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Letter: The Ruin of West End

To the Editor:

The Beauregard Draft Plan currently being "rolled out" for public scrutiny portends the ruin of the West End.

It destroys an area that is not blighted, not crime ridden, a multi-cultural community where people get along and like their neighbors. The Draft Plan would tear down much of this section of Alexandria, ultimately potentially displacing more than ten thousand residents.

Almost immediately after adoption as many as 2,100 persons would lose their homes at the Seminary Hill Apartments, owned by Home Properties, and at least as many more at the former Hamlets, now owned by JBG.

The Plan replaces this community with a highly dense development of condos and townhouses and shops for the well-to-do. In effect it rips the heart and soul out of the West End. Note that the plan to redevelop the Landmark/Van Dorn area did not displace a single resident. Nor, for all its controversial aspects, did the recent Waterfront Plan.

The Beauregard Plan destroys the largest amount of market affordable housing in the City. It would displace thousands before a single dollar is spent on any affordable housing. The first date given in the Draft Plan for funding affordable housing is "After 2020" — and no guarantees then. Moreover, because of the high bar placed on incomes for this housing after 2020, none of the current residents likely could qualify.

Another indignity is the fact that the Draft Plan calls for $60 million of Alexandria taxpayer money would be spent up front to build the infrastructure necessary for the developers to proceed, including $29 million for a highly dubious traffic ellipse. None of the $60 million would go to house the displaced. With this Draft Plan the City Staff clearly has put cement above citizens. That is shameful.

In short, the current Draft Plan is deeply flawed and must be thoroughly overhauled before any formal consideration is warranted.

Jack Sullivan

Alexandria