Manager's Report - February 10, 2012
Alexandria Paramedic Dies of Injuries from Accident
On February 9, Alexandria Fire Chief Adam K. Thiel announced that Paramedic Joshua Weissman has died of injuries sustained after falling from a roadway while responding to a car fire on I-395 near Glebe Road on February 8. Weissman was rescued by City of Alexandria and Arlington County Firefighters and Paramedics, with assistance from the City of Alexandria and Arlington County Police Departments and the Virginia State Police. Despite valiant efforts by the medical team at the Washington Hospital Center, his injuries proved to be fatal.
Update on Van Fleet vs. City of Alexandria
The first piece of litigation regarding the Waterfront Plan was heard February 8 on cross Motions for Summary Judgment before Judge Lisa Kemler in Alexandria Circuit Court. Plaintiffs Julie Van Fleet, Andrea Stowers, Walter Sanders, and Jonathan Wilbor alleged that the City had failed to provide appropriate notice before the Planning Commission considered the Waterfront Plan and Text Amendment in April and May of 2011. After the Court heard arguments from the City Attorney and opposing counsel, Judge Kemler granted the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the case.
Virginia American Water Files for Rate Increase
On February 6, Virginia American Water Company filed a general rate case application with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) requesting an increase in total revenues of approximately $5.7 million. The rate application seeks recovery of additional system investments of approximately $12.8 million since approval of the company’s last rate case, filed in March 2010. The new rate would increase water bills for Alexandria residents from $47.73 to $53.53 per quarter for the typical residential customer using 14,400 gallons per quarter.
Receipt of Auditor’s Report for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2011
Code of Virginia §15.2-2511 requires the City’s external auditor to present a detailed written report to a locality’s governing body at a public session by December 31 following the end of the fiscal year. The auditor’s opinion concerning the City’s financial statements was presented to Council on November 9, 2011, along with the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. As reported in November, the City did not have any matters considered to be material weaknesses.
King Street Railroad Underpass
Within the last few weeks, the Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) initiated a number of visual improvements to the railroad underpass on King Street between the VRE/AMTRAK and Metrorail stations, which is maintained by CSX. The City has approached CSX at various times about maintaining the aesthetics for the underpass, with few results. The underpass on King Street had water stains on the support walls and a significant accumulation of debris caught between the steel girders and the sidewalk. T&ES painted the side support walls and cleaned up the debris. This area has been added to the clean-up list of sites requiring quarterly attention.
Potomac Yard Landbay D
Landbay D is an area in Potomac Yard covering four acres between the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA) Metrorail tracks and the CSX rail tracks. In 2010, City Council approved Special Use Permit 2010-0058 for the environmental remediation and subsequent dedication of the land to the City of Alexandria. The environmental remediation includes covering the existing soil with two vertical feet of clean fill and mitigating effects from the site’s previous use as an industrial rail yard. The Old Town Greens Home Owners Association Board and Potomac Yard Development, LLC, are in agreement concerning access for the remediation project. Potomac Yard Development anticipates performing the work within the next two months. During weekdays, residents may notice flagmen and additional traffic control measures for truck hauling along Potomac Greens Drive south of the circle.
Del Ray Parking Study
The City, through consultants, has conducted a parking study in the Del Ray area, and the draft study report is online for review. T&ES and Department of Planning and Zoning staff have given an overview of the findings and recommendations to the Del Ray Citizens Association/Land Use Committee and the Del Ray Business Association. A full community meeting is scheduled for February 23 at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center. The study found that overall, there is sufficient parking within the study area (Mount Vernon Avenue from Hume to Glendale, plus a half block into the neighborhood in each direction), although there are a few popular blocks and peak times when parking capacity is fully utilized. The consultants do not recommend adding meters or implementing a residential permit parking district until utilization levels are higher; however, they do recommend a series of management tools, such as more vigilant enforcement; common loading zones; and short-term parking areas in key locations. A shared parking program, similar to the 2005 Mount Vernon Business Area Small Area Plan, is also recommended.
Alexandria Union Station Application to National Register of Historic Places
City staff are initiating the process for the City-owned Union Station on Callahan Drive to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of historically significant buildings. A local resident, Ann Horowitz, has volunteered to research and complete the National Register nomination for this building. Alexandria’s Union Station, constructed in 1906, consolidated several earlier rail stations in Old Town and was part of a regional reorganization that created Potomac Yard in Alexandria and Union Station in Washington, D.C. Union Station is leased to AMTRAK for its operation in Alexandria. Union Station was donated to the City by Crescent Resources, the owner of Potomac Yard, at the time Council approved the 1999 land use plan. The National Register designation, which is honorific, does not add any new regulatory requirements, expenditure of funds by the City, or a granting of an historic preservation easement.
Increased Efficiency in Subsidized Child-Care Services
The Department of Human and Community Services’ Early Childhood Division began implementation of the Virginia Electronic Child Care System on February 1. That day, parents receiving subsidized childcare began to swipe their electronic benefits cards in point of service machines when they dropped off their child and swipe out when they picked up the child at the end of the day. The system reports the child-care services received to allow payment of providers, which now comes directly from the state rather than from the locality. The new system will also allow parents to apply for subsidized child-care services through a client portal and track the status of their applications.
Annual Salute to Women Awards
The Alexandria Commission for Women is seeking nominations for the 32nd Annual Salute to Women Awards. These 10 awards, which recognize women, men and youth who have made a significant impact on women in Alexandria, will be presented at a banquet Monday, March 26 at The Westin Alexandria. The deadline to nominate is 5 p.m. on February 24. Nominations can be made online and tickets to the event can be purchased at alexwomen.com. Money raised will support the Alexandria Sexual Assault Program.