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Last updated: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:35:30 GMT

 Seniors: City housing resources for older adults Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:11:14 +0000
By Sharon Dantzig Are you an older adult wishing to downsize and stay in the community, but not sure where to begin? The Alexandria Commission on Aging collaborated with Alexandria’s Office of Housing to identify features that are important to older adults. Alexandria’s 2019 Apartment Survey will include some of these items. The annual apartment […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By Sharon Dantzig

Are you an older adult wishing to downsize and stay in the community, but not sure where to begin? The Alexandria Commission on Aging collaborated with Alexandria’s Office of Housing to identify features that are important to older adults. Alexandria’s 2019 Apartment Survey will include some of these items.

The annual apartment survey provides information regarding Alexandria apartment properties with 10 or more units, including the name and location of the property, year built, management contacts, rent of each unit type (as reported by the property on the date of the survey), whether the tenant pays utilities and amenities offered. New for 2019, the survey will include information on accessible units and onsite parking.

The Office of Housing is also developing a map that will show where apartment complexes are located. The survey, which became available in late March, can be found on the Office of Housing’s webpage, www.alexandriava.gov/housing, by clicking “Renter Resources” on the sidebar.

In 2019, the Office of Housing will also publish a condominium survey that provides similar information, as well as condo fees and annual assessment values, as published by the city. The expected publication date for the survey is June 2019. It can also be found on the Office of Housing’s webpage by clicking “Homeowner Resources” on the sidebar.

While the apartment and condominium surveys are intended to provide comprehensive information, please note that some rental apartments and condominium associations choose not to participate in the surveys. Nevertheless, the surveys are a good place to start your search, and the Office of Housing will begin publishing all publicly available information for nonparticipating complexes as a resource to housing seekers in future editions.

For older adults who wish to stay in their home or apartment, the Office of Housing has two programs that can provide assistance. The city’s home rehabilitation loan program helps low-income homeowners repair their homes and/or make accessibility improvements for mobility-impaired persons. The loan is offered at 0 percent financing and repayment is deferred for 99 years or until the property is sold. To be eligible for the program, the household’s annual income cannot exceed HUD-determined income limits, which in 2018 ranged from $65,680 for a one-person household to $101,280 for a five-person household.

For renters, under its rental accessibility modification program, the Office of Housing can provide accessibility modifications, including walk-in bathtubs, roll-in showers and handicap ramps for disabled, income-qualified renters. In cooperation with the property owner, the city provides project coordination and grants of up to $50,000 to complete accessibility modifications to apartments so renters can remain in their homes. The program also offers smaller grants of up to $1,500 to assist renters who require limited modifications.

The Office of Housing provides a range of other services to homeowners, renters and homebuyers of all ages, as well as landlords and property managers. It collaborates with development partners to preserve and create affordable and accessible housing options across the City of Alexandria. For more information, see the Office of Housing’s webpage, www.alexandriava.gov/housing, or call them at 703-746-4990.

The writer is a member of the Alexandria Commission on Aging.

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 Seniors: Combatting loneliness in older adults Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:03:58 +0000
By Cele Garrett In January 2018, the British government announced the creation of its first Minister of Loneliness. Many people wondered if that was a joke, but those of us who serve older citizens know very well that loneliness is no laughing matter. Loneliness isn’t reserved for our elders, of course, but Baby Boomers in […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By Cele Garrett

In January 2018, the British government announced the creation of its first Minister of Loneliness. Many people wondered if that was a joke, but those of us who serve older citizens know very well that loneliness is no laughing matter.

Loneliness isn’t reserved for our elders, of course, but Baby Boomers in the U.S. are aging alone more than any prior generation. Statistics suggest that the rates of loneliness are increasing, and experts say this is due to fewer social interactions and a decreased responsibility for each other. Loneliness and social isolation among our seniors are public health threats that impact every community, including our own.

