Architect members of the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review are not allowed to vote on building projects that they have helped design. An article in Wednesday's editions incorrectly reported that such voting occasionally has occurred.
The Alexandria City Council, seeking to enforce its view that the Old Town area be a preserve for 18th- and 19th-century architectural styles, moved last night to reconstitute the Board of Architectural Review, which repeatedly has approved buildings of contemporary design.
The council also approved a proposal from Mayor Charles E. Beatley to create a new Panel for Urban Design to devise a comprehensive approach to the Alexandria cityscape and advise city agencies and developers on how best to implement it.
The vote to reconstitute the board followed years of feuding between the council and architect members of the current architectural board over questions of taste and appropriateness in Old Town, where some structures date from the 18th century.
Architects have argued modern building styles can make a positive contribution to Alexandria's urban environment. In recent months, opposition on the council increased after the board approved a four-story brick office building in contemporary style on South Alfred Street and a King Street restaurant with a black metal facade in the Art Deco style.
The council generally believes new buildings in the city should be in "reproduction" Federal, Victorian and other pre-20th century styles that will fit in with old buildings in those styles. Council members also generally oppose preservation of Art Deco style buildings.
The board, created in 1946, has the responsibility to approve exteriors of new buildings or alterations to old ones in the city's Old and Historic District, which includes most of Old Town. Its decisions can be overruled by the council, however.
Last month, council member Donald Casey proposed abolishing the nine-member board on which three members must be architects. Casey's plan would replace it with a five-member board that would have no seats reserved for architects.
Council member Margaret Inman counterproposed that the board become a seven-member body, with two seats held for architects. However, the architects would not be allowed to work on projects in the historic district, a detail meant to end conflict-of-interest charges in the current system, in which architects occasionally have ruled as board members on projects they designed.
Last night, the council passed a measure to reorganize the board and sent it to public hearings with both Casey's and Inman's versions to be discussed. It is to come back to the council for final action on June 28.
In other action last night, the council:
* Approved a report criticizing a proposed overpass and interchange on the George Washington Memorial Parkway at Daingerfield Island that would allow development of a tract of land west of the parkway.
* Authorized an environmental study of a proposed Capital Beltway interchange at Clermont Drive.
* Approved environmental regulations that will require that arsenic-contaminated soil at the Bogle site on Fairfax Street be covered over rather than moved elsewhere.