The Alexandria City Council announced last night that $600,000 in city funds and as much as $824,000 in outside funds will be spent to ensure that two controversial development projects in the Arlandria area have apartments set aside for low-income tenants.
City officials said they hoped the city's offer would end two lawsuits filed over projects at Dominion Gardens and Bruce Street apartments in the largely Hispanic area. An out-of-court settlement is being sought in the Dominion Gardens case, and parties to the Bruce Street suit have reported reaching agreement out of court.
The council allocated $450,000 in city funds to the Dominion Gardens project, provided that 104 units are set aside for low-income tenants for the next five years and 41 units for the subsequent five years. If the city gets the $600,000 it is seeking from the Virginia Housing Development Authority, the funds will go toward ensuring that all 104 units are available for the second five years as well.
The city also allocated $150,000 in city funds for the Bruce Street apartments as long as a tentative agreement, which calls for 68 low-income units for a minimum of 10 years, is completed in court. The city also agreed to direct its $224,000 in federal housing funds to the development project.
Council member Carlyle C. Ring (R) said the city's goal is to get 20 to 30 percent of the units in Arlandria set aside for low-income tenants. About 16 percent is now set aside, he said.
"This is one of the most delicate of projects and now all the parts are fitting together perfectly," council member Redella (Del) S. Pepper (D) said.
Vice Mayor Patricia S. Ticer (D) said, "We will still not be able to achieve our total goals towards low-income housing until the federal government returns with its share of funding."
Mayor James P. Moran Jr. (D) said the financing shows that the city's commitment to the people of Arlandria is "strong, consistent and responsible."
In an interview last night, Dan Mackesey, vice president of the Bethesda-based Artery Organization, which is remodeling Dominion Gardens, said he had heard that the city funding for Dominion Gardens was coming. "The city has been very cooperative over the last week," he said.
Representatives of the other parties involved could not be reached for comment last night.
In other business last night, the council:Agreed to expand a special task force set up last month to combat the city's drug problem.
"Drug dealing is really growing here," said Pepper, adding that many residents have complained that drug deals occur openly outside their homes.
The antidrug task force, which was expanded from nine to 14 members, will hold a public hearing on Aug. 21 and report to the council in November.
Unanimously approved a special-use permit for a commercial development project on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray that Moran said "is exactly what we hoped for and planned for."
The city has tried to improve the Del Ray neighborhood for more than a decade, pouring millions of dollars into the area. Council members praised developer V. Rodger Digilio's Potomac Town Square project, which is to include 11 commercial establishments and an underground parking facility. It is scheduled for completion in the fall of 1988.