The Alexandria City Council this week was told by Mayor Frank E. Mann that the city's action against a developer who chopped down acres of trees because he was frustrated by government regulations, has been strongly suported by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus.
Mann introduced into the record a letter Andrus mailed to him last week, wrting that "the city of Alexandria deserves high praise for taking action against Mr. Charles Fairchild for the irresponsible clear cutting of his tract adjacent to the George Washington Memorial Parkway . . . I am prepared to make available to you any staff resouces within the Department of the Interior which may be of benefit to you in prosecuting this case."
Fairchild must appear in Alexandria Circuit Court next month to answer charges stemming from the alleged destruction of hundreds of trees earlier this month on property he is trying to commercially develop. City Attorney Cyril Calley said he believed Fairchild was going to claim the statute under which he has been charged is unconstitutional.
At the same time, the council agreed to examine the legality of an ordinance giving protection to a list of 93 historic and unusual trees. As currently written, the ordinance does not specifically enough identify which trees would bve protected, according to Calley.
The council has in the past granted protection to 12 trees in the city believed to be more than 200 years old. If the current measure passes it would extend the same legal shield against the woodman's ax to dozens of other trees thought to be nearly as old though documentary evidence is not available.
The council also approved the lease of the baseball stadium at Four Mile Run Park to the Alexandria Mariners baseball team, formerly called the Dukes, in an arrangement that will pass most of the financial obligations for the maintenance of the stadium to the baseball club.
Under the terms of the lease approved on Tuesday, the Alexandria Baseball Club, whose team is now a part of the Seattle franchise, would not have to pay the city anything for the first 25,000 customers paying for tickets next year. For every customer above the 25,000 mark, the club would pay the city 10 cents. Last year the baseball team was viewed by about 50,000 persons.
The current lease calls for the team to pay $7,600 to the city. However, this year the city has been spending hundreds of dollars each month in maintaining the baseball field's lawn. Under the new ease, the club will maintain the field.
All council members voted "aye" for the lease excepted Vice Mayor Nora Lanborne, who vote no.