Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Love Thy Neighbor?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Love Thy Neighbor?

Alexandria Presbyterian Church's proposed expansion plan to build a megachurch size of 40,000 sq ft at the already overwhelmed intersection of West Braddock Rd and Scroggins Road in Alexandria, is a major cause for concern for neighbors, commuters, and parents whose children attend and drive to/from TC Williams or surrounding schools. This expanded building will exacerbate clogged streets and the dangerous pedestrian/vehicular game of chicken already being played out at the intersection.

The surrounding neighbors have put forth a truce in the form of meaningful solutions that would make this project safer and more palatable, including removing one of the entrances/exits to the church's proposed 100-space parking lot off of Scroggins Road (a narrow neighborhood street), and moving the proposed location of the behemoth building further back from the street. Unfortunately, despite offers from Mayor Wilson and others to mediate a meeting, APC leadership has refused to further entertain any neighborhood solutions, thereby dismissing long-standing concerns from residents. Their defense? “It’s within [their] right.” Whatever happened to “love thy neighbor as thyself”?

Our zoning regulations need further scrutiny if any exempt applicant can buy up properties and cause incredible pain and a diminished quality of life for neighbors. This will not be an isolated incident, and certainly not the last to result in bad blood between a church and the neighborhood in which it plants itself.

APC leaders should set an example of what it means to genuinely work with their neighbors in a thoughtful and considerate way that benefits those of us who will have to live with this massive development project every single day of the week. Please be more considerate of all the residences around you as you embark on this massive development project.

You have a mountain to climb in this regard.

Cara Weiblinger