By Chris Hubbard
I am running for city council because I have seen gaps between Alexandria policies, planning, development and industry standards and best practices and on top of this a 7 percent increase in property taxes between 2016 and 2017.
In the real world, the person with the most expertise leads projects to their successful completion as I have done many times and would do for the city. I don’t see planning and development expertise in city council candidates. My expertise: licensed architect, planner, principal and owner of an architecture and planning firm for 27 years, specializing in complete communities that are walkable, mixed use/income, sustainable live, work, play, sleep, eat and learn communities.
My to do list on council would include using my unique expertise to make Alexandria healthier – building complete communities to improve equity and enable residents to thrive.
Approximately half of the traffic in the city is pass-through, so we need to narrow lanes to calm/slow traffic in places as well as optimize signaling. We should increase alternative transportation infrastructure including walking, bike and transit with cars to complete communities to reduce car trips. Use developer and parking fees for transit.
I would look for sources of gaps and inefficiencies in the city government and help implement best practices.
I would pursue developments that would improve the city, not burden it: Compare existing vs. proposed tabulations.
I have two daughters currently in Lyles-Crouch School and one who went through from K-5. Education and our schools need to come first. We should better maintain our schools in a timely manner, which is economically more efficient.
We should spread core knowledge to other ACPS schools and through K-12. Increasing affordable mixed income housing improves school performance through positive role models with education as a pathway through students who value education. All schools should also be renovated to include proper security measures.
I would use creativity and ingenuity to improve the fiscal health of residents and businesses. Developers should pay their fair share for schools and affordable/mixed income housing, runoff, transportation and other burdens on the city. Develop complete communities at Landmark and Potomac Yard to increase business tax revenue as well as recruit businesses to sell goods and services, which residents currently buy elsewhere. Do a business-run BID. Reduce fees and streamline special use permits for businesses.
I would work to cultivate market rate affordable mixed income housing by encouraging developers and use a hotel tax to fund other affordable housing.
I would work to improve senior care, particularly aging at home. I am the medical power of attorney for my mother who wishes to age at home. I have seen many obstacles to this and Virginia has an ACA provision for this but is not activated – we should activate this to support home 24/7 care.
We should fairly pay teachers and first responders. These are the true public servants.
We should improve social connectedness by making a satellite city office in the West End to bring people together. Promote complete communities: particularly at Landmark and Potomac Yards. Bring back the ward system for local elections.
I would promote health in lower-income communities by building partnerships with grocery stores to contribute certain health-promoting herbs with simple suggestions for adding to foods, education and incentives for purchasing healthy foods.
We should increase the number of charging stations for electric cars in Alexandria and put in incentives to own electric cars – such as free visitor street parking.
Finally, we should gradually replace lighting to LED lights and increase use of energy efficient equipment. We should increase the use of Photovoltaics on flat roof city buildings to decrease effective energy use and operating costs.