Compromise Or Fight? Alexandria Boat Club Takes Vote | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Compromise Or Fight? Alexandria Boat Club Takes Vote

Play associated audio
Alexandria has threatened to seize these parking spots with eminent domain for flood mitigation.
Michael Pope/WAMU
Alexandria has threatened to seize these parking spots with eminent domain for flood mitigation.

Members of the Old Dominion Boat Club in Alexandria, Va., are on the verge of fighting the city government over eminent domain.

Today is the final day of voting for members of the boat club, which has been at the center of a bitter debate with city officials about a parking lot at the foot of King Street. City officials want to transform the parking lot into a public plaza, but members use the parking lot to get their boats into the river. Now members are casting a ballot for one of three options negotiated with the city.

"The specter of eminent domain was hanging over the negotiations," says Richard Banchoff, president of the Boat Club. "We didn't want to be in a position where the negotiations broke down, and then the city would feel entitled to go to eminent domain without our members having any alternatives."

One alternative would be for the city to take the Boat Club's parking lot and boat launch. In return, the city would give the club parking in an Old Town garage and $2.5 million. Another option would be for the Boat Club to move to a building at the foot of Prince Street, an offer that includes a waterfront parking lot and boat launch. That offer comes with $5 million.

"I just think it's wrong for government to come in and step in and this council has basically become the eminent domain council," says Townsend Van Fleet.

Fleet says he's supporting a third option — call the city's bluff and fight eminent domain in court.

Former Waterfront Commission member Christine Bernstein says she disagrees with how the Boat Club has structured the ballot because members who want to cut a deal will be divided between the two compromise options.

"It appears more like a ballot that was structured for the Crimea election rather than Alexandria, Va., in the United States of America," Bernstein says.

If Boat Club members vote for fighting the city in court, members of the City Council will have to vote on eminent domain — a part of their record that will likely be brought up in future elections.

NPR

Puerto Rico Is Sowing A New Generation Of Small Farmers

Decades of industrialization have left the island reliant on imported food. But change is coming — from government subsidies for small farmers, to classes that teach school kids how to grow food.
NPR

Puerto Rico Is Sowing A New Generation Of Small Farmers

Decades of industrialization have left the island reliant on imported food. But change is coming — from government subsidies for small farmers, to classes that teach school kids how to grow food.
WAMU 88.5

Abortion Is Back In The Spotlight In Virginia

The state's current attorney general is overturning a ruling from the previous attorney general that would have shut down most of the abortion clinics in the state, and the issue isn't just about regulations and politics. It's also about money.
NPR

Smartphones Can Be Smart Enough To Find A Parasitic Worm

If someone is infected by the Loa loa worm, taking a drug to treat river blindness could be risky. Now there's a fast way to identify the worm — by turning a smartphone into a microscope.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.