Waterfront Planning & ODBC Parking Lot Timeline

Page updated on Jul 6, 2015 at 11:34 AM

1973: The Attorney General of the United States, at the request of the Department of Interior, institutes litigation to determine the property interests of the United States and to quiet title to certain fast and submerged lands along the Alexandria Waterfront. Both the City and ODBC are among the defendants in the case: there are no affirmative claims between the City and the ODBC in this litigation.

1976: City acquires land adjacent to ODBC parking lot which will become Waterfront Park

1979: The City of Alexandria and the National Park Service draft planning guidelines for the waterfront.

1979: After extensive legal analysis, City reclaims from ODBC the end of the King Street right of way for public open space by creating the King Street Park between the end of King Street pavement and the Potomac River. City agrees to allow ODBC flag pole and anchor to remain in the park.

1981: City and the National Park Service complete a joint use plan to protect and enhance the waterfront. Central to that plan is a policy aimed at protecting the public interest along the waterfront through access and scenic easements.

1981: City of Alexandria and the Federal Government negotiate an out-of court-settlement for five City-owned properties and certain street ends. Settlement agreements are approved by the federal court, and establish clear City title. These settlement agreements cover the street ends of King Street, Wales Alley, and Fayette Alley. Among the settlement details, the agreements include the requirement that the street ends shall be reserved for pedestrian and non-motorized traffic only. ODBC does not object to the settlement agreement between the City and the federal government.

1980’s: Waterfront private property owners including Robinson Terminal, Marina Towers, PEPCO, and Canal Center agree to settle with the federal government. Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) and a number of property owners along the Strand do not reach agreement with the federal government.

1997-98: Discussions between ODBC negotiators and the City staff result in a proposed agreement. This agreement allows the ODBC parking lot to remain, but creates a wide public access and park area along the river, as well as walkways along Strand Street. This proposed agreement does not come to fruition.

2004: In a report in late 2004 to City Council, City staff includes #1 and #2 King Street on the recommended Open Space Priority acquisition list. Priority acquisition list is received by City Council with an action plan that indicates that with the exception of #1 and #2 King Street discussions with Waterfront property owners to acquire property along Strand Street is authorized to commence. The City subsequently negotiates with these Strand Street property owners and purchased three of the six Strand Street parcels.

2005: In January 2005, after ODBC discussions with the Mayor and staff, City Council agrees to defer action on the acquisition of the ODBC property and the parking lot “until such time as a feasibility study of potential waterfront locations for the Boat Club has been completed and discussions between representatives of the Old Dominion Boat Club and the City have occurred.” This in effect takes the potential use of eminent off the table while discussions occurred between ODBC and the City.

2005: In September 2005, at the request of ODBC, Council reaffirms their prior acquisition deferral action taking eminent domain off the table during discussions between ODBC and the City.

2005: City and ODBC teams begin negotiation meetings. Outside expert planning firm EEK facilitates negotiations process and develop options related to the ODBC building, piers, boat slips, boat storage and parking lot.

2006-2008 Options developed and negotiations continue. National Park Service added to negotiation discussions, as under any agreement between the City and ODBC, NPS would need to agree to some or all of the terms.

2006 City and ODBC negotiators agree to move ODBC parking lot to southwest corner of Strand and Prince Street. City would pay for new parking lot, new boat ramp would be constructed and 7 new ODBC boat slips constructed. Offsite boat storage solution remains not agreed to.

2007-2008 City and ODBC reach an impasse on offsite boat storage. City offers area on Eisenhower Avenue which ODBC rejects. ODBC wants reversionary clause in any land exchange due to perceived land value issues. City works out solution to ODBC land value issue, but ODBC negotiators reject City solution.

2008: In late 2008, City and ODBC agree to restart negotiations.

2009: City Waterfront Planning process starts.

2009: City and ODBC restart negotiations.

2009: US District Court for the District of Columbia rules in favor of ODBC in the USA v Herbert Bryant, et al litigation. US Department of Justice appeals US District Court decision.

2010: City and ODBC enter into voluntary mediation process in the summer of 2010 with experienced mediator appointed by the US Court of Appeals. Mediation is not successful.

2010: ODBC files lawsuit against City claiming rights to Wales Alley

2011: In early 2011, US Court of Appeals affirms the US District Court decision.

