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July 28, 2011 Published in Letters/Opinions

Citizens For An Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan Opposes City’s Possible Use Of Eminent Domain Against The Old Dominion Boat Club

Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan
Opinion

Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan (CAAWP) are opposed to having our City government pursue an eminent domain action against the Old Dominion Boat Club to obtain a small number of private parking spaces on the Strand and to remove the easement the boat club holds for Wales Alley.

The city government claims the land and the rights relating to the alley are worth $150,000. The boat club is undoubtedly correct that they are worth much more. Whatever, the true monetary value for private owners, obtaining this land and reserving the right to impede the alley has no public value. If the city were to succeed, the sole beneficiary of its action would be the owners of the Virtue Feed and Grain restaurant. Their patrons could continue to dine in the alley in violation of a court order and perhaps use the parking spaces that are now private spaces reserved for the boat club.

The citizens of Alexandria would be paying for something of no benefit to them. In fact, reserving part of the alley for a private use contravenes a stated objective of the proposed waterfront plan to open up historic alleys to provide more connections to the Potomac River. Wales Alley adjoins the oldest building in the city and is part of the legacy of the colonial era seaport we in CAAWP are pledged to preserve and enhance.

The action for eminent domain is wrong in every way. It shows favoritism to one private entity over another. It would be a cost borne by all Alexandria taxpayers and it provides no public benefit for citizens or tourists.

About CAAWP:

Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan (CAAWP) is a newly formed organization of Alexandria residents who are concerned by City Council’s proposed waterfront development plans. Led by Andrew MacDonald, a former Council member, and Boyd Walker, of the Greater Alexandria Preservation Alliance, CAAWP is dedicated to preserving affordable public access to the waterfront and celebrating Alexandria’s seaport history. For more information please visit: http://www.alternativealexandriawaterfrontplan.com/

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