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Excellent OPED. I agree.
I think that residency matters in part. Planing staff that live in the town they work in would certainly have a clearer idea of what is appropriate development — why affordable housing matters……and what is not right. The waterfront is a good example. The plan that was created has no symbiotic relationship to this historic town. the Beauregard SAP is not about building a better community per se.
However, I think the real problem is mental and political etc: we are hiring people who have a particular development perspective, and elected officials are pushing those views even it rubs the community the wrong way. The community is most definitively NOT setting the agenda — it is not a cooperative, collaborative relationship with the Council and Planning Commission and staff.
The planning process is a mess. Developers are in effect setting the agenda, and the City is trying to implement it over strong and often very thoughtful citizen opposition.
It’s primarily a political issue. The current members of the City Council with several exceptions are behind all of this “bad” planning. The Council can quite easily tell the City Manager, City Attorney: you will be fired unless you make changes in the staffing and planning process. The fact that little changes tells you all you need to know
Maybe we have two many Council members living in Del Ray? And I note several more who are running again who were on Council when The City Council “approved, forgot about, can’t recall” that they encouraged the BRAC -133 space ship to land almost on top of an existing community and nature preserve.
On primary day and election day you can say what you think.
The community thanks both Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes for voting against the current waterfront plan. The plan is not widely supported by the community. The current majority Democratic Council has become an entrenched political machine that needs to be replaced with people who are willing to adhere to stricter conflict of interest guidelines and promise to pass public policies that are not based on ties to special interest groups like Waterfront4All.
Ms. Moore makes some very good points, but I don’t think our goal should ever be to please everyone.
We should however do our best to create a waterfront plan that is based on a solid community-centered vision.
The City’s planning process started as it were “60 feet above the floodplain in a hotel room overlooking the Nation’s River.” It should have started in the 1700s when tall ships docked at the foot of Cameron Street and worked its way forward to include venues that will encourage tourism, public enjoyment of the river, protect the River and Bay, encourage foot traffic and discourage car and bus traffic, and sustain our special heritage.
I hope our elected officials will listen to the citizens that elect them, instead of the businesses that “feed” them.
You seem more interested in attacking our motives then in having a serious and thoughtful debate about what is best for the waterfront and Alexandria.
The public process was a sham, a behind closed doors deliberation between the City and the only constituents that seem to matter to them– The Washington Post Co, and developers, and the Alexandria Chamber too.
The City’s analysis of our Report was not a comprehensive analysis of the cost and benefits of the various options, and ideas. It was a very weak document that focused on the only thing the City seems capable of commenting on — short-term revenue projections. Citizens should not be put in the position to both plan and figure out to pay for public benefits on the waterfront (or anything else for that matter), but that is what we have been forced to do. That should be the City’s job and it should be done in an impartial manner.
The dismissive and hostile response to our Report and efforts says more than anything else that: facts don’t matter much. That’s the real truth Dennis..
The only thing that Boyd and I have ever wanted is a serious debate about and serious analytical consideration of alternatives. We are still waiting for that to happen at City Hall.