Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Ecstatic About Silberberg

As a longtime City of Alexandria resident, I am ecstatic that Allison Silberberg has chosen to run for Mayor – and here’s why. We’ll have a mayor who respects diverging opinions other than his own, a mayor who does not rebuke other Council members in public forums and, most importantly, a mayor who is not beholden to developers and the developers’ attorneys. Our beloved city is being over developed and over built. The resultant impact to residents is quite simply a degradation in our quality of life due to traffic, congestion, and noise pollution.

One example is the Bus Barn development in north Old Town. First, there is a saturation of apartments in north Old Town and none of the current apartment developments is fully occupied.

So, one might ask – why are we building news ones? Good question. The proverbial party line is the city needs to be positioned and ready for the “Amazon effect.” News flash – the majority of current Amazon (primarily AWS) managers and employees are well established and have been living in the metropolitan area for several years. And, the younger, new-hire employees will not be moving to Old Town for the very basic reason that Old Town does not appeal to the 25-30- year old age group in a way that downtown DC appeals to that age group.

Finally, the Bus Barn development is over built for the location with narrow townhomes on the sidewalks with apartments above that, of course, appeal to developers due to maximizing allowable people and square footage. Finally, the actual physical building that is being built does not represent the architectural plans that had been provided to the citizens but I guess that has escaped scrutiny within the City reviewers.

Another example is the way-too-large-for-the-lot Muse condominium development at the end of N. Royal Street. Just drive past the 1200 block of N. Royal Street and all of a sudden there is this looming structure that clearly does not fit the neighborhood in any way.

Now, should these lots be developed – absolutely! But how about considering the neighborhood, size and scale. Once again, the developers want maximum “bang for their buck” and our city will, more than gladly, approve their plans.

So, what should be the qualities our citizens deserve with our future Mayor? How about honesty, transparency, ethics, and smart building and development (rather than being beholden to the developers and the developer’s attorneys). And, one final item – how about a Mayor who listens to residents rather than lecturing to residents?

Elizabeth Clark West

Alexandria

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