Environmental group could delay Alex. council watefront decision

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Political maneuvers by an Alexandria community group could delay a city vote this weekend on complex plans to redevelop a historic stretch of the Potomac riverfront.

Alexandria’s city council is holding a hearing and a possible vote on Saturday on a plan that envisions $40 million to $50 million in re-development with hotels, expanded park land and commercial space on 8.6 acres along the Potomac River.

Andrew Macdonald, who speaks for citizens group AlternativeAlexandriaWaterfrontPlan.com, says they will try and block a vote with a petition signed by at least 20 percent of the affected landowners.

“The protest petition, if approved by the city planning director, would force the city council to have a 6-1 majority vote in order to approve any new waterfront plan.”

The group has concerns about the proposed density of the redevelopment, Macdonald says, and the type of projects proposed.

“It will result in enormous traffic problems, harm the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay,” he says. “It would not consider the long-term impact on an historic town.”

A report released last month by the Waterfront Work Group recommended a more detailed study on traffic, parking and mitigating the city’s flood problems on lower King Street and Union Street. It also calls for an analysis of the environmental impact on the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Mayor Bill Euille says the city could move ahead with the studies the report recommends before the final plans are approved.

The city council hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the council chambers at city hall on King Street.

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