Opinion: Waterfront For All? More like a waterfront for the businesses.

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To the editor:

Two resident groups are battling to influence Alexandria’s waterfront plan on which the city council plans to vote after a public hearing January 21.

One, the Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, has banded together because its members believe the waterfront is a public treasure that should benefit all Alexandrians. The group oppose the emphasis the city puts on commercialization of the waterfront (featuring three hotels and about 300 townhouses). CAAWP prefers an approach emphasizing parks, open space, art and history.

The second group, which supports the city’s plan, is called Waterfront For All. But do its supporters really mean what the name implies? Or is the waterfront for the guests of high-priced boutique hotels and the residents of expensive town houses? The organization’s main activity seems to be badmouthing opponents of the city’s plan. Waterfront For All has produced nothing comparable to CAAWP’s comprehensive 200-page report regarding the waterfront’s future.

Bank rolling last September’s lavish Waterfront For All fete and the recent restaurant open houses are people who stand to benefit financially from the proposed rezoning. If so, the organization is being deviously misleading in calling itself a resident group rather than a lobby for real estate developers.

To dispel this impression, Waterfront For All officers and active supporters should publicly pledge, like members of CAAWP are doing, that none has a financial stake in the future of the area proposed for rezoning. Their failure to do so would regrettably suggest that ugly rumors circulating around town about conflict of interest are true.

– Dennis Kux
Alexandria