Many cities and neighborhoods have rolled up their sleeves in a grassroots effort to help stem the tide of loneliness among seniors and to help them stay safe and independent. That’s how the “village movement” was born 17 years ago. At Home in Alexandria is one of the 350 membership-based nonprofit “villages” across the country. Our 228 Alexandria members come together for social activities, information sharing and practical support.

Villages are only one solution, and, fortunately, here in Alexandria there are a number of resources for seniors. However, no single organization or entity can solve the larger problem of social isolation among our seniors. It requires a change in mindset. We all can do a much better job of reaching out to our older neighbors to bring them into community with us, but change also must happen with the seniors who may need some help.

A few years ago at a conference, the featured speaker, writer and activist Ashton Applewhite, addressed a topic that hit me like a lightning bolt. She asked the audience the simple question, “What is a true community?”

Community is not just about everybody getting along or a group of people with a common interest. Community is about mutual reliance.

As Applewhite said, “The greatest gift is to rely upon someone and to be relied upon to others. One without the other will not work.”

These words have instructed me in my work. Independence is a double-edged sword; we guard it closely for fear that allowing someone to help us as we age is a sign of weakness. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I hate asking for help — it’s embarrassing. I’ve always done this myself.” But when we refuse to accept help, we lose the chance to show a younger generation what it truly means to be in community with one another. Anyone who has helped another person knows what a positive and rewarding experience it is. Don’t deny someone that opportunity.

And while technology has made our lives more and more convenient — for example, by allowing us to order our groceries online and have everything delivered to our homes — it can isolate us further from our larger community.

“Convenience kills community more than anything,” Applewhite said.

I fondly remember two of our former AHA members, Don and Margaret, who had moved to Alexandria from Boston. They loved city life and had given up their cars. No longer encumbered with the expense of owning cars, they had a healthy budget for taxis, Uber rides and public transportation. Our AHA volunteers provided them with rides to doctor appointments or errands on occasion, but often the couple chose to ride the bus. Not only did they get a good walk in, they enjoyed the challenge of figuring out the bus schedule and meeting people along the way.

Not long ago, one of our volunteers took a member grocery shopping. Afterwards, the member called me to say, “Thank you for sending Carol. We hit it off like old friends.” I told her that her kind words had made my day. She said, “Well, Carol made my day.” I then called Carol to relay the story. I had to smile when Carol said, “Well, this call has just made my day.”

So, don’t be afraid to accept help if you need it, and don’t be too shy to ask for help, as unnatural as it may seem at first. You are helping to build a stronger community. And, you never know when you just might make someone’s day.

Cele Garrett is the executive director of At Home in Alexandria.

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 B.I. lacrosse team shoots for state championship repeat Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:02:08 +0000
By Hannah Himes | hhimes@alextimes.com Just last year, the Bishop Ireton High School varsity girls’ lacrosse team won the state championship 8-7 against rivals St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes. It was their fourth VISAA title in five years and what B.I. Head Coach Richard Sofield called a “pretty incredible game,” complete with four overtimes. [Read […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By Hannah Himes | hhimes@alextimes.com

Just last year, the Bishop Ireton High School varsity girls’ lacrosse team won the state championship 8-7 against rivals St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes.

It was their fourth VISAA title in five years and what B.I. Head Coach Richard Sofield called a “pretty incredible game,” complete with four overtimes.

[Read about last year’s epic championship game]

This year, the Cardinals are well into another successful season with an 8-3 record. B.I. Athletic Director Bryce Bevill said what he’s seen so far, from the girls’ work ethic to the team schedule, bodes well for the team’s success.

Bevill said he’s looking forward to seeing the team “take of what [he’s] witnessed during off-season, which is dedication and hard work, sacrifice and developing a team culture and then just bringing that onto the lacrosse field.”

Sofield said he wouldn’t call the relationship between B.I. and SSSAS a “rivalry.”

