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Alexandria May Use Eminent Domain On Waterfront Land

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One of the properties the city is considering acquiring by eminent domain is known as Wales Alley, shown here.
Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning
One of the properties the city is considering acquiring by eminent domain is known as Wales Alley, shown here.

Members of the boat club and the city of Alexandria have been locked in a dispute about a series of properties near the waterfront for the last 30 years. The issue has come to a head more recently as the city plans a dramatic redevelopment of the riverside land.

Now, City Attorney James Banks says the city is considering ending that fight and taking some of that land using the power of eminent domain.

"The pros probably would be a quick resolution for all pending matters," he says. "The con is that any eminent domain action requires a fair and just compensation for whatever property is being taken."

Fair and just compensation. That's something that's in dispute according to members of the club, who say that the $150,000 offer made by the city last month wasn't reasonable. Boat club member Bery Ely says the price offered to the club was part of an effort to move the process of eminent domain forward.

"I think its reasonable to assume that they would eventually file a taking action against the club because otherwise why would they put a low-ball price on the table?" he says.

Moving forward with taking the property using the power of eminent domain would require a vote of the City Council, which is currently in recess. That debate is set to take on a new life when the council convenes again this fall.

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