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A proposed city plan for Alexandria's Old Town waterfront is ruffling feathers yet again. Opponents of the effort are preparing to release a report this weekend offering an alternative to the proposal.
Several months ago, a group of residents came together to oppose the city's plan to overturn a longstanding ban on hotels and allow more square footage of development than current zoning allows. Now, after months of research and planning, the group is ready to unveil its argument.
"I think it's fundamentally the same kind of arguments that led to the preservation of the historic districts in Alexandria, that we think that there is an inherent value in preserving these very special features of the town," says former vice mayor Andrew MacDonald, who is heading up the effort.
The alternative plan calls for the city to keep the existing zoning rather than increasing density, and keep the longstanding ban on hotels. It also suggests the city use density or land swaps to acquire property along the waterfront for parks, which could allow the city to add open space without spending the money to purchase property.
Mayor Bill Euille says he has an open mind, but he still supports the plan before City Council members. "If not hotels, then what?" says Euille. "Personally for me, I don't want to see our waterfront blocked with residential."
City Council members are expected to cast a final vote on the waterfront development plan in December.