The following were among actions taken by the Alexandria City Council at its Oct. 13 meeting. For further information, call 838-4300.
LOWER WATERFRONT HEIGHT -- Facing pressure from Old Town residents who live near the Potomac River, the City Council voted 5 to 1 to limit the height of new buildings along the waterfront to 30 feet without special council permission.
Under the new ordinance, which is effective immediately, no structure higher than 30 feet may be built along the river east of Union Street from the southern city limit north to Pendleton Street, unless the council grants the builder a special use permit. Even with a permit, the maximum building height would be 50 feet.
Previously, buildings could be 50 feet high without council action and 70 feet high with a special use permit.
Councilman Robert L. Calhoun voted against the ordinance and said he thought developers would likely sue the city in an attempt to overturn it. Council member Carlyle C. Ring Jr., did not attend the meeting.
Old Town residents, who had sought the height limit reduction for a year, contend that potential waterfront condominium developments could dwarf the many historic two- and three-story buildings near the river.
The ordinance took on particular urgency for Old Town residents several weeks ago when Alexandria developer Lawrence Brandt proposed building a four-story, 104-unit condominium on South Union Street between Wolfe and Wilkes streets. That building would be 50 feet high. The average height of a three-story town house is 33 to 34 feet.
The Old Town Civic Association lobbied the council for the ordinance in part to help block Brandt's building. The city's planning commission approved Brandt's condominium site plan at its Oct. 6 meeting.
City Attorney Philip Sunderland said he is not sure whether the new ordinance will apply to the Brandt project.
The ordinance was opposed by several developers and owners of waterfront property used for commercial purposes because they said it is too restrictive.
Some council members who initially said they shared Calhoun's concern about a possible legal battle with developers over the ordinance, said they decided to support lower waterfront heights to show residents they were serious about controlling growth in the city.
ROADS HEARINGS SET -- The council voted to hold public hearings on Nov. 14 to hear comment on $11.6 million in proposed road improvements at Beauregard Street's intersections with Seminary Road and King Street in the fast-growing western end of the city.
The projects are designed to alleviate heavy traffic congestion by making Beauregard Street an underpass, allowing traffic on it to flow beneath King Street and Seminary Road.
The proposed improvements also include adding a total of four merge lanes at the intersection of Beauregard Street and Seminary Road, as well as a right-hand exit loop from Seminary Road onto Beauregard Street.
Alexandria City Manager Vola Lawson, in two Sept. 16 memos to the council, urged construction of the projects, using 70 percent federal funds, 25 percent state funds and five percent city funds. The city's cost would be about $580,000.
The city's capital improvement budget has included about $6.6 million for the Seminary and Beauregard project for the past 10 years. But the budget, which includes five-year projections for city improvements, has been readjusted each year to move the planned road improvement to a later year.
The $4.9 million upgrade of the King and Beauregard streets intersection was on the city's capital improvement budget 10 years ago, but was dropped after citizen opposition and has not been included since.
Dayton Cook, head of the city's transportation and environmental services department, proposed asking for state and federal funds for the projects after the state road improvement allocation to Alexandria doubled in 1986 from about $2 million to $4 million because of a statewide road improvement plan.
If the council approves the projects after the public hearing, it would take about five years to complete them.
Lawson said the outside funding is needed because city funds are limited. The city's capital improvement budget has decreased in the last three years from about $92 million to $68 million, partly because major projects, such as a new jail and police complex, have been completed.
One developer's transportation study, which was presented to the city, predicts that by 1993, vehicles entering the intersection of Beauregard and King streets will have to sit through several traffic light changes before crossing the intersection.
Traffic congestion has grown at both intersections in the last 10 years because of increased development nearby.
Cook said the two intersections have some of the worst traffic congestion in the city and that congestion at King and Beauregard streets is among the worst in the Washington area.
In 1986 approximately 68,470 vehicles per day traveled through the intersection of Beauregard Street and Seminary Road, and about 91,032 vehicles per day passed through the intersection of Beauregard and King streets.