Letter to the Editor: Who Knows Best?

Letter to the Editor: Who Knows Best?

To the Editor:

Although the City Council voted 6-1 to rezone the Alexandria waterfront last Saturday, and although I was disappointed that four years of constructive planning were coming to an end, I was impressed by the intellectual clarity of the council members. It was clear that they understood the concerns of residents and the importance of creating a waterfront that will complement one of the most important historic districts in the nation.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Chapman noted just how romantic a venue the waterfront is, or could be, if it weren’t for those old warehouses that gobble up some much landscape. Ms. Pepper took the opportunity to say that she had pushed for fewer “boutique hotels” and that former Mayor Beatley would just have loved this plan. Mr. Smedberg, who never misses the opportunity to say he likes glass not bricks — Ms. Pepper’s historic building material of choice — said he could not imagine a more beautiful waterfront plan. Mr. Lovain, who lives in Del Ray, said he loves the waterfront as much as anyone and doesn’t want it destroyed, either.

The highpoint of the hearing occurred when Mayor Euille told everyone how he had received an anonymous email from someone who told him to remember that leaders must make tough decisions that many will not like, and that is OK. There will be other opportunities for citizens concerned about development to show up and speak again he said.

Only Vice Mayor Ms. Silberberg struck a discordant note in the chamber when she offered that the council might want to allow only one hotel, and here’s the real zinger: she said we should hold on to the 1992 zoning, which a prior council had adopted to halt overdevelopment on the waterfront. The mayor called the idea out of order, no one seconded her motion for discussion, and that was essentially the end of any further opposition.

It was a fine day all and all at City Hall. Citizens can rest assured that its elected leaders know what’s best for the city, even when its citizens don’t.

Andrew Macdonald