Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Frank Putzu questions the city's transparency and ability to engage with its citizens when it comes to redeveloping the Alexandria waterfront.
Wednesday, April 3
On March 16, 2013, the Alexandria City Council passed controversial and sweeping planning changes that are already the subject of litigation. The City passed these changes to transform an honest policy disagreement into Through the Looking Glass litigation tactics, where nothing is as it appears to be. There are two cases in court. The first, city-initiated litigation attacks a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision finding that citizens have a right to petition their government in accordance with state law (the BZA is a creature of state law, not the city) and zoning ordinance. The second, citizen-initiated litigation, which is before the Supreme Court of Virginia, is whether the city can manipulate the process to deprive its citizens of …
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Virginia's Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal to a Circuit Court decision on the city's waterfront plan and related zoning issue.
The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal to an Alexandria Circuit Court decision on the city’s waterfront redevelopment plans. Three women who live near the city’s riverside — April Burke, Beth Gibney and Marie Kux — had sought to invalidate City Council’s 5-2 adoption of its waterfront small area plan and its accompanying zoning change that would allow development such as hotels. They say council must adopt a zoning change by a supermajority or 6-1 vote because a required number of property owners who live within 300 feet of the waterfront areas being rezoned signed petitions protesting the change. Old Town waterfront property owners attempted to file such documentation, but it initially was deemed not properly filed. …
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Judge denies motions by the city and its opponents in a case brought by the city asking the court to rule that the Board of Zoning Appeals does not have certain authorities.
An Alexandria Circuit Court judge last week denied separate requests by the city and its opponents in a case brought by the city asking the court to rule that Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals does not have certain authorities. The judge’s rulings mean the case is still on course for an April hearing next year. The Board of Zoning Appeals last spring sided with citizens who had asked it to reconsider a ruling by the director of Alexandria’s Planning and Zoning Department. Faroll Hamer had ruled as invalid their petition requesting the city not rezone some waterfront land near their homes and so not allow hotels. The city filed suit in circuit court to express it disagreed with the BZA ruling and at the time, City Attorney Jim Banks said…
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Dismissal allows Virtue Feed & Grain to proceed with building a deck in the alley, if it desires.
The Alexandria Circuit Court has dismissed the Old Dominion Boat Club’s dispute over Wales Alley, allowing Virtue Feed & Grain to lease and expand the area for outdoor dining. “We are certainly disappointed in the Circuit Court’s dismissal of this case,” said Miles Holtzman, president of the Old Dominion Boat Club. “It is distressing that a court—any court—would allow a government to take private property and allow it to be used by another private owner.” Mayor Bill Euille praised the ruling for "providing clarity of property rights for the site for the city to do as it sees fit. ...The court says the alley belongs to the City of Alexandria. "It's time to put these things behind us and move forward on the future of the waterfront …
Friday, May 25, 2012
High court sends issue of easement rights back to Circuit Court.
The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the City of Alexandria in its appeal of a Circuit Court decision siding with the Old Dominion Boat Club over rights of way in Wales Alley. “If the appeal had not been granted, we’d be bound by the 1972 decision, which we believe has nothing to do with this situation,” Deputy City Attorney Christopher Spera said. “The legal argument by the boat club and adopted by the Circuit Court was rejected by the Supreme Court.” The Alexandria Circuit Court had sided with the boat club, agreeing that a 1972 ruling applied to this case, allowing the boat club to say its ownership of an easement in Wales Alley prevented the city from allowing the Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant to offer outdoor dining to …
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
April Burke, Marie Kux and Beth Gibney ask state's high court to take their case after Alexandria Circuit Court dismissed it.
Three citizens are asking the Virginia Supreme Court to reconsider the Alexandria Circuit Court’s dismissal of their lawsuit. The lawsuit requests that the circuit court overturn the city’s denial of a petition that would have required City Council to pass the waterfront plan by a supermajority. "The Iron Ladies," as their supporters call them, are April Burke, Beth Gibney and Marie Kux. The Circuit Court decided in March that “in order for the court to grant relief requested by the plaintiffs, it would first have to required the Director to accept the plaintiffs appeal as properly filed. ...The writ does not grant the authority to require an official to undo an act that is already done.” Roy Shannon, the plaintiff’s attorney, told Patch …
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Case over public use and rights of way was heard before the Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday morning.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
By Mechelle Hankerson Richmond, Va. - The Supreme Court of Virginia is set to make a decision in the local civil dispute over Wales Alley in about eight weeks after hearing arguments from both sides on Thursday morning. City of Alexandria Attorney Jim Banks said the case went well and both sides' arguments were very well presented. According to Banks, most Supreme Court decisions take about eight weeks before being released. Until then, both sides will have to wait it out. The case heard by the Supreme Court is two combined lower-court cases: Virtue Feed and Grain v. the Old Dominion Boat Club and the City of Alexandria v. the ODBC. In addition to the alley, ODBC and the city have been in arguments about the club’s parking lot. ODBC, which…
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Oral arguments scheduled to be heard Wednesday morning.
The Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday for the City of Alexandria's appeal to a Circuit Court decision regarding the use of Wales Alley. The court granted the city in November its petition for appeal in the litigation with the Old Dominion Boat Club. An order last April from Circuit Court Judge John McGrath said the boat club, which is located at the foot of King Street, has an easement on the city alley connecting Union Street to The Strand. The judge ruled that no obstructions could be built in the alley, but the city appealed. The city is allowing restaurateurs Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong to offer outdoor dining in the alley for its restaurant that opened last year, Virtue Feed and Grain. The city's case will…