Opinion Your Views — 07 March 2013
Waterfront plan’s consequences need addressing

To the editor:
Everyone wants a lovely waterfront and no one wants it to flood, but do these worthy goals have to be acquired by adding density — whether structural, human or vehicular — in the most historically fragile section of our city?

And does it have to be achieved by allowing Planning Director Faroll Hamer, who doesn’t even live in Alexandria, to shed the neutrality presumably required by her status as a city employee? At least that’s how I interpreted her remark, quoted in the Washington Post on February 5, declaring what she wanted.

Also, you would think our czar — the mayor — and his apparatchiks would not pour salt on the waterfront wounds. Why in the world would they want to pre-empt the legal process aggrieved residents are using to right the wrong that Hamer caused when she mishandled their appeal for redress?

Instead of aggravating, the mayor should mollify residents by asserting the exact monies needed to make the waterfront enhancements that he believes are necessary. He should be made to defend the divisive idea of trading density for dollars as the only option to get this money.

At a minimum, the mayor should define the level of density for the plan to work. Now there’s an idea to chew on. If it’s too controversial to decide how many people can be safely and sensibly packed into the waterfront area, then start by declaring how many cars and buses can park there.

The long-term consequences of greater density in this small, historically unique section of Alexandria will reduce the quality of life for residents, especially those living nearest the waterfront. There has to be another way to mitigate flooding and enhance the allure of Alexandria’s waterfront other than allowing greater density for — maybe — dollars later.
- Jim Roberts
Alexandria

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