Council Notebook

Council Notebook

A Well-Read Advertisement

Only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Although the grim reaper does not advertise, the City Council does — and on Tuesday night, the council voted to advertise a tax rate of 84.7 cents for every $100 of assessed value.

"We can go lower that — and undoubtedly, we will," said Vice Mayor Del Pepper.

A special public hearing to consider the tax rate will be held at City Hall on March 18. Council’s advertised tax rate would increase the average tax bill $427 from $4,035 to $4,462.

"The real and personal property tax rates that are approved by City Council for public hearing and final consideration would be the highest tax rates that the council could consider and adopt," wrote City Manager Jim Hartman in his recommendation for the advertisement. "By state law, council could adopt those rates or could adopt lower tax rates than those approved for public hearing."

If only the grim reaper were so flexible.


The Edible Permit

It’s possible that the best way to an elected official’s heart is through his stomach. For City Councilman Rob Krupicka, who was considering a special-use permit for a new Del Ray restaurant, culinary details were very important.

"You’re going to have a sushi bar?" he asked one applicant in obvious delight during Saturday’s public hearing. "Wow!"

Krupicka was not the only member of the council that was awestruck at Alexandria resident Eric Nelson’s proposal to turn an old dry-cleaning building into a restaurant with an art gallery and artist studios.

"This is a first for Alexandria," said Mayor William D. Euille. "We’ve never had anything like this before."

Perhaps Nelson could name food items after council members. The Krupicka Roll, for example, would include the councilman’s favorite— spicy tuna.

"I’ve got a certain number of constituents who told me that they would not vote for me again unless I delivered a sushi bar in Del Ray," Krupicka said. "So here it is. The council has delivered."


Pepper Pathway?

The statue of Dwight Eisenhower at the east end of Eisenhower Avenue seems lonely. It stands in the center of a circle that is largely undeveloped. But that’s about to change. On Saturday, the City Council adopted a series of special use permits that will transform the area between the statue and the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station.

"We want this to be a new town center," said Eileen Fogarty, director of the Department of Planning and Zoning. "We’re creating a city within a city. We’ve really never done this before."

Saturday’s vote ended a lengthy process that involved years of planning to create Eisenhower East — a blueprint for new hotels, residences, offices and retail stores. Fogarty said that one part of the plan calls for installing a wide green median and renaming the road "Eisenhower Boulevard."

Vice Mayor Del Pepper — a staunch advocate of the west end — didn’t want to miss her chance to champion her favorite cause.

"If we are going to call it Eisenhower Boulevard, when we get around to the Van Dorn Street Plan, I think we should call it Van Dorn Boulevard," she said.

"We’re not going to call it Pepper Pathway?" asked Councilman Paul Smedberg.