Fight Brewing Over Old Town Alexandria Waterfront

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The City of Alexandria has called for public hearings to determine what should happen to the Old Dominion Boat Club parking lot. The city wants to turn the land into a park, but negotiations have stalled. Eminent domain may be used to settle the dispute. News4's Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver has the story. (Published Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013)

    Within Alexandria's Old Town there is a bitter fight over a valuable piece of waterfront real estate.

    The land currently belongs to the Old Dominion Boat Club, an establishment with deep roots in Northern Virginia. It was chartered in 1880 and its property along Old Town's waterfront is highly desired.

    For the past 15 years, the City of Alexandria has looked to acquire part of the land, specifically the club's parking lot, which serves as access to the Potomac River. However, those negotiations stalled several times.

    The most recent setback came three weeks ago, according to city officials. That was the last time the boat club's leadership team met with city officials -- the discussions didn't go far.

    Tuesday, the city moved forward with plans in hopes of acquiring the parking lot.

    City Mayor William Euille, along with the city manager and city attorney, called for a special session of the Alexandria City Council, that would include a public hearing. The outcome of that meeting could result in the city seizing the property using eminent domain.

    "Time has come where after 10 years I must change my approach and we'll have to do what's in the best interest of the citizens of this great historic city," Mayor Euille said.

    The land would be part of the greater Old Town Waterfront redevelopment. The proposed plans allow the public more access to the desired views of the Potomac River.

    "It is going to be a public accessible park - no buildings, no development would occur. It would be a park, open space," City Manager Rashad Young said.

    But members of the historic club are fighting the city's proposals.

    "If you lose the lot it's going to be problematic to sustain operations here at the boat club, because how are we going to get boats in and out of the water?" Sean Gallagher said.

    Gallagher, who's not a part of the club's leadership team, said the club has tried to negotiate with the city.

    "But every time we've offered something, there's been something in the way that the city couldn't do," he said.

    News4's David Culver called the boat club president, Miles Holtzman, but he told Culver he had no comment to the media.