Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Overwhelming Overbuilding

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Overwhelming Overbuilding

On the evening of May 3 the Planning Commission met to consider Docket 14 which included the building of a Hyatt Hotel on the 1600 block of King Street. The proposed new hotel building is six and a half stories tall with 124 rooms and an attached restaurant. A dozen local residents came out and spoke against the hotel. No local resident came out and supported the hotel.

The citizens who spoke expressed concerns with the height and density of the development, inadequate parking provided in the design, the conversion of part of Harvard Street to a two-way street and eliminating several on-street parking spaces on Harvard Street, removing at least six mature trees, destruction of an almost historic building, and removal of at least four no parking signs at the alley entrance to the hotel so that entrance bumps can be built to slow and narrow down traffic entering the alley for the underground parking garage.

The citizens were also concerned about the proximity of the hotel to areas where children play and the amount of traffic that the hotel would produce. Others were concerned about the impact on the serenity and beauty of the street. Many of the citizens have lived on the block for many, many years. They chose the neighborhood for its peacefulness and beauty, so obviously they are extremely concerned. The developers indicated the development would bring vitality to the neighborhood. There is already vitality to the neighborhood with five restaurants and the Durant Center on Cameron Street.

Some residents feel it is insane for the Planning Commission and forthcoming City Council to recommend more and more excessive growth, claiming it is needed for increased tax growth.

The proposed hotel plans on excavating the existing parking lot at the corner of Harvard Street at one level providing 85 parking spaces two of which will be reserved for the management. No spaces are provided for three or four shifts of employees.

Massive destruction for this hotel will take place within two years. The developers’ proposal to make it a two-way entrance street will cause unheard of traffic congestion. Water, gas and electric utilities will have to be placed underground causing further destruction. Town houses on the odd side now 110 years old with half basements and porches could be damaged by pile placement. What will residents get out of this hotel when it is finally built? Practically nothing accept for the loss of six or more parking spaces on the street and the death of at least six mature, beautiful trees.

Alexandria is overbuilding and destroying old buildings for the tax money, not for the people living in areas where big hotels are being built. Taxpaying citizens need more respect from City Hall instead of continual overbuilding.

Jim Melton