VIRGINIA

Alexandria City Council votes to rezone waterfront

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Plans are moving forward to revamp Alexandria’s waterfront.

The latest salvo in the battle for the future of Alexandria’s waterfront appears to be a near fatal blow for the opposition. After years of debate and a year of legal battles, Alexandria’s City Council voted over the weekend by an overwhelming 6-1 supermajority in favor of rezoning the waterfront area.

“Right now you can't walk in front of, along the river, in front of those buildings. And it's not very pleasant to look at them anyway. Sometimes the graffiti looks better than the building," says Robert Bisson of Old Town.

Under the new plan, more than 500,000 square feet of vacated warehouse space would be converted into two hotels and other businesses, as well as park space along the water.

The plans have divided the town for years.

"I understand economy, bringing things to town, but one of the reasons why people love Alexandria is because it's charming, it's small, it's connected and we all know each other," says Trish Wooten.

Opponents spent the last year fighting the changes based on council technicalities that were defeated with this weekend’s vote. But Monday, the man dubbed the face of the opposition holds out hope the Virginia Supreme Court will make a ruling, blocking the expansion.

"It is very much a long process because, quite frankly, there are many aspects of the waterfront plan that simply are not practical," says Bert Ely of Alexandria.

The State Supreme Court decision could come within the next few weeks.

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