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Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Proposed Old Town Hostel

[Photo by Flickr user ehpien]

What's the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the word "hostel"? For some it might bring up memories of backpacking around a foreign continent as a student and for others it might immediately conjure up images of a bad horror flick. Apparently, for the residents of Old Town Alexandria it brings up images of shady transients with liquor problems who come to town and stay awhile. The proposed hostel on 216 S. Peyton Street would hold 94 people in a combination of dorm style rooms and private rooms and would serve alcohol to its patrons. All of this concerned the Alexandria residents present at the June 4th meeting of the Alexandria Planning Commission. While there were plenty of comments raised about the type of people that visit hostels and accompanying fears about their imminent proximity to Alexandria businesses and children there are some things that these folks may not have considered:

· Paul Cianciolo, the man behind the hostel, got the idea in the first place when he was in the Civil Air Patrol because young cadets were looking for inexpensive places to stay.

· The hostel would be an affiliate of Hostelling International, whose D.C. location is in a fashionably furnished building near Mt. Vernon Square and Metro Center. A quick call to their D.C. office confirmed that there have not been problems with rowdy behavior at the location and that "it's safe and it's comfortable."

· Hostelling International's D.C. location confirmed that while they cater to a wide mix of travelers of all ages from all over the world, patrons only stay at the hostel for an average of three days.

Hostelling International's D.C. location, like most Hostelling International sites does not serve alcohol. The City Council will decide on the proposal for the hostel on June 15th.
· Hostel in Old Town: Affordable Accommodations or Rowdy Roadhouse? [Old Town Alexandria Patch]
· Hostel Seeks to Open in Alexandria [Old Town Alexandria Patch]
· Hostelling International Washington D.C. [Official Site]