The future of the waterfront in Alexandria, Va., could be determined Saturday.
Community leaders, residents and business owners have been at odds over the redevelopment of the area for years. A plan for redevelopment will go to a vote Saturday morning. The proposed design calls for new parks, hotels and commercial development among other things.
Resident Nikki Enfield said she can’t see how commercial viability is a bad thing for the area. However, Bert Ely, of the Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, said the proposal would add density to the area and submitted a minority report to the city.
"It would add traffic congestion,” he said. “It would make parking even less available than it is today and it could lead to the development of a number of hotels and uses along the waterfront that would not be consistent with the historic nature of Old Town Alexandria."
In a letter to the city attorney, Andrew MacDonald, who's also against the plan, asked Vice Mayor Kerry Donley to recuse himself from Saturday’s vote, citing the bank Donley works for has vested interest with local businesses that would be affected by the proposed plan.
"There's a cozy relationship with the development community," MacDonald said.
Donley said he does not plan to recuse himself.
MacDonald said he also has concerns Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille has a conflict of interest because he's invested in a restaurant near the waterfront.
Two hundred residents have petitioned seeking a supermajority vote. The mayor said it won't happen and has no problem being transparent with the community.
"I will do a public disclosure to make certain that folks understand I do not have a conflict of interest," he said.
If approved, construction of the new waterfront would take place over the next 15 years, city officials said. Saturday’s meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. There are 105 residents expected to speak.