Alexandria’s Waterfront Committee is getting a new name, new role and a couple of new members.
City Council moved Tuesday night to increase the Waterfront Committee membership from 15 to 20, rename it the Waterfront Commission and charge the group with advising council and city staff on the implementation of the city’s Waterfront Small Area Plan, which was approved in January.
Currently, the Waterfront Committee advises on the use of the waterfront by commercial and private vessels and advocates for a clean, safe and accessible waterfront.
According to a memo from City Manager Rashad Young, the new Waterfront Committee could be tasked with reviewing and advising on matters of flood mitigation and park improvements to design guidelines for new buildings and the implementation of new public art. The group could also weigh in on private redevelopment and public-private partnerships such as redeveloping the Beachcomber and advise on governance and fundraising organizations “such as a waterfront arts and history foundation.”
The new members of the committee will include one representative from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, one from the Planning Commission and one citizen representative from each of the city’s three park planning districts.
Rich Baier, the city’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services, initially suggested the addition of a member of the city’s Traffic and Parking Board for a 20th spot on the commission.
Councilman Paul Smedberg, who currently sits on the Waterfront Committee, suggested the group reinstate a citizen at-large member instead.
“People questioned the need to have someone from that particular commission on the committee,” Smedberg said. “I think [with a citizen member] we get a different expertise in there we might not have otherwise.”
Baier said the Traffic and Parking Board will hear anything in the implementation of the waterfront plan that falls under its purview.