“It’s a friendly, competitive game,” he said. “We like playing them. They’re a really good team, and they give us a chance to test ourselves.”

One of B.I.’s three senior captains, Maggie McHugh, said SSSAS is one of the teams B.I. looks forward to playing every year because the two teams only face each other in the playoffs.

“They’re right down the road, and it’s a lot of people [who] people went to middle school with and have known for a long time, and even played lacrosse with, so there’s a big personal connection,” McHugh said.

Maggie McHugh (left), one of B.I.’s three cap- tains, said SSSAS
is one of the teams B.I. looks forward to playing every year because the two teams only face each oth- er in the playoffs. (Courtesy photo)

The Cardinals will play 18 regular season games and up to six playoff games this year, with practices every weekday after school and most Saturdays.

The team started preparing for this year’s season last June, less than a month after locking down the state championship on May 20. Starting early ensures that the girls are in shape for workouts during the school year, which continue to prepare them for the season in the spring, Sofield said.

“When we get into the spring, that’s when we can focus on lacrosse,” Sofield said.

McHugh said she’s most excited for the six playoff games in May.

“That’s the best part of the season every year,” McHugh said.

Captain Anna Cate Gately said going head-to-head with SSSAS is exciting because it’s “the final show.” The third captain, Briana Lantuh, agreed.

“It’s what we prepare for all year,” Lantuh said. “It’s just a super fun and competitive game for everybody, and everyone loves every minute of it.”

Gately said this season is special to her because she gets to play lacrosse with her little sister, Maggie Gately, a B.I. freshman.

“I love, love playing with her,” Anna Cate Gately said. “But more so than that, she gets to experience like the whole family aspect of it and that everyone … cares about everyone, and we just all do it for the purpose of leading to six games in May.”

Lantuh said the family culture of the team is important to her too.

“Everyone definitely has each other’s backs on this team,” she said. “We definitely come together throughout the season and grow closer and closer to each other.”

Sofield said it’s “always too early” to make predictions about how a season is going to go, but that this season will be a success if the team plays their best lacrosse in May.

“The idea is regardless of whether or not, you know, we win championships, that we actually did get better, and we played our best lacrosse in the playoffs,” Sofield said.

McHugh said Sofield always tells the team if they do the little things right, they’ll do the big things right.

“I think what’s going to be successful is if we’re doing those little things right and it’s going to carry into the playoffs,” McHugh said.

B.I. plays its next home game against Paul VI Catholic High School on April 30.

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 Unveiled: Registering for your wedding when you already live with your fiancé Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:56:19 +0000
 By Aleksandra Kochurova | graphics@alextimes.com A traditional wedding registry is typically filled with household goods, such as pots and pans, Tupperware containers and linens and towels. These things are supposed to signify the start of you and your fiancé’s married life together in your new home – assuming you didn’t live together before the wedding. […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 By Aleksandra Kochurova | graphics@alextimes.com

A traditional wedding registry is typically filled with household goods, such as pots and pans, Tupperware containers and linens and towels. These things are supposed to signify the start of you and your fiancé’s married life together in your new home – assuming you didn’t live together before the wedding.

This is part three of “Unveiled,” a monthly column where I share the tips and tricks I come across as I embark on the long path that leads down the aisle. This month, I’ll be talking about registries.

In recent years, it’s become much more common for couples to live together before marriage. It’s also very common for singles to live on their own in the period between living with their parents and moving in with a significant other. My fiancé, Devin, and I fall into both categories. We lived separately with roommates in college for four years before moving in together almost two years ago. Moving in was interesting. We ended up having a lot of pairs: double the cutlery sets, pots and pans, wine glasses, ironing boards. You get the idea. We got rid of some, combined some and replaced some, but what ultimately ended up happening was Devin and I were living in a mish-mashed apartment with no real theme or consistency.

