Boat Club Won't Budge, So Alexandria Scales Back Waterfront Plan

The parking lot for the Old Dominion Boat Club in Alexandria sits at the foot of King Street, a space that Planning Director Faroll Hamer wanted to transform into a new public park. But the club was unwilling to move its parking lot, so now she's scaling back her proposal.

"It does include a sort of reality check," she said.

The new plan dumps a space Hamer once called the heart of the waterfront proposal: a public park connected to a 200-foot pier. There are two alternatives that have emerged -- one from the boat club to create a walkway along the Potomac, and the city's plan to reconfigure the existing parking lot to allow access to the river from King Street -- although an agreement on a new plan still seems a long way off.

In addition to the boat club discussion, other officials still see problems with the proposed plan. Former Alexandria Vice Mayor Andrew MacDonald said the changes still don't address concerns of Old Town residents.

"Commercial development being the main theme of this waterfront has not changed at all," he said. "They still want an enormous amount of new density. They really haven't made museums or parks the main focus of this plan at all."

Some residents have banded together to argue that the plan makes too many concessions to developers. It proposes 50-foot-tall buildings -- including a hotel, something previously prohibited on Alexandria's waterfront -- on two sites.

The city's planning commission will vote on the plan May 3, and the Alexandria City Council could vote on a final plan sometime in May.


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