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Boat Club Loses Fight Over Alley Access In Alexandria

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Virtue Feed & Grain in Old Town Alexandria borders Wales Alley. A court ruled Tuesday that the city can lease a portion of the alley to the restaurant for its outdoor seating.
Thomas Cizauskas (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cizauskas/5821047209/)
Virtue Feed & Grain in Old Town Alexandria borders Wales Alley. A court ruled Tuesday that the city can lease a portion of the alley to the restaurant for its outdoor seating.

The Alexandria Circuit Court has ruled against the Old Dominion Boat Club in its challenge of the city's ability to lease a public alley to a restaurant.

Private virtue is a public good. That was the result of a decision this week from the court, which gave the green light to city officials who want to lease part of Wales Alley to a private restaurant called Virtue Feed & Grain. 

The case went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court before it was remanded back to the Circuit Court, where the Boat Club argued that they had a right to use the alley to transport their boats. City Attorney James Banks disagreed.

"Once a piece of land was treated as a public way, it was dedicated to the public, it became a public way by operation of the city charter," Banks said. "That's a very clear principal of law, and that was really the turning point for the entire case."

Boat club president Miles Holtzman said the court's ruling is eminent domain in reverse.

"Usually with eminent domain, it's property being taken from a private entity for public good," Holtzman said after the ruling. "In this case, it was given to another private property owner."

Members of the Boat Club will be considering their next move in the coming weeks, Holtzman added.

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