To the editor:
In looking at the proposals for zoning reform, I am reminded that this is an old problem in Alexandria, and one that deserves time for reflection, piece by piece. We should not be surprised by what this legislation will bring, and the rush to a vote suggests unpleasant surprises.
I am a long-time resident of Alexandria, first moving in 1972 to Parkfairfax, and in 1978 to Rosemont. Parkfairfax was then not only affordable, but had open space for residents to enjoy. When Arlen Realty planned to tear it down and build high-rises, my late husband, Richard Levy, along with many other residents, fought to prevent its destruction.
Fortunately former Mayor Charles Beatley and City Council listened to our concerns and now Parkfairfax is a historic district in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. What would be its fate today?
My office is just north of the low-income Heritage Apartments, where I have witnessed the displacement of tenants there and where I will watch the construction of its gigantic replacement. I see history repeating itself, but this time with an unhappy ending, so I get nervous when I see a rush to judgment.
I would probably benefit financially from the proposed reforms because single-family housing would comprise an even smaller percentage of the total. I expect that the value of my house – and especially of my land – would increase even more rapidly than they would otherwise. I’m not wealthy, and that could come in handy.
Moreover I am old and will be unlikely to have to deal for long with the problems that always arise with increased density. I do, however, care about future families, whose children will suffer in schools that are already much too large and in parks that are too few and too small, and who will likely have to pay higher taxes to support the needed infrastructure and increased services.
There is much to consider before voting.