News: September 2006


The Virginia State Air Quality Control Board has scheduled a hearing on September 25 at 10 am in Glen Allen (outside of Richmond) at which the Mirant Power Plant’s operations will be discussed. The City of Alexandria will make a presentation requesting the Board to force the state”s Department of Environmental Quality to aggressively apply its regulations to the Plant. A public comment period is available to interested citizens during the meeting, and those who cannot go in person may send their thoughts by email to (Cindy Berndt, Regional Coordinator). In our neighborhood, Tescia Yonkers is collecting signatures on petitions requesting stronger enforcement. Further information is available from Tescia at 703-548-7456, or from Elizabeth Chimento at 703-548-7939 (

At City Council’s September 12 meeting, City Attorney Ignacio Pessoa provided these additional updates on the power plant:

  • The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the City’s appeal of the case in which the City had revoked two special use permits for the plant and been overturned by the local Circuit Court.
  • A nuisance lawsuit by the City has been postponed to February 2007.
  • The state Department of Environmental Quality has agreed to treat its review of the power plant activities as a New Source Review due to ongoing construction and changes proposed as to the plant’s operations. This is a more stringent process.
  • The DEQ has directed Mirant to conduct PM 2.5 stack emission tests.
  • The City’s motion to deny approval of a consent decree on the plant’s operations is temporarily stayed until the Federal government responds to comments filed by the City and other parties.

Mirant presents its side of the story on a new web site,

Our thanks to Elizabeth Chimento, Poul Hertel, Tescia Yonkers, Sally Ann Greer and other neighbors who are following these developments closely and working to ensure better air quality for our neighborhood.


A neighbor has put his condo at Canal Place on the market and will be leaving Alexandria. John Mark wrote us his impressions of Old Town North. He says “We like to cuddle on one of the benches overlooking the river as the sun goes down behind and discuss the day’s events. We do some people watching as joggers run and dogs walk by and they all look at us as well. We’ll miss walking to Trader Joe’s and the new Thai place on Royal. We already miss brunch at Café Marianna; what a shame to see that place go. We’ll miss keeping windows open most of the year, enjoying fresh breezes, lots of natural light and the squirrels who are always watching us.


Bastille Restaurant has opened in Café Marianna’s place. Its chefs, Christophe Poteaux and Michelle Garbee, are introducing French cuisine with regional and world influences to our neighborhood. The restaurant features an inviting atmosphere; one wall shows work by local artists. A theater menu will be available from 5 to 7 for those attending performances at MetroStage. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with brunch on Sunday.

Kosmos Design & Ideas has opened at 805 North Royal Street. It features teak furniture, weavings, and accessories made from recycled natural materials.

A special use permit for a new coffee house at 610 Montgomery Street was approved this month. In addition to coffee, the 22-seat restaurant will provide sandwiches, salads, and pastries. It will be open 7 days a week and may feature live music on weekends.

The Boathouse at the foot of Madison Street improved its driveway entrance and landscaping. Four black bollards replace the crooked gate with peeling yellow paint.

Twelve new trees are to be planted in Montgomery Park, courtesy of the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce.

Chequers Restaurant at the Radisson is offering a new “Quick-Fix” lunch menu, featuring pannini sandwiches for $5.00, and soup and salad bar for $9.95 dine-in or $4.25/lb carry out.

Demolition of the Postmasters building seems to be complete, making way for the construction of condos.


The Old Town North Community Partnership’s September meeting will be held on Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 pm at 300 Montgomery Street, 2nd floor (across from the tennis courts). All residents, employees, and business owners in Old Town North are welcome to attend. On the agenda:

  • Top five priorities for Old Town North
  • Committee and Board assignments
  • Review of draft new business directory
  • Review of concept plan for Armed Forces Benefit Association building in the 900 block of North Washington Street. AFBA’s plan would result in demolition of the unsightly Jefferson Building at the corner of Montgomery and Washington Streets, and construction of shorter brick buildings compatible with the Washington Street standards. The Montgomery Street façade would include retail space and the remainder of the project would be Class A office space serving the AFBA as it expands its services to members of the military.


The Old Town North Community Partnership is seeking volunteers to help distribute our newsletter to the various residential areas as well as community meeting places. (The best way to make sure you see every issue is still to request email delivery. Write to, and we’ll put you on the list for newsletters and emails about special events). We also need a Webmaster to maintain our web site, and people who want to make a difference by leading various efforts to improve our neighborhood.


  • The Development Special Use Permit for the “Windows Catering” site across from MetroStage is going to public hearings on October 3 (Planning Commission) and October 14 (City Council). Plans are available for review at the Planning Department in City Hall. For more information, contact Gary Wagner at 703-838-4666.
  • The Braddock Road small area plan is nearing completion. Among its goals is the creation of a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood, safe walkable environments, enhancements to Route 1, and increased use of transit options. Community meetings and public hearings will likely take place this fall. For further information, call the Planning Dept, 703-838-4666, or (go to Planning Deparment, Neighborhood Planning, Braddock Road).
  • MetroStage presents Girl in the Goldfish Bowl through October 15. The play won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, Canada’s highest literary honor. Tickets: 800-494-8497, information: 703-548-9044.
  • On October 14, City Council will hold a public hearing to allow members of the public to comment on the upcoming Fiscal Year 2008 City Budget and Capital Improvement Program.
  • On October 3, several restaurants and shops in Alexandria are donating part of their proceeds to support the Walk to Fight Breast Cancer. Stardust Restaurant is donating 20% of its proceeds for the entire day. The organizers hope to raise $10,000 on October 3. Eat out and feel virtuous because you are contributing to a good cause.


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.