This story was originally published May 12, 2011.
Opponents of the Alexandria waterfront plan want the City Council to hold off its vote until alternatives to hotels and other development have been considered.
The multi-year, $42 million projectwould span about three miles from Daingerfield Island Park to Jones Point Park. The plan includes parks and pedestrian piers but also includes three sites that could feature hotels in up to 800,000 square feet of development.
More public uses that incorporate the historical nature of Alexandria, such as museums, would be a welcome change, said Andrew MacDonald, co-founder of a citizens group pushing for alternatives.
The City Council will hear from the public on Saturday. The council has the option to take action then but will most likely push the vote into the June meeting, said Mayor William D. Euille (D).
“I don’t think that gives enough time for any thoughtful consideration of any ideas,” said MacDonald, who favored a commission to examine alternatives.
“[City] staff has tweaked and modified the plan on several occasions,” Euille said. The plan “is representative of concerns expressed by the public and others.”
Some of the recent changesmade earlier this month include a definition of boutique hotels. The hotel would have no more than 150 rooms with no large meeting spaces. City planners also recently reduced the amount of restaurants in the plan, removed a building in Waterfront Park and kept the Old Dominion Boat House.
The boat club, which has been in negotiations with city officials, was originally planned to be a park.
Several residents asked for a deferred vote from the Planning Commission earlier this month, but the plan passed 6-1. Donna Fossum was the only dissenting vote.
“Master planning is about a vision and trying to get to a vision,” said Eric Wagner, before the commission voted in favor of the plan. “Things change - we don’t know when they change or how they change. Our job is for when they change, this is what we’d like to see.”