The Alexandria City Council yesterday temporarily halted proposals for a controversial office complex on the George Washington Parkway south of National Airport by voting unanimously to send the plans back to the city Planning Commission for revisions.
The board decision was prompted by a new study corroborating citizen complaints that the proposed four-building office complex would generate huge traffic jams. "If this is built under existing plans we may never be able to get out of our homes," said Michael Rauh, resident of a condominium that overlooks the site of the proposed office buildings.
A new study commissioned by the city and the National Park Service showed that traffic congestion in the area is expected to far exceed road capacities by 1985 even without the new development. Democratic City council member Patsy Ticer said the developers may be forced to reduce the size of the office complex.
The Planning Commission approved the plans last May, based partially on a study conducted by the developers that concluded the office buildings would have no effect on parkway traffic.
Yesterday's action was another delay in a six-month feud involving the city, the National Park Service, citizens and developers. The developers, Potomac Investment Associates, have filed suit against the city in an attempt to force the city to approve its plans. The court hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Developers had asked the council to approve its revised site plans yesterday and allow them to begin construction, while city and park service officials continued to negotiate solutions to the traffic problems.
Developers have revised their project once already to meet demands by city and federal agencies. The changes included more expansive landscaping and an agreement to contribute $45,000 to the cost of widening lanes of a nearby intersection.
The controversy has been complicated by requirements that the city must have Park Service approval for any changes to the parkway. The Interior Department last week opposed widening the roads to accommodate increased traffic because it would convert "parklands to pavement."