Monday, March 02, 2009

Meeting with City Council Candidate Frank Fannon

Members of Lennox Place at Sunnyside and Hume Springs Citizens Associations met with Republican candidate for Alexandria City Council Frank Fannon last night. We met and discussed Arlandria community concerns for over an hour, ensuring he left aware of some of the key issues.

We began by discussing the Alexandria Aces, Alexandria's new collegiate summer league baseball team that plays in Four Mile Run Park (on the baseball diamond shown in our banner, actually). Mr. Fannon and Patrick Malone were both instrumental in bringing baseball to Alexandria.

We then got into the key topics:
  • Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) shortcomings. Residents listed a littany of complaints about ARHA and their horrid mismanagement of Glebe Park (dangerous mold problems (see on youtube), code violations, etc). Community members also discussed the problems with selection of ARHA property residents. Despite the long waiting list for affordable and low-income housing, disruptive individuals are often selected and allowed to negatively impact those trying to turn their lives around. Mr. Fannon acknowledged that he had heard complaints about ARHA wherever he went in Alexandria.
  • In order to improve the area drastically and soon, city council needs to remove hurdles for redevelopment of the Safeway/Datatel site. Additionally, to spur future improvements, the city needs to form additional CDDs on nearby property (specifically along W. Glebe Rd and on Mt. Vernon between W. Glebe and Commonwealth Ave). Mr. Fannon was somewhat skeptical of what could be done with the current economy, but residents brought it to his attention that other projects in the area are moving forward. The Safeway/Datatel site is not, largely due to the overly restrictive way that it was written. Mr. Fannon did point to the fact that he wants to clear the hurdles for businesses to establish in Alexandria. Alexandria can be a difficult place to establish a business due to strict regulations.
  • Other issues raised were support for local police and code enforcement efforts and reducing the ratio of below market-value to market-value housing in Arlandria. Residents pointed out that Alexandria has the highest ratio of below-market to market-rate housing in the city, yet the Safeway/Datatel site requires a 10% set-aside for affordable/low-income housing, which would further skew this figure.
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