[Tying the Knot: Mayor Justin Wilson and wife Alex weather the unexpected]

I am lucky to have a fiancé who is money-conscious and practical; he buys things out of necessity, when he can’t get any more use from and has to replace something he already owns. Which means our registry conversation went something like this: Me: “We should start thinking of what wedding gifts we want to register for.”

Devin: “We don’t need any more stuff. We have everything, and it works. Can’t we just ask people to give us money?”

And yes, maybe that is a good point. We already have a fully equipped kitchen, and if we need to buy new bedsheets, we’ll just go out and buy bedsheets. In our case, money sounds nice. But you can’t just ask for money. Luckily, wedding websites came up with a solution for this called a “newlywed fund.” What is a newlywed fund?

The idea is similar to a honeymoon fund — your guests can gift money for the beginning of your life together as a married couple. The cool thing about the newlywed fund is that you can split it into little things, such as cooking classes, gym memberships, wine tastings, etc. Each of these gifts will either have a fixed dollar amount requested, a fixed number of people who need to donate or a more flexible option through which any number of people can donate any amount of money.

Couples can also use it as a way to let people contribute to more expensive gifts. For example, Devin and I are looking into buying a new bed, and instead of expecting someone to pay $700 for it, we can create a custom entry in the newlywed fund and let people contribute.

Pros of the newlywed fund

Being able to split on big purchases is big for me. I also like that with a newlywed fund, we can get these gifts before the wedding. With material gifts, you will typically have to wait until the day after the wedding to open them. With a newlywed fund, you can start receiving money gifts from your wedding registry website whenever someone “buys” it for you.

Another way to use the newlywed fund to your advantage is to register pre-wedding activities, like the dance classes you had planned on taking. Since there are gift-giving possibilities leading up to the wedding, someone might just gift you them and save you the extra expense. I’ve also seen couples register for the cake.

Cons of the newlywed fund

A big con that I will have to tackle is that the Knot, the wedding registry I use, doesn’t allow you to withdraw money whenever you want. Instead it deposits it into your account automatically — with a processing time of up to three weeks. That means that even if we’re asking for a $300 Rumba split between six people, if one person gifts their $50, we will get that money before the other five people have a chance to even see our registry.

Zola.com does things a little differently; they allow you to withdraw whenever you want, whether you want to wait until you receive the full amount or not.

The other con is that some people want to physically give you things. They don’t want to gift you money that could technically be spent on anything. They want to feel that they are truly gifting you something that you will use in your home as you and your fiancé start your married life together. Which is why you should also have a real registry — but you have to be smart about it.

Make a list

Do not just log on to Williams-Sonoma and start putting everything you like into your cart. If you’re like me, you’ll end up with five different glass sets and no plates. Sit down with your fiancé and make a physical list of things that you need to replace, things that you lack and things that you want.

Consider when your wedding is

How far away is it? Ours is in two years, which means that even though our plastic Tupperware containers are fine for now, in two years they will likely be stained with spaghetti sauce and in need of replacement. Put them on the list.

Consider where you live

That goes for both now and after your wedding. Devin and I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Whereas I’d love to register for about 5,000 different kitchen things, the reality is, as long as we continue to live in an apartment, we will not be able to fit them all in. Do you and your fiancé plan on moving into a house? Can you store your gifts somewhere in the meantime? Do not over-register.

Register for what you want

You’re allowed to register for fun things — your list shouldn’t be necessities only. That flowery silk bathrobe that you saw at Macy’s? List. The grilling equipment your fiancé saw at Home Depot but didn’t think he’d ever use? List. This is the perfect time to ask for these items without feeling guilty for spending money on them.

Have fun with this and don’t attach too much meaning to who gets you what. Remember that the people you love celebrating you on your wedding day is the greatest gift of all.

