A redevelopment plan for Alexandria's waterfront moved one step closer to implementation Saturday after the city council approved an ordinance incorporating the previously approved plan into the city's master plan.
The ordinance, which passed by a vote of 4-2, is one of two that must be passed before work can begin on the project. The other ordinance, which would implement waterfront zoning changes required by the plan, will not go forward until Alexandria's Board of Zoning Appeals has heard an appeal by opponents of the current plan.
A revised plan for the waterfront development was approved last month by a 5-2 vote over the opposition of a group called Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan (CAAWP). The group, which filed the appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals, alleges that supporters of the plan have been unwilling to listen to arguments from citizens opposed to the plan.
CAAWP and its allies argue that taller, more modern buildings would disrupt the city's character and create traffic and parking issues. Supporters believe new parks, hotels and shops will bring more businesses and tax revenue to Alexandria.
Members of CAAWP held a protest outside the City Council chambers while the vote was taking place.
"CAAWP has already spent thousands of dollars fighting the City, and the City has already spent thousands of dollars fighting the citizens, using taxpayer money," Andrew Macdonald, CAAWP's co-chair, said in a statement. "The current Democratic majority on City Council has lost the confidence of the public. The flawed public process that has plagued the waterfront has now flowed to the West End. These issues are going to define the next election.”
Opponents of the City Council's plan have vowed to take their case to Circuit Court if the Board of Zoning Appeals rules against them.