Va. Supreme Court rules Old Town Alexandria waterfront can be developed

Old Town Alexandria waterfront development plans. (WJLA photo)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) – After years of setbacks, delays and challenges, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that the waterfront of Old Town Alexandria can be developed.

This is a battle that has been going on for years. Many people move to Old Town because of its feel and charm. But now, city leaders want to develop the waterfront, which includes knocking down a building from 1920—thus changing the feel.

This kicked into high gear in March 2013, when the Alexandria City Council approved by a 6-1 vote a zoning change to develop the waterfront. That vote was taken to court and made it all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court. The plan approves up to two hotels that can have up to 150 rooms each. Plus, the 95-year-old Old Dominion Boat Club will be torn down to put in a park.

Richard Banchoff, the president of the Old Dominion Boat Club, said, “We wouldn’t have moved. That wouldn’t have been our choice. But now that that is what we’ve decided to do, I think it’s going to be a good thing for us and a good thing for the city.”

Darryl Baker, an Alexandria resident, added,“The Old Town feel is definitely something I’m comfortable with. Everybody who comes here is looking forward to it. It’s going to change things a little bit too much. It will make it like anywhere else you go in the world. If you want that experience, National Harbor is right over there.”

With this Supreme Court decision, there are no more pending lawsuits. The project will move forward. _______Follow 7 On Your Side Investigative Reporter Chris Papst on Twitter: @ChrisPapst.

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