning code governing property owners’ protest petitions. Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning Karl Moritz explained Saturday that the text amendment “is needed to implement elements of the small area plan such as permitting hotels.” The newly adopted text amendment would allow hotels under certain circumstances, permit cultural institutions and offer rules governing size and height of new development.’ It also would allow structures 5,000 feet or larger that “…
Thursday, March 14, 2013
What type of restaurant would you like to see here?
The Food Pavilion located just east of the Chart House restaurant has been vacant since late 2011. The city hopes to redevelop the building to offer a restaurant that would bring more vitality to the area, and possibly other uses such as a market hall or cultural venue. "In recent years, the Food Court has not been able to draw sufficient customers to be successful," says a July 2011 waterfront plan summary. "Residents and other participants in the planning process have expressed a strong desire for a more successful use (or set of uses) at the Food Court site and have expressed a willingness to support major changes to the building and adjacent public spaces."
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Alexandrian Kathryn Papp says City Council's March 16 meeting is a political maneuver that clears a path for the city's overly dense waterfront plan.
Wednesday, March 13
To the Editor: On Saturday, March 16 at City Hall, elected officials will take a vote that seems intended to try to deny property owners’ their day in court. This vote could easily end by depriving the majority of property owners throughout the City of Alexandria the right to freely petition against zoning decisions that affect them; it would restrict access to the city’s own Protest Petition. On March 5, citizens’ clarity and the integrity of their arguments regarding the importance of the Protest Petition were in no doubt. Many favored relying on judicial reasoning for a full and final understanding of the Protest Petition process. This is scheduled on the Circuit Court docket for April 9. If a supermajority of council members agree on …
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Alexandria Planning Commission Chair John Komoroske and past chair Eric Wagner explain the March 5 voting on two text amendments.
To the editor, On Tuesday, March 5, the Alexandria Planning Commission approved two text amendments to Alexandria’s zoning ordinance after public hearings where most of the speakers opposed the amendments. Those opponents may think Commissioners disregarded the concerns of those who testified. That is not the case: all Commissioners heard and carefully weighed all of what was said. There is a distinction, however, between understanding the arguments made by the speakers and being convinced that the points they advocated would be good for the City of Alexandria. We thought it would be useful to explain our votes on these two issues. The first hearing was on zoning ordinance amendments to permit the development envisioned in the Waterfront…
Friday, March 8, 2013
The city's former vice mayor says the last Planning Commission meeting shows planners have done everything in their power over the last four years to squelch public opinion and input that doesn’t fit with the city’s planning agenda.
To the Editor: I thought we had reached the nadir in the waterfront planning process on my birthday a year ago, but I was wrong by a country mile. The new low point occurred just last Tuesday night when the Planning Commission voted 7-0 to push through the text amendment that gives the green light to rezoning the waterfront. This land-use plan will allow developers to triple the density along the waterfront, and build basically anything they want, including two hotels. The night had all the hallmarks of a show trial from beginning to end. The commission was dismissive, arrogant, condescending, and at times downright bullying in its response to community concerns. It would be clear even to a child that the City has made been no real …
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
City Council will consider waterfront measures at March 16 public hearing.
The Alexandria Planning Commission approved two zoning text amendments in a meeting that ran into early Wednesday morning that will allow the city to circumvent pending litigation and begin implementing a long-debated waterfront redevelopment plan, provided City Council signs off on the measures later this month. • See: Alexandria City Council to Vote Once Again on Waterfront Plan Opponents of the plan, who have spent more than two years expressing their concerns over new development on the Old Town waterfront, stated old worries and some new ones to the commissioners. Andrew Macdonald, a former vice mayor who ran a failed campaign for mayor last year largely built on opposition to the city’s waterfront proposal, told the commissioners the…