 

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 My View | Joe Sestak: Where you live matters Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:51:07 +0000
To the editor: Calling Seminary Road “a corridor with a high number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) crashes,” last year the city proposed replacing two vehicle lanes with two bicycle corridors on the 25-mph eastern section of Seminary between North Howard and Quaker to “improve safety.” However, Virginia’s TREDS database of police traffic reports […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

To the editor:

Calling Seminary Road “a corridor with a high number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) crashes,” last year the city proposed replacing two vehicle lanes with two bicycle corridors on the 25-mph eastern section of Seminary between North Howard and Quaker to “improve safety.” However, Virginia’s TREDS database of police traffic reports show this section of Seminary in the top two safest city roadways.

Questions arose why Seminary needed more safety by having two bicycle lanes replace two vehicular lanes since it’s heavily trafficked, particularly during rush hour; 1,750 parking spaces are opening at Mark Center’s BRAC building; Amazon’s bringing 25,000 employees and for emergencies, Inova Hospital and Fire Station 206 are on East Seminary.

The city recently confirmed its intention to use funds to make this safe street section “safer.” However, real safety concerns are elsewhere – in low-income neighborhoods that lack a voice in safety spending.

If the city looked west on Seminary from I-395 instead of east, since 2015 the first one- tenth of a mile on West Seminary has had five times the annual accidents than the entire one mile on East Seminary where “safety” bicycle lanes are to be installed. In the first half mile going west on Seminary, there’s a shocking 11 times more annual accidents than for East Seminary, including three-tenths of a mile each way on Beauregard Street – which intersects West Seminary just beyond I-395. The total of 347 accidents over this entire one mile is 17 times more than the one mile of East Seminary Road where the city plans bicycle lanes to “improve safety.”

While West Seminary has a 17-times higher accident rate than East Seminary, East has something West doesn’t: a $200,000 median level of house- hold income, versus the West’s $44,000.

Neglect of safety for lower-income residents is evident in the city citing traffic safety this past decade to replace road lanes with bicycle corridors along Janney’s Lane and King Street – where median level of income is $200,000 – despite envious safety records as com- pared to West Seminary.

TREDS’ database facts cry out for traffic safety spending for the poorer sections of our city, not the very fortunate. Two studies, Virginia Commonwealth University’s and Northern Virginia Health Foundation’s, show the life expectancy of West Seminary’s children is five years less than the East’s, partly due to unsafe areas to walk or play outdoors.

To underscore the city’s safety discrimination: it no longer plans “safety” bicycle lanes for the lower income section of East Seminary between I-395 and N. Howard Street as originally proposed, despite it being the only section where pedestrian accidents occurred the past four years. There were also six pedestrian and bicycle accidents alone last year on West Seminary – including a fatality.

The city is right: Seminary Road is “a corridor with a high number of KSI (killed or serious- ly injured) crashes,” but is wrong to use what is actually the high accident rate of low-income West Seminary to justify safety measures not for it, but for safe, high-income East Seminary.

Facts and equal accountability for all citizens should matter in city planning, not median in- come levels. Otherwise, those in a position of influence and power get treated one way, while others are ignored.

-Joe Sestak, Alexandria

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 Your Views: Fix scooter problems now Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:45:53 +0000
To the editor: Scooters. Scooters. That’s all I hear from all my friends in Old Town. The number of scooter incidents is unreal; you just can’t make up what some of these scooter riders are doing. This new breed of cat makes the errant and defiant bike riders in this town look like paragons of […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

To the editor:

Scooters. Scooters. That’s all I hear from all my friends in Old Town. The number of scooter incidents is unreal; you just can’t make up what some of these scooter riders are doing. This new breed of cat makes the errant and defiant bike riders in this town look like paragons of traffic obedience.

The most flagrant infractions include riding scooters on sidewalks, often at 15 to 20 miles per hour. Some have been clocked at 22 to 25 miles per hour. Sooner or later, a pedestrian is going to be hit, and hopefully it will not be a fatal encounter.

