The move is a decisive blow against the project, which city staff defend as the most cost effective alternative to keep up with its Chesapeake Bay Watershed credit requirements. Last month, Chapman and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker requested a legislative meeting to discuss the Taylor Run and Strawberry Run stream restoration projects, which critics say disrupt natural habitats.
“I look forward to asking questions of staff tonight, but I intend to ask my colleagues to support stopping this (Taylor Run) project, and in turn, directing both staff and our Environmental Policy Commission to work together to bring back to council an update on the capture of environmental credits, with potential credits that we can receive and updated cost estimates and a strategy on future capture of credits,” Chapman said.
Staff plans to clear the Taylor Run waterway near T.C. Williams High School and Chinquapin Park will result in the removal of 269 trees, of which they say 22% are dead.
Mayor Justin Wilson said he’s happy to consider alternative approaches to meeting the city’s clean water obligations and addressing the environmental damage and future risk to Taylor Run.
“Ultimately, whatever we decide must be based in the science, in compliance with the law and affordable,” Wilson said.
Opposition has been led by the Environmental Council of Alexandria, which also says that the city’s soil tests at Taylor Run are not accurate. City Councilwoman Amy Jackson has also moved against the Taylor Run project after the EPC advised Council to step back.
Chapman will also ask Council to support an annual report from the Environmental Policy Commission and staff on the city’s environmental credit progress. He said that such an update would allow for the city to find additional projects.
“(I)t will give the community and City Council a firm understanding of our current status, real opportunities, and the cost, without the stream restoration projects that our advisory policy commission and our community are against,” Chapman said.
Photo via City of Alexandria