Welcome to Spring, even if it certainly doesn’t feel like Spring has arrived to stay quite yet.

 As usual, we have several items of interest to highlight.  First, our Seminary Hill Association Board meeting will be Thursday, April 8th at 7:00 pm. We will have a presentation by the city on the proposed cohousing initiative which seems to have come out of nowhere and is on a fast track for Council approval. Cohousing allows unrelated individuals to live together in a home, in what we might refer to as a boarding house. The City believes this is another way to increase the stock of affordable housing. The city recommends that we all go to the project website at: https://www.alexandriava.gov/planning/info/default.aspx?id=120969 and watch the 15-minute video about what cohousing means, and then take the survey asking what we think of the concept. The City’s presentation to SHA will be the first item on our agenda on the 8th.

Various city departments are joining together to offer an onsite “walkthrough” of the area where the Taylor Run stream “restoration” will take place in Chinquapin Park. The walk will be between 5-7 pm on Monday, April 12th. I would recommend that you read The Alexandria Times’ extensive article on this project that is in this week’s edition (April 1) of the paper at alextimes.com. It gives a good summary of the opposition to this project as expressed in the City’s Environmental Policy Commission’s strong letter to City Council. You can also visit the city’s website page at: https://www.alexandriava.gov/tes/stormwater/info/default.aspx?id=117629  for the project to learn why city staff believes this is a viable project.

The Environmental Council of Alexandria just released the report from an outside river science expert, Dr. John Field, who states that, “The City’s plan to re-engineer Taylor Run will fail to achieve the project’s stated environmental and infrastructure goals. Instead, it will produce an impoverished ecosystem and, ultimately cause more harm to the Chesapeake Bay than the status quo, all at a tremendous cost to local residents and taxpayers statewide.” He goes on to state that the city’s plan to remove 260 mature trees will “further unravel the riparian ecosystem and eliminate the powerful CO2 absorption that only mature trees provide.” In response to the city’s plan to replace the mature trees by planting thousands of trees and shrubs, Dr. Field states that, “Canopy recovery would take two to five generations, at least, and is not guaranteed.” His report closes with the statement that, “As an expert with nearly 40 years of experience in river science, I unequivocally conclude that the current plan will not reduce sediment reaching the Chesapeake Bay nor protect the sanitary sewer infrastructure over the long run; and will decimate stream and forest habitat for no practical benefit.”

At tomorrow night's City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 6th, item 24 will be a work session on proposed changes to the city’s Noise Ordinance.  As you may remember, changes to the Noise Ordinance which include raising the noise level allowed throughout the city, were proposed a year ago.  The proposal was withdrawn for further study after opposition from citizens. At a recent Council meeting, Mayor Wilson expressed displeasure that the changes had not been brought forward to Council. In response to that direction, city staff is bringing the changes forward on the 6th. As is often the case, this item, which is of interest to many residents since it can affect quality of life, has been placed at the end of the docket when most of us will have turned off the meeting and turned in for the night.

Finally, the attorney for Inova Hospital has reached out and indicates they are in the process of scheduling a final community meeting before their rezoning application goes before the Planning Commission and the City Council. They are looking at the last week of April or the first week of May. I will let you know when they announce the date.

Here is the information for the Zoom link to our SHA meeting on Thursday, the 8th at 7:00.  I hope you will join us to hear about cohousing and also hear from City Council candidates Alyia Gaskins and James Lewis. The agenda for the meeting will be posted on our website today.

Topic: Seminary Hill Zoom Meeting

Time: Apr 8, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 879 2766 2768

Passcode: 121396

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Thank you again for your interest in Seminary Hill Association. Please do not hesitate to contact SHA with any issues of concern to you.

Carter Flemming, President, Seminary Hill Association