Moreover, not one of these scooter jockeys is wearing headgear as protection. Recently, I saw an adult with a 7- to 8-year-old boy in front of him on the scooter, operating at max speed on a sidewalk. It is also commonplace for scooter operators to meander in the middle of the streets, zig-zagging back and forth.

As is the case of the belligerent bicyclists, scooter drivers essentially ignore the laws governing their usage. Although scooters are omnipresent – they are docked on almost every corner, mostly on the sidewalks blocking foot traffic – there is absolutely no enforcement of the traffic laws in this city. Of the numerous flagrant breaches of these laws to be seen, scooters are the worst. One example of a positive approach to the scooter issue is that of San Francisco. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) monitors a myriad of problems throughout the country on a daily basis. Due to the aforementioned scooter problems, the city decided to terminate their scooter program until the problems were eliminated.

The San Francisco Management Transportation Agency then created a set of rules outlined in “appropriate permits and requirements to regulate motorized scooters sharing in the public right of way.” The scooter program was terminated for a period of three months, and it was only reinitiated after the SFMTA was satisfied that all of the major problems had been corrected. Santa Monica experienced the same problems and also shut down their operation until they were satisfied that the problems had indeed been corrected.

The Alexandria City Council should take heed from other jurisdictions and immediately shut down the scooter program. It should not be restarted until an enforcement process is in place. Why wait until someone is hurt, or even worse, Alexandria?

-Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet, Alexandria

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 Your Views: Scooters are dangerous and chaotic Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:35:57 +0000
To the editor: The recent influx of electric scooters has created a mess in Old Town that we don’t need. Regardless of the brand – Lime, Bird, Bolt, etc. – they are scattered all over town like garbage. They are cast aside, on and off the sidewalks, upright and fallen over. They are in neighborhoods […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

To the editor:

The recent influx of electric scooters has created a mess in Old Town that we don’t need.

Regardless of the brand – Lime, Bird, Bolt, etc. – they are scattered all over town like garbage. They are cast aside, on and off the sidewalks, upright and fallen over. They are in neighborhoods and at retail locations. They are a hazard on the road, sidewalk and pathways when ridden, and a hazard when they are used and left at their rider’s destination, many times on their side, and across sidewalks. The riders are on the street, many times riding opposing the traffic, competing with pedestrians on sidewalks, on walking paths. No license, no helmet, no courtesy.

I get it that they are fun, and at times convenient, but either defined docking stations or set scooter locations are needed to reign in this mess, and prevent accident, injury and chaos.

-John M. Camp, Alexandria

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 Your Views: Scooters running amok Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:31:09 +0000
To the editor: The more I look at the city’s Vision Zero web page with all the sanctimonious pledges by all the city officials, the more disgusting the city’s concessions to the scooters that are running amok seems to be. While scooters are not mentioned as a means of conveyance in the city’s 2017 Vision […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

To the editor:

The more I look at the city’s Vision Zero web page with all the sanctimonious pledges by all the city officials, the more disgusting the city’s concessions to the scooters that are running amok seems to be. While scooters are not mentioned as a means of conveyance in the city’s 2017 Vision Zero plan, that’s not to say they don’t fit within the multimodal description of transportation in this plan. The city’s Vision Zero program has been overwhelmed by a disruptive actor – scooters – and someone will shortly die because this test phase runs unchecked.

In my opinion, the Vision Zero plan is a way to spend money on alternative transportation modes and socially engineer residents out of their cars. The commitment to safety is certainly an important by-product.

But this feel-good program and virtue signaling by all the city officials who took the Vision Zero pledge is proven to be an empty commitment every time a helmetless scooter rider runs another stop sign, brushes another pedestrian on the sidewalk or clogs another crosswalk or intersection day or night. And, to make matters worse, motorized bikes are soon to appear at Capital BikeShare stations.

Who is in charge of our streets? Our leaders at city hall have clearly abandoned their responsibilities, and the police are unable to enforce the chaos that reigns.

