The Alexandria City Council plans to seek state legislation giving the city power to reject development proposals or charge special assessments if traffic generated by new buildings would overload surrounding roads.

City leaders say they are concerned that increased traffic accompanying the office building boom will clog Alexandria's often narrow streets. Under Virginia law, local jurisdictions cannot pass laws unless the state legislature, which will convene next Thursday, gives them specific authority to do so. The city could use money from assessments to fund improvements needed to alleviate congestion.

City leaders and Alexandria Chamber of Commerce members met at breakfast Thursday to discuss the issue. Business leaders are "cautious about . . . any legislation that would create an undue burden on the taxpayer as well as the developer," said a spokesman.

Controversy over plans for four office buildings near the intersection of Slater's Lane and the George Washington Parkway fueled city concern, according to Vice Mayor James P. Moran Jr. The intersection already is clogged during rush hours, and "we are afraid new development will exacerbate an untenable situation," he said. The city has approved the plan on orders of a circuit court judge, and has appealed the case to the state supreme court.