The Alexandria City Council has voted unanimously to delay further action on the controversial waterfront plan until at least September.
Council directed city planners to take another look at the $51 million waterfront plan over the summer with a new group of citizen stakeholders.
The city could “take time to take a deep breath,” said Council member Paul C. Smedberg (D). “I think we need to do that as a community.”
Plans for a three-mile project that would stretch along the Potomac River shore from Daingerfield Island Park in the north to Jones Point Park in the south came under fire by community members for the proposed redevelopment, which included boutique hotels.
Recent citizen protests and alternative park-heavy plans were presented on Saturday, leading to requests for another public hearing on the new details.
Two Robinson Terminal Warehouse Corp. buildings, a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co., are among the three redevelopment sites. The Post Co. filed and later withdrew a lawsuit in 2008 against the city for cutting back the company’s redevelopment options. The newspaper was working with the city to restore those options that were set in a 1983 federal settlement agreement.
The three sites would have been allowed to redevelop to include more than 800,000 square feet of space, but the majority of that space is already allowed. Of that, only 160,000 square feet would be added with the plan.
“The plan was just not ready to be debated,” said Poul Hertel, an Old Town resident who opposed the plan. “The best thing for the city was to take a little more time to ferret out the details to bring about consensus.”
Council instructed their staff to consider more open space and ways to finance it. They also asked for a detailed implementation plan.
The council said a public hearing will be held after the summer recess in September. Mayor William D. Euille (D) said he would like the vote to happen “sometime before the next decade.”