Alexandria's state delegate, David G. Speck, was sharply criticized by two members of the City Council last night for his involvement with a real estate firm that asked the council for an unusual favor.
The firm asked permission to argue a zoning request change before the planning commission one month ahead of schedule.
"We are being asked to grease the skids . . . for a developer who has no visible means of support," Councilman Donald C. Casey, a Democrat said, referring to Speck, a Republican who is a management consultant.
Speck "promised to send us" a statement of what changes the firm intends to make on some apartments it wants to convert to condominiums, complained Councilman Robert L. Calhoun, a Republican. "He never did that, and I don't like it" Calhoun added.
The apartments owned by Speck and developer Charles T. Akre Jr. are at Russell Road and King Street, directly across from the future King Street Metro station. The two men say they purchased the 40-year-old brick structure with the intent of converting its 17 apartments units into condominiums.
Such a conversion is prohibited by the property's residential zoning classification, which the developers want the planning commission to remove. For financial reasons, they said they needed a decision from the planning commission in February, rather than waiting for their regular turn at the March commission meeting.
Before the meeting, Speck said he thought it was unfair for him to be criticized for publicly acknowledging his involvement with a private real estate company. "Would it have been better if I had hidden my interest?" he asked.
Speck could not be reached last night for comments about the council hearing.
Mayor Charles E. Beatley Jr. said, "I share the apprehension" about condo conversion in the residential neighborhood. But he said he would vote for the measure to "speed the process up."
The vote referring the zoning request to the planning commission for early consideration passed by a 5-to-2 vote. Only Casey and Councilman Nelson E. Greene Jr. voted against it.