Letter to the Editor: Setting the record straight on Chatham Square

Letter to the Editor: Setting the record straight on Chatham Square
(Photo Credit: Aleksandra Kochurova)

To the editor:

As residents of Chatham Square, we are concerned about inaccurate statements which have been made concerning the Chatham Square application to city council to amend our Development Special Use Permit.

First, it is incorrect to assert that DSUPs cannot be amended and are forever frozen in time to the date of their original review. During the last five years, city council has reviewed numerous requests for DSUP revisions. It is important to recognize and acknowledge that amendments to the DSUP go through the same process that a new DSUP undergoes – rigorous reviews by the city staff, public outreach and comment and public hearings.

Second, the request to amend the Chatham Square DSUP is based on criteria for residential parking permits set forth by the city council in June 2017. These criteria – that average onstreet occupancy is lower than 85 percent – were not in place when the original DSUP was approved in 2002. The new city council policy was based on its desire for a consistent and equitable public policy regarding parking permits for all tax paying residents of Alexandria.

Third, concern has been raised that the streets surrounding Chatham Square, namely Pitt, Pendleton, Royal, Oronoco and Princess streets, cannot absorb parking by residents of Chatham Square. Based on a parking survey conducted by Kimley-Horn, Chatham Square met the criteria set forth by the city and can, in fact, absorb parking on these streets.

Based on their review of this study and their analysis of the Chatham Square application to revise its DSUP, staff of the City of Alexandria recommended approval by the planning commission of the Chatham Square application.

The planning commission voted to approve Chatham Square’s application on Oct. 4.

We hope this letter will increase understanding about the facts surrounding the Chatham Square application to amend its DSUP.

-Mark Abramson and Thomas Miller, Alexandria