To the Editor:
While The Old Town Civic Association is disappointed that the City Council did not defer approval of the plan to take the extra time to address the concerns outlined in the OTCA Board Resolution, we acknowledge that by their action on Jan. 21, the Draft Waterfront Small Area Plan is now an approved plan and that the planning process is now entering the next phase in its evolution.
Since the waterfront planning process started in 2009, the OTCA Board has worked cooperatively with City staff to improve the plan wherever we believed there was a negative impact on adjacent residential areas, the historic character of Old Town, and our quality of life. Apart from the defeat in retaining the existing W-1 Zone density in the plan, we have, working with others in the community, moved staff to adopt several solutions that have less negative impact on — and more positive results — for our community.
We believe there are important issues with the plan that must be resolved. That is why the OTCA Board wants to communicate to the City that the citizens of Old Town must have a voice in the process as the plan moves forward. For example, it is imperative that that an OTCA representative is a member of the proposed citizens group overseeing plan implementation, that we have a voice in the formation of task forces to study flood mitigation, traffic/parking along Union Street, and the pleasure boat marina. These — and others — are key elements of the plan that will affect our neighborhoods in profound ways.
OTCA has been a respected voice for all of Old Town citizens for over 60 years — -because we are able to work with the City, our neighbors and the business community through constructive engagement. There is no perfect plan that will please everyone, but the OTCA Board believes that by working through the next steps we can make this a better plan for all citizens of Alexandria.
President, Old Town Civic Association