By Derrick Perkins
An Arlington-based nonprofit’s affordable housing project on East Reed Avenue received city council’s approval Saturday — despite two members inadvertently voting against the proposal at first.
Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg and City Councilor John Chapman came down against AHC Inc.’s plan to build a 78-unit affordable housing complex along the 100 block of E. Reed Ave. after neighbors worried they would have to compete with the tenants for on-street parking. The planning commission previously approved the $250 million project but added a stipulation that AHC include free parking, a condition the majority of city council opposed.
Mayor Bill Euille admonished Chapman during council’s lunch recess, according to the Washington Post, and when they revisited the project later in the day he and Silberberg recast their votes in favor of the project.
“I’ve been very pleased with the overall proposal,” Chapman said. “I think this is probably one of the first time’s I’ve gotten lost in the weeds.”
Supporters worried forcing AHC to provide free parking — instead of charging for spaces — would jeopardize the proposal’s finances. Alexandria’s top-elected officials approved a $250,000 loan for the project in October and City Hall will chip in further by donating land and providing additional financial support.
The complex represents one of the largest infusions of affordable housing in recent memory, according to city officials. Affordable housing — and Alexandria’s dwindling supply of it — became a major campaign issue during last year’s local elections.