Historic Preservation & Sex: Never underestimate the power of spite

As reported in the Sunday Washington Post, the owner of a hunting and fishing store in Old Town Alexandria wanted to expand, was told by the city he couldn’t, so he rented the space to a shop specializing in lingerie and ‘martial aids’. The then owner of the hunting & fishing shop, Michael Zarlenga, according to the Post did work with city historic preservation staff and a staff member of the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review in developing his plans for expansion of the sporting store. When the plans came up for the Board of Architectural Review to review in 2007, they rejected it The Board staff member Zarlenga was working with decided that the changes would cause an “unreasonable loss of [the] historic fabric.” The Board chairman said that the changes would have changed the roof structure.
What makes me feel badly for Zarlenga is that he was supposedly working with city staff and taking their advice and the city just strung him along. Any way the city of Alexandria was mean and made him cry. He closed his store, and until this year it was vacant. And this is where the spite comes in….
Zarlenga rented his space to an adult store, and is thinking of selling the property to them. The owners of the adult store have several other locations in NoVa and was able to get into Old Town because unlike other landlords, Zarlenga was willing to rent to them. The city of Alexandria has received complaints about the store’s presence. However, in the long run this may be much ado about nothing. The Pleasure Place, a similar establishment, in DC has two locations, both in historic districts. In addition Zarlenga has another Alexandria property, I’m not sure if it is a part of Old Town, that he’s leaving derelict and apparently patching up with duct tape. So with the adult store and the vacant property, that seems like spite.
For clarification I am not supporting spite, nor supporting stringing people along.

Farewell to the best IKEA pot ever

IKEA, being IKEA, seems to have discontinued the bestest pot ever, their PS Fejo. A few days ago I noticed that it was not part of their 2009 catalog.
What’s so great about it? It is a self watering pot on wheels. Plastic wheels that don’t rust. Wheels that have rarely given me any problem. As I like to move my plants around in the backyard, the wheels are an important feature.
I usually drill three small holes near the bottom side of the pot, a bit above the reservoir, so I can keep them outside. The little indicator, that pops up when the reservoir is full, sometimes fails after a few seasons, bit the main thing, the wheels and the integrity of the pot is longer lasting.
So I went to IKEA and bought 5 Fejos, seeing that the College Park location had about 100 in stock.