News: October 2004


The Mirant Potomac River Power Plant south of Slaters Lane is a 482-megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant. The age of the plant, its proximity to residential areas, and the potential impacts of its emissions, have made it the subject of concerns from citizens in the Northeast and Old Town North areas of Alexandria as well as the City’s environmental quality staff and City Council.

Recently, the Commonwealth of Virginia released a draft stationary source permit to operate the power plant, listing conditions relating to maintenance of ozone air quality. This is in conjunction with a consent decree dated September 27 spelling out a settlement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for exceeding NOx emissions standards in 2003. Mirant is currently under bankruptcy protection.

In addition, the City continues to have concerns about particulate emissions not covered by the consent decree and the draft permit. The City proposes to revoke two special use permits covering the plant and changing its status from non-complying to nonconforming and subject to abatement.

Upcoming actions on all sides include:

  • The State Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing on October 28, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson Street regarding the proposed state operating permit.
  • The consent decree is undergoing public participation through a separate federal process.
  • City Council is establishing a Mirant Community Monitoring Group to serve as a central point for receipt and dissemination of information.
  • Mirant is required to conduct a modeling analysis to assess the effects of downwash from the plant on ambient concentrations of mercury, SOx, NOx, CO, and PM10, and to submit a corrective action plan within 30 days if any standards are exceeded. The City is retaining a consultant to monitor the Mirant study.
  • Mirant has invited the community to an Open House on October 23 from 8 am to 11:30 am (RSVP to Debbie Knight at 703/838-3701).
  • The City’s Planning Commission and City Council are scheduled to consider zoning changes for the plant in November.

There is a wide range of issues and associated information pertaining to the Potomac River Plant. A good source of information on the past studies, consent decree, pending permit, and upcoming actions is the City’s web site. Go to, click on City Departments, click on Transportation and Environmental Services, click on Environmental Quality, click on Mirant.


We are fortunate to have a delightful theater right in our neighborhood, at 1201 North Royal Street. MetroStage’s Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin announces that the new season will open with the US premiere of One Good Marriage by Sean Reycraft. This remarkable play was a smash hit in Toronto last winter and will begin a Canadian tour this year. The play will be in performance at MetroStage October 21 through November 21, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 and 7 pm. Carolyn invites residents of Old Town North to purchase half-price tickets on a special neighborhood night, October 22 at 8 pm. Call 703-548-9044. If you miss that performance, you still have another four weeks in which to see the show!

Additional offerings for 2004-2005 include:

  • The All-Night Strut (song and dance from the 30s and 40s) February 16-March 27, 2005
  • Sophocles’ Electra (adapted from the classic Greek tragedy) April 21 to May 29, 2005
  • The Last Five Years (a contemporary musical), June 15-July 24, 2005


In conjunction with the Open Space Priority List published in July by the City’s Open Space Steering Committee, designating seven waterfront parcels as key acquisitions, the City’s Planning Department will be initiating a planning process for the central waterfront, the area bounded by Queen, Union, and Wolfe Streets and the Potomac River. This process would be based on extensive community participation, and last 12 to 15 months. It is anticipated that the Waterfront Committee, Waterfront Alliance, and numerous civic groups will want to participate in the planning effort. For additional information on the waterfront planning process, contact Kimberley Fogle at the city’s Planning Department (703-838-4666). For information about the Open Space Priority List Action Plan, consult City Council docket item 5, public hearing meeting of October 16, 2004 (City Clerk’s office at City Hall, 301 King Street, or City’s web site, City Council is scheduled to take action on the plan at its October 26 meeting.


In addition to possible actions on the Mirant Power Plant, the Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the following at its November 4 public hearing:

  • An application for a Thai restaurant at 801 N. Royal Street
  • A text amendment permitting additional density for residential projects in the CDX zone meeting certain criteria
  • Proposed multifamily condominium buildings at North Royal and First Streets
  • Application to change the mix of tenants at the Montgomery Center (block bounded by Montgomery and Madison Streets, Royal and Fairfax Streets)

The Planning Commission meeting is held in City Council Chambers, 2nd floor of City Hall, beginning at 7:30 pm.


Under a pilot program for outdoor dining in the public right-of-way, twenty restaurants along King Street and adjoining side streets have received approval to set up tables and chairs on the sidewalk. The program lasts through the end of this year, but could be extended into 2005. We’re delighted to finally have outdoor cafes. Enjoy!

Remember also to patronize Alexandria businesses for your holiday shopping. There are so many unique shops in the city that have the perfect presents for your loved ones, and shopping here helps our local economy. Don’t send your sales tax dollars to Fairfax County!


  • Old Town North Community Partnership monthly meeting. Week of November 18. Call 703-836-8066 to check date.
  • Historic Alexandria Show and Sale, Nov. 19-21, Holiday Inn & Suites, 625 First Street.


Please send an email with your contact Or complete and mail the form below to Old Town North Community Partnership, c/o Montgomery Center, 300 Montgomery Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.