An attorney speaking at Saturday’s City Council public hearing indicated that he intends to appeal the director of Planning and Zoning’s decision to reject a protest petition asking the city not to rezone certain land near Alexandria’s waterfront.
City Council on Saturday voted 5-2 to approve the Waterfront Small Area Plan including language in a “text amendment” allowing zoning changes near the waterfront permitting development such as hotels.
However, as of Monday late afternoon, no protest petition has been filed with the Board of Zoning Appeals, according to city officials.
The City of Alexandria allows people who own properties surrounding a property being rezoned to protest that process to the city. A group of landowners filed a petition with the city late last week, but it was rejected Saturday on the grounds that it doesn’t meet certain criteria in the city charter. This type of protest petition must directly relate to a “zoning amendment” and it did not, according to city legal staff.
The protest petition only affects language related to a text amendment of the waterfront plan and not the waterfront plan in its entirety.
Planning and Zoning Deputy Director Barbara Ross told Patch that she wrote to the lawyer, Roy Shannon, on Monday to remind him that he is now able to file the appeal during normal business hours.
She said that Shannon tried to file it on Friday “but the office was not able to accept it” because the decision whether the appeal was valid was not made until Saturday. Additionally, the office was not able to accept it on Saturday because the office was not staffed to do so and process the appropriate fees.
“There’s nothing to stop him from appealing the determination beginning Monday,” Ross said.
Deputy City Attorney Joanna Anderson said: “If we receive the appeal in this case, it will be scheduled for the BZA as soon as possible.”
The Board of Zoning Appeals meets on the second Thursday of each month.
If the BZA finds the protest petition applies to this case, then the petition must be further analyzed to determine whether it meets other criteria. If it meets those requirements, then council’s vote of 5-2 would fall short. Council would not have approved the zoning changes on Saturday because a valid petition would trigger the requirement of a City Council super majority vote, or 6-1.
The BZA’s decision can be appealed to the Circuit Court.