Citizens group protests new development at the Heritage at Old Town

Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — A group of roughly 80 concerned Alexandria residents are coming together to contest a new apartment complex that would be replacing the current apartments at the Heritage at Old Town.

The group, called the Citizens Association of the Southwest Quadrant (CASWQ), is expressing multiple concerns about the new development, which would replace the 1970’s-era complex with high-rise buildings that would include 750 units.

A big concern for the group is the new look won’t fit in with Alexandria’s historic charm.

“These buildings should be three to five stories to fit in with the two and three-story houses that are here already. They’re proposing now up to seven and eight stories,” said Steve Milone, Alexandria resident.

However, the Office of Planning and Zoning for the City of Alexandria said that the complex will be designed to fit right in with the current architecture.

“What makes Old Town so charming is the variety of architectural styles, the different heights of buildings,” said Catherine Miliaras from the Office of Planning and Zoning.

CASWQ says the city also has a history of flooding, and they’re concerned that the removal of oak trees on the property, as well as the replacement of grass with concrete, could potentially cause excess water in the area.

Population density is another issue. The new build would provide approximately 195 affordable housing units, and while the group says they support the affordable housing effort, they believe the influx of residents will put a strain on the city’s schools and parking.

“The size of the buildings, and the number of people who will be in them, is staggering,” said Chris Morell, Alexandria resident.

However, the city says they will be providing 750 parking spaces on-site to accommodate the population increase.

“We’re not concerned about having the additional population and we definitely want to make sure we’re providing for all types of people in Old Town,” said Rob Kerns with the Office of Planning and Zoning.

The project will be phased construction, broken up into blocks. The development is expected to take roughly six years to complete.

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