The Alexandria City Council, feeling surfeited with festivals, concerts and craft shows, is considering a moratorium on events drawing more than 1,000 people to Old Town.
In a memo that the council discussed at its meeting last night, City Manager Vola Lawson cited complaints that the ever-growing number of festivals -- including 68 events held last year in Market Square in front of City Hall -- have adversely affected businesses in the area.
Lawson noted that more than 60,000 attended ethnic festivals and more than 100,000 attended the Red Cross Waterfront Festival last year. She said the steady stream of visitors caused traffic and noise problems and some damage and brought vendors selling what she characterized as junk merchandise.
Mayor James P. Moran, calling Lawson's suggestion, which would involve rescheduling some events for Sundays, "sweeping," asked the city staff to notify those who would be affected. While festivals "have been an asset to the city generally," council member Patricia Ticer said, "there has been a proliferation of them." The council voted to discuss the matter again in January.
In other action, the council:
*Decided to use fireworks in an effort to disperse flocks of birds that have roosted in the western part of the city, causing complaints about their noise and droppings. The birds are so numerous they "have darkened the neighborhood," said council member Redella (Del) Pepper.
*Asked the staff to draft a report outlining how citizens could be informed of pending development projects earlier than they are now. The action was prompted by rapid development in the city's West End, where hundreds of residents have complained that their concerns go unheeded because they become involved in the planning process too late.