Without some creative solutions, Alexandria is destined to be evermore congested and costly. And, based on the manner in which our new City Council addressed the proposed city budget, it doesn't appear any solutions will emanate from them either.
Case in point: when confronted recently with whether to increase property taxes, they had a polite discussion about their historic proclivity to spend. True to form, soon after stating the obvious, they agreed to give themselves the authority to raise property taxes. Although the new vice mayor dissented, not a single council member mentioned spending less
Nor has any council member — whether running for office or since being elected — made the connection between ever-increasing property taxes, affordable housing, traffic congestion and school crowding. Affordable housing is probably the single most intense heart-tugging concern that everyone residing in Alexandria can quickly understand.
But few seem to appreciate that our pro-development mayor and our single political-party council are causing this problem and its related ones: traffic congestion, evermore taxes and school crowding.
Think about it for a minute: Luring more people into the finite amount of space that constitutes Alexandria which contains a fixed number of roads and classroom capacity for a set number of students is a recipe for human and vehicular congestion.
And, as we have already observed, these demands perforce trigger increased taxes to pay for more city services and classrooms the cost for which never decreases. The resulting ever-increasing tax burden makes everything more expensive, including rents which makes housing less affordable. What to do?
If attracting more and more residents and their vehicles are the causing traffic congestion, demand for costly city services, the affordable housing crisis and the annual tax increases, then these diminishing quality of life consequences can be ameliorated by thoughtfully restraining the number of full time residents.
Zoning restraints, including restricting building heights, strikes me as the simplest and fastest way our city can avoid becoming ever more costly and congested. If there are no restrictions in place when the Amazonians invade, then you can also say goodbye to a hefty chunk of Alexandria's remaining charm and ambiance