Derek Hyra, an associate professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, has been appointed by the Alexandria City Council to a four-year term on the city’s planning commission.

The Alexandria Planning Commission is a seven-member decision making body that makes recommendations to city council for special use permits, development special use permits, request for vacations of or encroachments on public right-of-way, re-zonings, master plan amendments, zoning text amendments, and other requests. The planning commission has the authority to approve or deny requests for subdivision of land or development site plans. Members also represent the planning commission on other boards or commissions such as the transportation commission.

Hyra resides in the West End area of Alexandria and teaches at the Virginia Tech campus in Old Town Alexandria. His research focuses on inner city economic development, with an emphasis on globalization, housing policy, urban politics, and race. He is currently finishing a book that investigates the redevelopment of Washington, D.C.’s Shaw/U Street neighborhood.

“I'm honored to have the opportunity to serve the city in this capacity and am looking forward to putting some of my research to practice in Alexandria. On the planning commission, I will focus on promoting affordable housing opportunities as well as equitable and sustainable development,” said Hyra after his appointment was announced.

“We are looking forward to working with Derek Hyra,” said Faroll Hamer, director of planning and zoning for the City of Alexandria. “As someone who has studied urban neighborhoods as they change through time, he will bring a unique and valuable perspective to the Planning Commission.”

Since 2009, Hyra has served on the board of commissioners for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, a public agency that provides affordable housing in the City of Alexandria. He was board chair of the authority in 2012.



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