I attended the Planning Commission meeting held on Sept. 4 about the Route 1 South Housing Affordability Strategy along with meetings held at the Lee Center and at the Alfred Street Baptist Church throughout the past month or so.
Some residents of Old Town West attended to find about what would happen to their community. For sure, many weren't pleased with the feel of dismay to hear of such impact and the fact of relocation. Yet, many residents had felt it was approved a year ago due to the notice of communication regarding residents having to move by 2020 and since a few residents were relocated within the community beforehand — prior to any meeting held by the city. Now it’s "a sense of a pinball table on a tennis court” without any representation on their behalf for their voice to be heard.
Although some signed to speak at the Planning Commission last Tuesday, all left before the decision was made.
I am not a spokesperson for any property nor as to where I reside. Throughout the meeting held at the Lee Center on the Route 1 South Housing Affordability Strategy, there was not anyone representing the Heritage At Old Town.
I shared my concern at the hearing on Sept. 4 Planning Commission meeting; I stood and spoke briefly with the sense of what might take place of the Old Town West site and asked a question about the next 10 to 15 years regarding Heritage At Old Town.
I believe we need affordable housing throughout the city. Many have built a foundation within our family-oriented area of Old Town West. And having a chance to rent a house is a blessing. If there was a way to keep the townhomes even with an increase of rent by 10 percent, that'll help, and then build elsewhere the high rise of 250 units.
The residents of Old Town West doesn't have an civic association to voice their concerns; so I ask out of respect if the City Council would at least allow the residents’ voice be heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board of the City of Alexandria before its decision and to set aside the hearing schedule for Saturday, Sept. 15, until a further date before moving forward such plan and strategy.
Activist Geri Baldwin
Former Member of Landlord and Tenant Board 2003 to 2016