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Letter: Anti-Status-Quo Thinking

To the Editor:

Your reporter Michael Pope continues to make a basic factual error about the city-approved waterfront plan.

Pope states once again in his Oct. 18 front-page article that the plan would triple the allowable density on the three waterfront redevelopment sites. This is incorrect.

Even before the plan was approved, the owners of three development properties had rights almost as great as those approved under the plan. To be sure, the plan does allow more density, but the amount is very modest.

To say it another way, even before the waterfront plan’s approval, the owners of the Cummings-Turner properties could have legally built a multi-story luxury condo building of almost the same size as the hotel they recently proposed for the site.

Pope characterizes the current Democratic City Council as representing the status quo. This too is incorrect.

The status quo on the waterfront is one in which semi-private enclaves of luxury homes and private office buildings dominate, with public activity relatively limited. If the anti-waterfront plan candidates take control and roll back the plan, this status quo will be reinforced, because the most probable outcome is development in which more homes for well-to-do people are built and public activity is limited.

Mayor Bill Euille and the Democratic City Council candidates have rejected this position based on narrow self-interest and have argued instead that the waterfront is for all Alexandrians and should have more public activities. This is the kind of anti-status-quo thinking that we need in this city.

Bill Hendrickson

Alexandria

*Editor’s Note: The article states “The zoning change would almost triple density allowed at three sites on the waterfront compared to what’s there now.” The existing square footage is 301,687. Current zoning with SUP allows 647,449 square feet. Settlement agreement allows 744,105 square feet. The Waterfront Plan proposes 806,485 square feet.