Your Views: Entire neighborhood opposes Heritage

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Your Views: Entire neighborhood opposes Heritage
The Heritage at Old Town. (Photo/Missy Schrott)
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To the editor:

Kudos for your recent editorials highlighting “the core culprit [in many controversies in Alexandria] is the over-densification of Alexandria,” and pointing out that “the poster child … is the rebuild of the Heritage at Old Town.”

We write to explain why we, along with all the neighbors we have spoken with, oppose this project. Three seven-story buildings are grossly out of scale in a neighborhood of two- to three-story townhouses and garden apartments.

People who chose to move here, as we did in 1986, did so because this is the kind of neighborhood we wanted to live in. Had we wanted to live in a place that looks like Ballston or Clarendon, we would have moved there.

We oppose having such massive structures plopped down in our low- rise neighborhood, as would the residents of Rosemont, Park Fairfax, Beverley Hills or Del Ray. If approved, the project would permanently destroy the small-scale residential character of the Southwest Quadrant, most of which is in the Old and Historic District.

This project is the elephant in the room. Small tweaks have been made, which amount to a pedicure but an elephant with a pedicure is still an elephant.

Alexandria is already the most densely populated city in Virginia: 1.45 times as dense as Falls Church, 2.5 times as dense as Fairfax City, 2.8 times as dense as Richmond and 3.7 times as dense as Norfolk. Where does it end?

Alexandrians treasure our chosen neighborhoods. The diversity of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive character, is one of the strengthsofAlexandria.

The Heritage developer has bragged in public meetings that he has worked hand-in-glove with city officials in putting this project together. Why does the city welcome close relations with out- of-town developers, and not invite those who live in the affected neighborhood, otherwise known as citizens, taxpayers and voters?

The developer and city officials frequently refer to the project as “the Gateway to Alexandria.” Given what those buildings look like, the signs on Route 1 should read: “Welcome to Ballston-on-the-Potomac.”

-Albert C. Pierce, Mary Ann Pierce, Alexandria

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