Contentious Ramsey property site in Alexandria clears another hurdle

WASHINGTON — Alexandria City Council on Saturday held another public hearing on the future of the Ramsey property, an issue that has been very contentious.

Right now, public housing units sit on the property, but they have been approved to be torn down.

At a hearing on Saturday, citizens got to have their say before Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to move forward to put an affordable housing building on the site. Council voted to rezone the Ramsey property, which will allow more density.

The local housing authority, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA), owns the property and has agreed in writing not to flip the property now that it has been rezoned and is more valuable, says Alexandria City Mayor Allison Silberberg.

That said, the ARHA still has to come back to council with a building plan for the property, which could include an option to save one of the Ramsey homes because of its historic significance in Alexandria’s African-American community.

Silberberg  says her goal is to help the city move forward with a more constructive, positive and shared vision and commitment to do what they can for affordable housing. “So people can continue to live in the city,” she says.

The mayor says the plan for the Ramsey property has improved with community input. She says the goal is to find more common ground.

Silberberg  says she wants to focus on what can be done architecturally and aesthetically to ensure that the new building properly fits into the existing neighborhood.

On Saturday, the council also voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the master plan.

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