Man's Revenge Against City Hall: Sex Shop!

Here's a "man fights City Hall" story, with a twist: when Old Town Alexandria's architectural review committee forbid Michael Zarlenga from altering historic property and renovating his store, he decided to exact a little revenge:

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 can't say I didn't know it would ruffle feathers," said Zarlenga, 41. "Actually, I was hoping for a fast-food chain because I thought that would be more annoying to the city."

Allison Klein of the Washington Post has more on the story: Link (Photo: Tracy A. Woodward)

Previously on Neatorama: Man Fights City Hall ... With Signage


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I'm all for preserving historic buildings, but there's nothing wrong with adding to them if you are keeping in the spirit of the period the building was built in. And if the city dragged this out at this guy's expense for two years just to turn him down, they got exactly what they deserved. I only hope that it's a sex shop of the raunchiest sort.
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Who owns the building? If the city wants it, let them buy it. Why should my neighbors have a say what I do with something that is mine.

I hope they like their new sex shop. It's pretty historic. The sex trade is as old as anything.
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Sorry but I agree with the city on this. When you have a historical district it's really disgusting and tacky when one owner completely remodels the building. I could care less what they are selling, but the historical look of the neighborhood would instantly vanish if they didn't regulate this.

What I don't understand is how could he be so oblivious to the rule. I don't even live in Old Town and I knew this. And why would he have to completely renovate the place just to open a fishing and hunting shop. (Ignoring the fact that old town Alexandria has never struck me as a hub for fishers and hunters)

I mean, you wouldn't want someone moving in next door to you, tearing down the old house and rebuilding some monstrosity. That is why laws like this are in place. To preserve the feel of the neighborhood.
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