Alexandria, VA

It’s a problem for which sympathy may be difficult, but the City of Alexandria has too many impounded cars on its hands.

The city is considering purchasing 4001 Wheeler Avenue, a parking lot across the street from the Port City Brewing Company, and turning it into storage for impounded vehicles. The city would purchase the property from the Jeffrey Lee Yates Trust, which earlier this year received a go-ahead from city officials to open the long-awaited Yates Pizza at 3000 Duke Street.

The city had to substantially reduce the size of its existing impound lot to facilitate the construction of Fire Station 210 at 5255 Eisenhower Avenue. The reduction reduced the city’s impound capacity by 60 percent, from 220 vehicles to 80 vehicles.

During peak periods at the impound lot, staff noted in a report that the number of vehicles impounded exceeded the site’s storage capacity, forcing them to temporarily park on DASH bus property. But with DASH planning to expand its facilities, that temporary space could disappear in three years.

“The city requires a parcel of at least 35,000 square feet to provide the space required to serve as an overflow impound lot,” staff said in a report. “To prepare for the loss of the existing parcel, the city has identified a privately-owned parcel at 4001 Wheeler Avenue, which will address the City’s need for additional vehicle storage.”

The site is amid one of the few remaining concentrations of light industrial uses in Alexandria and is currently a surface parking lot, meaning little negative impact is expected on the adjacent neighborhood.

Consideration of whether the potential purchase is consistent with the city’s Master Plan is scheduled for the Thursday, Dec. 3, Planning Commission meeting. The cost of the property purchase is not currently listed on city documents.

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