Residents of a condominium project near the Landmark Shopping Center have forced the City of Alexandria to hold a public hearing Tuesday night on the proposed site plans for Landmark Century Center, a massive hotel, condominium and office complex to be built on 10 acres adjacent to the mall.
The Alexandria Planning Commission approved the site plans in June, saying at the time that the proposed development was within the zoning rights of the developers.
But several residents of the Place One condominium project, which is adjacent to the site, have appealed the commission's approval of Landmark Century Center, arguing that the project is "too dense and environmentally unsound." The City Council must hold a public hearing on a site plan if nearby residents appeal the planning commission's decision.
Patricia Ticer, a member of the Alexandria City Council, said she expects the huge project to set the tone for the western part of the city.
According to the site plan approved by the planning commission, the project will consist of six buildings, including two 15-story office towers, two high-rise condominium buildings, a hotel and a recreation center. It is being developed by Restec Corp., which is owned primarily by developers Walter Neal and Charles McFarland.
Bernard Fagelson, a local zoning attorney working for Restec on the project, said his clients will be posting a performance bond for each building in the complex and that the developers have obtained a $10 million insurance policy guaranteeing that the public facilities needed for the project will be built in accordance with state and local laws.
Fagelson said, however, that the project is within the allowable density for that site and that those who oppose the project will have to "prove we don't comply with the zoning code."
Dayton L. Cook, director of transportation and environmental services for Alexandria, said he was pleased to hear of the scheduled hearing because he had some problems with one aspect of the developers' proposal, an offer to build more parking spaces than are necessary.
"I oppose surplus parking spaces because it generates more traffic," Cook said, adding that there already is a problem at the intersection of Duke and Van Dorn streets and that he does not want "a Tysons Corner traffic problem in Alexandria."
Cook said that the residents appealing the decision would have to prove they were injured or affected by the development before the council could change the site plan.