Your Views: Knowledgeable community voices are needed

Your Views: Knowledgeable community voices are needed
(Photo Credit: Richard Lawrence)

To the editor:

In response to the March 5 letter to the editor in the Alexandria Times, “Still awaiting ethics reform,” I would like to set the record straight regarding my professional employment and role as a member of the Alexandria Planning Commission.

Each month, in consultation with the city attorney’s office and my employer, and in accordance with longstanding requirements in the city’s zoning ordinance and state statute, I vet the Planning Commission agenda for potential conflicts of interest and recuse myself accordingly. During any recusal, I step away from the dais and do not participate in discussion or vote on the item.

Because the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is a client of my company, I have recused myself from all items in which WMATA is the applicant, including the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station development special use permit and the WMATA office building on Mill Road.

Further, I have not personally been involved in any projects in which WMATA was the client, including technical support to the City of Alexandria related to the new station.

My testimony before the State Water Control Board in support of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station was given on my personal behalf – not the city, planning commission or my employer. I remain a daily Metrorail commuter and strong supporter of the station, as is my right.

Alexandria benefits from civic participation by residents with professional expertise in technical areas related to business before the city. The planning commission has benefited from the insights of architects, transportation planners, attorneys, small business owners and others who have volunteered as citizen members.

We should be wary of proposals that would rob our boards and commissions of these knowledgeable community voices.

-Nathan Macek, Alexandria