Letter to the Editor: City officials created Chatham quagmire

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Old Town's 22314 ZIP code is one of the top ZIP codes in Virginia for millennials (Photo by Aleksandra Kochurova)
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To the editor:

I have read the battle of Chatham square stories and I have no “car” in this fight. I believe the struggle between nearby residents and the Chatham community is sadly working to the advantage of the real villains of this episode: the city planning staff, elected officials and developers who are working in league and don’t care about the messes they make. In fact, the bureaucrats are likely amused they avoid the guilt of this situation.

We know the story. The developers squeeze every dollar and square foot they can. The staff approves and politicians, to give the developers what they want, make so-called compromises and add fine print.

Should the buyers have read the documents that reveal they aren’t considered real citizens for parking purposes? Yes. And you should have read that Google has the rights to harvest your body organs when you use their search engine. (That’s an exaggeration for effect, just to be clear.)

We have a struggle between neighbors and I prefer to be neighborly and less fine print focused.

But in the long run, every citizen should know this situation was likely created by city staff and elected officials who failed at their jobs of due diligence. Either there should be plenty of parking or fewer residential units. It’s that simple. The idea some have that less parking will encourage public transit is a myth that is disproven daily by our still-growing car culture.

Hopefully the incoming council will put an end to this type of dealing – but it will require vigilance.

-Dan Hazelwood, Alexandria

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