A New Marina For Old Town Gets Green Light

A New Marina For Old Town Gets Green Light

Health Department Will Move to New Quarters

After a 13 year hiatus, the final phase of the Harborside condominium marina was once again approved by the Alexandria Planning Commission. It will now be called the New Harborside Yacht Club, LLC.

On June 17, 1989, City Council approved a 26 slip private marina for the Harborside condominium development bounded by Wolfe, Wilkes, and Union streets along the Potomac River. But because of slow sales of the Harborside units only the first phase of the marina was completed, according to the applicant's request for a new Special Use Permit (SUP).

The existing 11 slip marina is located at the South end of the project. Due to the time gap, both the original SUP and the Certificate of Appropriateness, approved by the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) on June 4, 1997, have expired. It will also require reapproval.

As a part of the new application, two elements of the original plan have been changed:

* There will only be nine slips in the second phase of the marina bringing the total to 20 rather than 26.

* Phase II will be owned by the New Harborside Yacht Club, LLC rather than the Harborside Condominium Unit Owners Association, owners of the existing marina. It is anticipated the two owners will be merged in the future, according to the staff report supporting approval of the new SUP.

PLANS CALL FOR Phase II of the marina to be 174.5 feet wide and installed along the existing bulkhead. A gangway path with handrails will connect the floating pier to the shore. The marina will be limited to mooring private boats for the residents of Harborside.

The staff analysis of the proposal stated, "The marina adds to active uses along the waterfront. Although the marina is private, public access is maintained along the waterfront with a gazebo and park easement where the walkway and bike path have been developed. In addition, both the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have issued permits to construct the marina."

Both the proposed Phase II marina and the existing one will be on submerged land owned by the federal government and managed by the Park Service. The submerged lands as well as the adjacent open space area and the Harborside development are all part of the waterfront settlement agreements entered into in the early 1980s by the United States, the city, and the private parties claiming ownership, according to the staff report.

ALSO APPROVED by the Planning Commission was the proposed move of the City Health Department from its present location at 517 N. St. Asaph St. to 4480 King St. The rationale for the move, as stated in the application, was:

* The offices and clinic are currently located in a 57 year old building which no longer conforms to modern building and space standards and lacks sufficient parking to support the customer base.

* The majority of city residents currently receiving preventive health care services at the facility reside in the West end of Alexandria and a location in that section of the city would offer "the greatest convenience to the largest number of current and potential clients."

The proposed new building, between Hampton Drive and 28th Street, contains 60,000 square feet within six stories. It has a 132 space underground parking structure as well as 35 surface parking spaces. It is anticipated that there will be 105 employees at the new site plus approximately 75 patients and visitors per day.

According to the General Services Department, the city has signed an $8.2 million sales contract for the property. The move is scheduled to be completed with the next two years.

IN OTHER ACTION, the Planning Commission reapproved two restaurant SUP's previously recommended for revocation.

* The first was for the Afghan Restaurant at 2700 Jefferson Davis Highway. In 2001 the Commission had recommended revocation of the SUP due to a series of violations. But, Council overrode that recommendation and extended the permit based on management changes and a constant review. Changes were made and the present renewal is part of that ongoing review process.

* The second applied to Mancini's Restaurant at 1508 Mount Vernon Ave. It was noted in the staff report that, "The applicant has received tickets over the past year (for a variety of complaints), but except for employees parking on the street, has corrected the problems." There will also be an ongoing review as part of the renewal of the SUP.