An advisory panel will help decide on a small-area plan for Alexandria's Waterfront.
In Virginia, city leaders in Alexandria have hired a facilitator to help craft a plan for three sites slated for redevelopment. The move comes after months of disagreement.
Members of the Alexandria City Council hoped to pass a plan for the waterfront before the summer recess, but they were unable to agree. So they appointed an advisory panel to look at the issues over the summer.
Deputy Planning Director Karl Moritz says a facilitator was necessary to help guide the sessions.
"It was useful to have sort of a neutral party facilitating the meetings to make sure that everyone felt comfortable," says Moritz.
The contract calls for the facilitator to receive as much as $25,000.
"That's a lot of money," says Katy Cannady.
She also says the money wouldn't be necessary if city officials were perceived as honest brokers.
"That fact that we need one shows that there is deep distrust between the community and the city government," she says.
Members of the advisory commission are expected to issue a series of recommendations in the fall.