May 14, 2018

Meeting Recap Alert: City Council Public Hearing, May 12, 2018

Recap of City Council’s Public Hearing

held May 12, 2018

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On Saturday, the Alexandria City Council held their regular public hearing meeting, where they considered increasing the tax on Meals Sold by Restaurants and dedicating that increase to Affordable Housing Initiatives; a Resolution supporting the Underground Transmission Line Working Group (UTLWG) Recommendation on Dominion Energy’s 230kV line proposals and Memorandums of Agreement related to Dominion’s proposed purchase of certain real property rights related to the transmission line; and an ordinance to sunset the Tier II Tax District in Potomac Yard.

Details can be found below.

Item: Meals Tax Ordinance & Dedication of Funds to Affordable Housing
Action: The two items were voted on separately, and each ordinance was adopted by a 4-3 vote
Next Steps: Increased meal tax rate goes into effect July 1, 2018
Description: Proposal to raise the Meals Tax Rate from four percent to five percent and to dedicate the funds associated with a one percent Meals Tax rate increase to help address the affordable housing funding gap.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– As part of its final deliberations on the FY 2019 Proposed Budget, City Council tentatively decided to dedicate the funds associated with a one percent Meals Tax rate increase to help address the affordable housing funding gap

– 11 speakers total- 6 representing the restaurant and business community against, 5 representing affordable housing nonprofits, churches and residents in support

 

Item: Underground Transmission Line Working Group (UTLWG) Recommendation on Dominion Energy’s 230kV line proposals and Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) related to Dominion’s proposed purchase of certain real property rights related to the transmission line
Action: Unanimous vote to adopt a resolution recommending that both Potomac Avenue and the Railroad Corridor Alternatives be designated “least objectionable alternatives” and to authorize the City Manager to enter into related MOAs with Dominion
Next Steps: Dominion will be filing an application with the State Corporation Commission (SCC), the state entity charged with approving transmission line proposals.
Description: Since mid-2014, the City has been working with Dominion Energy on their proposal for a new 230-kilovolt underground transmission line from the existing Glebe Substation in Arlington County to Pepco’s existing Potomac River Substation in Old Town North. Dominion has cited multiple electric reliability studies that have determined by summer 2020 the existing transmission facilities in the City and Arlington County will no longer adequately meet demand and mandatory North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability criteria.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Dominion initially proposed nine potential alignments for a transmission line and requested that the City identify an alternative that it could support as part of Dominion’s planned submission to the SCC.

– In response, the UTLWG adopted a resolution opposing any overhead transmission lines and identifying a route that included the CSX Railroad Corridor as a “least objectionable alternative”- which was then adopted by City Council.

– After more than a year of work with the railroad, Dominion returned to the UTLWG and City with news that costs to implement the CSX option had increased by $100 million to a total of $420 million, making this option unapprovable by regulatory agencies.

– The UTLWG identified the following concerns with the Potomac Avenue option:

loss of trees

impacts on open space

electric and magnetic fields (EMF)

construction impacts- noise, nighttime work & traffic

– City staff and Dominion staff provided a presentation, answered questions and engaged with Council during their deliberations on these actions

– A physician and epidemiologist with over 25 years of experience in research of clinical outcomes and environmental and occupational health issues was also available to answer questions

– 4 speakers- residents of Potomac Yard who objected to the inclusion of Potomac Avenue as a “least objectionable alternative” testified

 

Item: Potomac Yard Tier II Special Tax District- Sunset
Action: Unanimous vote to amend and reordain the Tier II Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Special Tax District to establish a sunset clause
Next Steps: Pending negotiation with Dominion and the 230kv project, the tax on property owner in the Tier II boundaries will be eliminated
DescriptionProposal to sunset the Tier II Special Tax District in Potomac Yard, which will levy a special tax on all properties within the boundaries of up to 10 cents beginning the first calendar year after the Potomac Yard Metrorail opened, contingent on receipt of at least $14.6 million in right-of-way fees from Dominion related to the 230kv line project (see above).
Details & Issues of Interest:

– See notes above about the link to compensation as part of the 230kv line Resolution

– The Tier II district was adopted in June 2011 as part of an overall financing plan for the Potomac Yard Metro, prior to construction of residential properties in the area

– The tax is scheduled to go into effect January 1st of the year following the opening of the Metro station

– The sunset action would effectively prevent this tax from ever being levied on property owners in the Tier II district- identifying a portion of the compensation from Dominion as part of the 230kv line easement as replacement revenue.

– One speaker asked for the sunset to proceed, removing the contingency on replacement revenue from Dominion

 

Land use items we are tracking in June:

– Development Special Use Permit at 3030 Potomac Avenue for APTA’s new headquarters offices

– Umbrella Special Use Permit to allow for a variety of temporary uses on a currently unoccupied lot at 2425 Eisenhower Avenue.

– Text Amendment to amend various sections of the zoning ordinance to change massage establishments from administrative special use to permitted use.

 

Weigh in on these issues!

Contact the Planning Commission – PlanComm@alexandriava.gov
Contact the City Council – Call.Click.Connect.