The legality of ignoring a protest petition challenging the waterfront plan is up before the state Supreme Court.
Members of the Virginia Supreme Court are weighing how the Alexandria waterfront plan was approved last year.
Neighbors in Old Town filed a protest petition asking for a supermajority vote, but city officials put off the determination until the public hearing, just before the council vote, rejecting the petition and telling petitioners the city was closed for business as they tried to appeal.
"The real question before the court is can city officials make determinations outside business hours but demand that appeals be made during business hours, canceling the right to appeal," says Attorney Mike Thompkins. "That's wrong, and it shouldn't be allowed. But it is happening, and we are asking the court to prevent that."
Homeowner Beth Gibney is one of the homeowners who filed the petition. She says her rights were violated by city officials who cast aside serious concerns of citizens.
"We really feel like it needs real public input, not just sort of a monkey court input like it had last time. This time, I think, they do have everyone's attention."
Lawyers who argued for the city declined to comment. The justices are expected to rule later this year.