March 1st, 2009

It Takes A Village

From The Department Of Unintended Consequences

An unintended consequence of architectural regulations, as reported by the Washington Post:

To many in Old Town Alexandria, the sex shop that opened recently on King Street is nothing short of scandalous, a historical desecration just blocks from the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee.

But to Michael Zarlenga, it's justice.

Zarlenga spent $350,000 on plans to expand his hunting and fishing store, the Trophy Room. He worked with city officials for almost two years and thought he had their support -- until the architectural review board told him he couldn't alter the historic property.

Furious and out of money, Zarlenga rented the space to its newest occupant, Le Tache....

"I believe it's an inappropriate business to be located in our old and historic district," Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille (D) said of Le Tache. "I get e-mails and calls every day from people who want us to do something to make the business leave."...

The city cannot act because the store is complying with the law. "There's nothing I can do to encourage its demise," the mayor said....

My favorite quote from the story: "Actually, I was hoping for a fast-food chain because I thought that would be more annoying to the city."