Dense Side of the Tracks

Dense Side of the Tracks

With the increase in size and scale of developments on the east side of the Braddock Street Metro station, many Parker Gray neighborhood residents are wondering why similar density hasn’t been proposed for the west side of the station. During a discussion about the continuation of a permit for the 7-Eleven convenience store on the Del Ray side of the tracks, Councilwoman Del Pepper posed the question to city staff.

“The station is on the east side of the tracks,” responded Rich Josephson, acting director of the Planning Department. “The west side of the Metro station is really more of a transition area.”

But Josephson’s description of the high-density, low-density split fell on the wrong side of the tracks for some.

“I think it’s an unfortunate demarcation,” said Sarah Becker, a former Inner City Civic Association president who has publicly questioned why more dense development is not being considered on the Del Ray side of the Metro station. “The real transition is from the Inner City to Del Ray, and for many people that brings up all of the discriminatory elements that people feel the Parker-Gray neighborhood has suffered.”


Pulling a Speck

Think quickly: Is 12 a.m. noon or midnight? If you guessed midnight, you’d be correct. But the confusion between the two was something that Councilman Paul Smedberg said was easy to correct. During discussion of a special-use permit for a new King Street store that plans to stay open until 12 a.m., Smedberg said that documents could easily avoid confusion by using “noon” or “midnight” instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m.

“I’m going to pull a David Speck here,” said Smedberg, referencing the former City Council member who was renown for his fastidious nature. “It’s probably better to use the phrase ‘midnight’ instead of 12 a.m.”


Buttering Up the Mayor

Boyd Walker is a man with many titles: son of former City Councilwoman Lois Walker, campaign manager for Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald — and now, restaurateur. During a public-hearing on Saturday, City Council approved a special-use permit for Walker’s new restaurant, Bakery Orlov, at 1307 King St. And he wasn’t above buttering up the mayor on a topic near and dear to his heart.

“We would be happy to be the first smoke-free restaurant under your new plan, Mr. Mayor,” said Walker, referencing the Euille’s proposed text amendment to the city’s Zoning Ordinance that will force restaurants to become smoke free or face the wrath of City Hall.

“Oh, great,” responded Euille. “But that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for you.”

After wondering aloud why the establishment wouldn’t be serving beer and wine if it planned to stay open until midnight, the mayor decided to vote for approval. The permit passed in a six-to-zero vote, with Macdonald recusing himself from the vote — citing his close personal friendship with the applicant.


The $1,000 Trash Can

Sometimes it seems like following the rules at City Hall is like throwing money away — literally. During Saturday’s public hearing, David Gwathmey told City Council members that he was puzzled to see condition 16 of his permit for a West End restaurant: “Applicant shall provide the city $1,000 for one Model SD-42 Bethesda Series litter receptacle for installation on the adjacent pubic right-of-way.”

“I was little surprised to the requirement for a $1,000 trash can,” said Gwathmey. “But I just assumed that was the cost of doing business in Alexandria.”