-Bob Wood, Alexandria

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 Our View: A step in the right direction Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:17:50 +0000
City council’s decision to compromise on seating at the Del Ray Gardens restaurant at Saturday’s public hearing was the right decision, even if the process was messy and somewhat arbitrary. To recap, the new owners of the former Fireflies location at 1501 Mt. Vernon Ave., bought the adjacent garden store and went before the planning […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

City council’s decision to compromise on seating at the Del Ray Gardens restaurant at Saturday’s public hearing was the right decision, even if the process was messy and somewhat arbitrary.

To recap, the new owners of the former Fireflies location at 1501 Mt. Vernon Ave., bought the adjacent garden store and went before the planning commission last September requesting 64 seats, indoor and outdoor, for the additional concept.

That request preliminarily passed. But when it came back through the system this month for final approval, the planning commission, with city staff’s blessing, increased the seating capacity by a whopping 242 percent, to 155 seats.

Residents who had initially supported the plan were uneasy about the huge, and seemingly random, hike in the number of allowed seats. Many members of city council, led by Del Pepper and Canek Aguirre, also expressed concern about the hike, though support for the concept.

Pepper proposed and council adopted a compromise of 100 seats. While it’s true that this number was somewhat random – a round number roughly in the middle of 64 and 155 – the decision also showed good common sense.

City staff said the 91-seat increase was justified by the fact that the site has three parking spaces. Let the “logic” of that sink in for a minute.

Our takeaway from this action is that if city residents, staff and elected officials want city code to be followed in all instances, rather than for council to mediate as it did on Saturday, then that code needs to be based in reality.

The notion that three parking spaces is sufficient for 155 seats in a restaurant does not come within at least 55 seats of sniffing what’s logical.

Can anyone say with a straight face that patrons of this restaurant, with all 100 seats filled, are not going to be parking, probably in large numbers, on surrounding residential streets? We know that they will.

Just as we know that patrons of the recently approved restaurants at Robinson Landing are going to park on the streets of Old Town, pushing a difficult parking situation there to the point of being unlivable.

We are close to destroying what’s precious about our city in pursuit of the elusive temptor called “vibrancy.”

But city council’s action on Saturday also served as a reminder that those seven have the final say. This is a new city council with a majority of new members. They are not bound by the mistakes made by previous councils regarding parking reductions or the policy of approving every expanded density request or development special use permit that comes before them.

Saturday’s vote reminds us that council can actually say “no.”

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 Replica historic tall ship officially approved Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:12:46 +0000
By Cody Mello-Klein | cmelloklein@alextimes.com City council unanimously approved a short-term lease agreement with the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, allowing the organization to sail the replica U.S.S. Providence into Alexandria’s marina this summer. According to the agreement, Providence will sit on the waterfront until May 31, 2020, during which the ship will host daily tours, […]Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By Cody Mello-Klein | cmelloklein@alextimes.com

City council unanimously approved a short-term lease agreement with the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, allowing the organization to sail the replica U.S.S. Providence into Alexandria’s marina this summer.

According to the agreement, Providence will sit on the waterfront until May 31, 2020, during which the ship will host daily tours, weekly themed cruises, craft brew cruises in partnership with Port City Brewing Company and chartered special events. After May 2020, the Tall Ship Providence Foundation aims to open a more permanent vis- itor center in Waterfront Park.

“Our plan is to bring living history to the waterfront,” Clair Sassin, executive director of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, said. “From the moment a visitor engages with us, they will be transported back in time.”

[City council approves revised Landmark Mall master plan]

Providence is a historically accurate replica of the 18th-century sloop that was the first ship to be authorized by the Continental Congress for the Continental Navy, according to Sassin. Once docked at the marina, visitors will be able to come aboard and learn about this history and the life of 18th-century sailors from historical interpreters dressed in period appropriate costumes.

According to the agreement, public tours will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, craft beer cruises will go from 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and private charters will be available from 5 p.m. to midnight daily.

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