What’s next for plans to bring more affordable housing and pedestrian safety to the West End?

Southern Towers (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria’s long-term plans for the West End go back to 1992 and the city is in the process of bringing some of those up to date to address the current needs; namely housing.

The city’s “updated community vision” aims to address housing vulnerability and affordability in an area that’s traditionally been home to some of the city’s last bastions of market-rate affordable housing.

The city’s update is hitting both the 1992 Alexandria West Small Area Plan and the 2012 Beauregard Small Area Plan. The planning process kicked off late last year, staring an 18-month process of looking at issues of housing affordability, equity, land use, mobility, pedestrian and cyclist safety and more.

In a release last week, the city outlined some next steps for that planning process:

  • Coordination with Building Residents and Property Owners: In response to community comments regarding property issues in the plan area we will be working with the building residents and property owners to discuss current property issues.
  • AlexWest Plan Meetings and Workshops: In the Fall, the City will host a meeting, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 27, on potential proposed strategies for affordable housing and land use based on the comments from the community process. Subsequent community meetings will include topics such as open space, mobility, sustainability, infrastructure, and other planning topics. Details on meeting location and time, as well as information regarding all future engagement opportunities, will be posted on the project website, communicated through eNews and WhatsApp, and shared with community groups.
  • Pop-ups and Events: The City will continue to host pop-ups and events throughout Alexandria West with community organizations and other stakeholders to ensure people are informed about the process and have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. If you would like to invite staff to your event, please reach out to Christian Brandt, [email protected], at least a week in advance.

The area has been a hotbed of conflict between residents in market-rate affordable housing and landlords, particularly at Southern Towers — right in the heart of the planning area.