Uhler’s Challenging Infill in Alexandria

Uhler’s Challenging Infill in Alexandria

Location of the new Uhler Terrace home.

Location of the new Uhler Terrace home. Photo contributed

There’s a problem on Susan Lavington’s street. On Uhler Terrace, the end of the street is so narrow that to turn around, one has to pull into Lavington’s driveway.

Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper was forced to do this when she visited Lavington’s home before the April 14 City Council meeting.

Councilman Timothy Lovain said he had to back down the street all the way to the first intersection.

Despite the tight confines, the City Council unanimously approved a new single family dwelling on an underdeveloped, substandard lot.

“I disagree with the infill requirement that city staff says they don’t think construction will negatively affect property values,” said Lavington. “This is not a cul-de-sac. It’s an odd street [that] ends in my driveway. There’s no place to turn around… Saying that [adding a new home] won’t affect my property values is a stretch. It’s not a street built to have a house other than my house, now will have a house next to me with traffic a street was never built to accommodate.”

But city staff noted that the proposed two-story townhouse meets all of the city’s infill requirements except for height. Kathy Puskar, an applicant for the home developer, also lives on the street.

“Our property values are being negatively impacted right now,” said Puskar. “I bought my house in 2015, the house [currently on the lot] has been vacant since I moved in. The prior owner tore down all the trees and left house vacant… We do have a narrow block, it does slow down people like Del Pepper who like to get places quickly. It is a challenge and we all have to be careful when we back out. Susan’s house is at the end of the street. The new house will have a parking pad with two spaces. If the house were built, [people] would be able to pull into that driveway and pull out.”

The council recognized the challenge, but approved the building nonetheless.

“By no means is it a perfect situation,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg, “but it’s already a very narrow street.”