2011: City and ODBC resume negotiations. In April 2011, City presents options reflect retaining ODBC parking lot with public walkway along river. In June, ODBC issues “ODBC Proffer Position” offering only walkway along Strand Street and requests granting of closest Torpedo Factory Pier to ODBC. City counters, and City and ODBC continue discussions.

2011: In August of 2011, the City and ODBC negotiators reach agreement on 8 of 9 points in City-ODBC “Framework Agreement”. Only remaining point is over ODBC’s desire for the City to grant them the closest City marina public pier for private ODBC use. In September of 2011, ODBC negotiating team substantially changes its position which then removes the negotiated plan for proposed public access along the waterfront. Negotiations do not continue.

2012: City Council adopts Waterfront Plan and rezoning plan which proposes to eliminate the ODBC parking lot, and envisions retaining the ODBC building for ODBC use. Plan also acknowledges interim solution where public access to the waterfront is provided and a portion of the ODBC parking lot could be retained.

2013: City Council re-adopts Waterfront rezoning plan

2013: In March, ODBC negotiators propose present nine “talking points” to the Mayor.

2013: After City Council deliberates on this matter, on June 14, the Mayor responds to ODBC proposal on behalf of Council and the City government. City detailed proposal is similar to what ODBC proposed in 1998, as it offers to keep ODBC parking lot largely in place and creates waterfront access for the public.

2013: In August, ODBC negotiators request meeting to discuss the City’s proposal. The City Manager and a Deputy City Manager meet with ODBC negotiators. ODBC provides drawing of the ODBC proposal which provides no waterfront access, as well as 3-D drawings of proposed iron and brick fence. ODBC drawing shows slight parking lot reduction to accommodate part of a proposed new small walkway along the Strand Street.

2013: City hires waterfront design and engineering firms to begin planning the details of the Waterfront parks and the flood mitigation plans.

2013: In September, ODBC negotiators again meet with City Manager and Deputy City Manager and seek to negotiate specific terms and conditions. ODBC is reminded that the City’s June 14 letter requests ODBC to respond to the City proposal. ODBC agrees to provide such a response.

2013: ODBC indicates several times that a response to City proposal is forthcoming. As of October 8, 2013, all the City has received is the August ODBC drawing and further statements by ODBC’s lead negotiator that they are working on a response.

2013: City announces special Council meeting and public hearing for 6 p.m. November 19, 2013 to review options for implementing the Waterfront Plan in the area of, and adjacent to the current ODBC parking lot.

2013: ODBC provides a formal written detailed response to the City’s June 14 Compromise Proposal. On October 16, ODBC amends that proposal by offering a small public path adjacent to the riverbank. On October 30 ODBC writes the City again. None of the ODBC responses and proposals indicate ODBC would accept the City’s June 14 Compromise Proposal. In fact the ODBC proposals are inconsistent with the City’s Compromise Proposal.

2013: On October 31, the Supreme Court issues its opinion in the appeal of the Alexandria Circuit Court case regarding the ownership of Wales Alley that was initiated in 2010. The Court ruled that Wales Alley is a public alley but that the ODBC has a limited easement over the alley for “free use and passage”. The opinion remanded the decision to the Circuit Court for entry of an order.

2013: On November 19, City Council holds a special meeting and public hearing on the ODBC parking lot. After the public hearing, City Council votes to direct the City Manager to continue discussions with ODBC for 90 days to seek a resolution of the issues related to implementing the Waterfront Small Area Plan and the ODBC parking lot. City Council also directed the City Manager and City Attorney to take steps necessary to initiate the eminent domain process in the event that consensual resolution is not reached.

2014: In March, the City and ODBC's negotiating teams jointly developed two options for OBDC to choose from in an attempt to avoid using eminent domain. The offers provide ODBC with the same or better functional use of other property, which is above and beyond the compensation required by law. ODBC has called a special meeting and vote for late March and has notified its membership. The City awaits a review and a vote by the club on these two offers.

2014: In July, The Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) notified the City that its members had ratified property exchange and settlement agreements with the City that would allow ODBC to construct a new clubhouse and parking lot one block south of their current locations. These agreements were approved by Alexandria City Council on June 24 and executed by ODBC and City officials on June 25. ODBC indicated that more than 80 percent of Boat Club members who participated in balloting between July 19 and July 21 voted in favor of ratifying the contracts. The agreements will result in an exchange of ODBC property around the north end of The Strand with City property around the south end.