Letter: Identifying Problems

Letter: Identifying Problems

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

We, a group of concerned Patrick Henry neighbors, are writing to provide our feedback regarding the Patrick Henry project. Our concerns and suggestions are detailed below.

Entrances and Parking on Latham Street


  • All of the plans include a parking lot/entrance on Latham Street.

  • The traffic generated would disrupt Latham, Peacock and other streets.

  • The city classifies Latham as “residential.” The city’s goal is that “local traffic should be encouraged while cut through traffic should be limited and discouraged.”

  • Taney is a “residential collector.” It is a two-lane road with shoulders that handles the school/rec center traffic.


  • We ask that having no points of ingress/egress on Latham be included as a basic design assumption.

  • All points of ingress/egress should stay on Taney.

  • If a fire loop must exit onto Latham, we ask for barriers so it can only be accessed by emergency vehicles.

Scale of the Recreation Center


  • The scale of the recreation center is too large for the neighborhood and it overcrowds the lot. A significant amount of green space is lost.

  • The multipurpose field represents a loss of well used park land. It would be the end of community/family activities because it would likely require permits and/or a high fence.

  • It is important for the city, neighborhood, and school to keep open spaces. A reduction contradicts the Small Area Plan and the Open Space Goals and Guidelines in the Long Range Educational Facilities Plan. The guidelines state “school sites shall avoid any net loss of open space on the property and seek to improve the quality of the open space on existing sites.”

  • Major school design assumptions have been affected by a too-large and too-costly rec center.

  • During the community meetings, there was only interest in after-school care and senior activities. No one indicated interest in the elaborate facilities proposed.


  • We ask for a smaller, attached recreation center. It would provide the services needed while taking up less open space. Facilities could be shared which would create space and cost savings.

  • We request that the School Board delay a vote until the final information on the rec center can be incorporated.

  • We ask the city and School Board to stipulate that no lights will be placed on any outdoor field.

Scale of the School Building


  • In the New Building 2 (the preferred option of ACPS staff), a three-story wing faces the smaller homes on Latham.


  • We ask that any three-story wing not face Latham.

  • The architect should employ all design techniques to reduce the apparent mass and scale of the building against Latham.

  • To avoid delays and redesign expenses, the neighborhood requests that we have two representatives on the design review team.

Mary Biegel

And 60 concerned Patrick Henry neighbors

This letter, which has been condensed, was sent to the Alexandria City Council and School Board. It was signed by a group of more than 60 residents surrounding Patrick Henry Elementary School.