On Tuesday City Council decided to move ahead with the scheduled Aug 4th hearing of the Westminster-Canterbury proposed expansion plans. The hearing will take place in the Convention Center and start at 6:00pm. We have been told this site will allow adequate social distancing even with the recent reduction of allowable group sizes from 250 to 50. You can also participate virtually if you are in a high risk category.
The Shore Drive Community Coalition is asking the residents of the Bayfront Community to provide City Council with your opinions on this proposed development. This is a once in a lifetime decision that can cause adverse ripples for many years to come. Here are several ways you can let your voices be heard.
- Sign up to speak (in-person or virtual) at the Tuesday Aug 4th hearing. Call the City Clerk at 385-4303 or email her at ABarnes@vbgov.com and inform her you wish to talk on the Westminster-Canterbury item.
- Send an email to City Council and the Staff Planner. It can be a short few sentences of what you think about this project or it can be several paragraphs of stories or analysis. Any email is welcomed. Send your emails to the following: City Council – CityCouncil@vbgov.com and City Planner Bill Landfair – WLandfair@vbgov.com
For reference, the official letter of opposition from SDCC to City Council is included below. Feel free to copy and paste information from this letter into your emails if you need. City Council Deny Request Letter for WC22
Dear Mayor Dyer and City Council Members,
On behalf of the Shore Drive Community Coalition (SDCC), we formally request that City Council “DENY” the subject request from Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay (WCCB) for a modification of conditions to build a 4 story parking garage with 22 story tower senior living facility and a 7 story memory unit facility connected by enclosed elevated pedestrian bridges over public roadways.
The SDCC is a 20 year old umbrella civic organization representing many neighborhood civic leagues, condo and homeowner associations along the Shore Drive corridor. At our February general meeting, we unanimously voted on the following motion regarding the current proposed WCCB development,
“The Shore Drive Community Coalition opposes the Westminster Canterbury expansion proposal as it is in violation of the Shore Drive Overlay density restrictions and the Business 901 height restrictions”
The proposed project defined as “Housing for seniors” violates the following City codes and plans.
- Shore Drive Corridor Overlay Section 1704- Density requirements of maximum 24 units per acre. The proposed 22 story tower lot size is 2.56 acres.
Density Design Units/acre % over code Total Units Shore Drive Overlay (24/acre) 24 0% 61 Other States Codes for Affordable Housing 28 +20% 73 Existing Westminster Canterbury Campus Density 50 +40% 86 Proposed 22 Story Tower 85 +255% 217
- Business District Section 901(a) – Senior housing building height restriction of 165 feet. The 22 story tower has a height of 250 feet. This City code requirement appears to have been created to allow safe evacuation of elderly residents in case of emergency.
The SDCC understands that Council will be using “City Code Section 235 – Housing for seniors and disabled persons” to approve random densities for these types of projects, however, this code also requires Council to evaluate the project with the following guideline.
The mass, or overall size, and height of the structure should be appropriate to the surroundings.
Based on numbers alone, it seems the proposed 22 story tower fails on height and mass.
The SDCC is also concerned that this project will set a harmful precedent for future development requests of high density taller tower structures in Business B2 and B4 zoning that would be incompatible with the surrounding residential and lower density multi-family dwellings that make the Shore Drive Corridor unique.
Thank you for your consideration in denying the subject application,
Todd Solomon – SDCC President