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Alexandria Sets 90-Day Ultimatum For Use Of Eminent Domain On Boat Club

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Alexandria City Hall is packed with speakers who opposed the city's threat to use eminent domain to take land owned by the Old Dominion Boat Club.
WAMU/Michael Pope
Alexandria City Hall is packed with speakers who opposed the city's threat to use eminent domain to take land owned by the Old Dominion Boat Club.

Members of the Alexandria City Council are warning the Old Dominion Boat club they may use the power of eminent domain to take some of its land at the foot of King Street.

Ninety days. That's the deadline a majority of Alexandria City Council members have set to come to some kind of resolution with the Boat Club over its parking lot and boat launch. If that doesn't happen, Council members say they are prepared to take the land using the power of eminent domain.

"That is a vehicle and a tool that's always been available to local government but hopefully we won't have to go down that road," said Mayor Bill Euille, who voted with a majority of members on the motion.

The lone dissenting vote was from Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg, who campaigned against the waterfront plan, which includes language about transforming the parking lot into a public park.

"Eminent domain should be rarely exercised, and a classic example of it being exercised is when President Eisenhower used it to create the Interstate and this is not an Interstate," she said.

During a public hearing last night, Council members heard from dozens of citizens who said moving forward with eminent domain would be an embarrassing and costly mistake for the city. Members of the Boat Club urged City Council members to accept their compromise, which involves a lease that would allow public access along the waterfront.

"The club does have a concern that a future City Council might come along and basically negate the deal by exercising eminent domain to take the rest of the property," said Boat Club member Bert Ely.

The deadline for resolution is February 17.


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