For the first time in my 50 years of living in Virginia Beach, I attended a City Council meeting. The only topic was a vote on the massive $250 million expansion of Westminster-Canterbury on Shore Drive that includes a 22-story glass tower. Speakers for and against the expansion presented their views in a most informative manner. There is no doubt that the quality of life and care for hundreds of senior citizens is top-notch at Westminster-Canterbury. On the other hand, the quality of life in the Shore Drive area, which is primarily residential, will be forever changed for thousands.
Despite compelling evidence that current city zoning laws do not permit a structure greater than 165 feet in height, the council approved the Westminster-Canterbury expansion that is taller than 250 feet.
Some of the rationale for approval voiced by Mayor Bobby Dyer, Councilwoman Barbara Henley, and Councilman Guy Tower was that Virginia Beach needs medical care facilities for its senior citizens. I couldn’t agree more, but that care is in a different building, not in a 22-story, 250-foot independent living facility. This 22-story structure will only open the door for future developers to make Shore Drive “high-rise heaven.” I will express my disapproval on Nov. 3.
Richard Malla, Virginia Beach
As a longtime resident of Lynnhaven Colony, I watched Tuesday’s Virginia Beach City Council meeting regarding the approval or disapproval of Westminster-Canterbury’s expansion with much interest. What I understood from Westminster proponents is: It’s a great place; they really care; Virginia Beach does not have enough senior housing; and that Beach boomers cannot wait to move there. What I heard from the opponents was that Westminster will destroy their view; shade their homes; and eliminate beach access that residents deserve, use and have grown to expect. It will incorporate a building that will be out of place, depreciate their home values, and that Westminster is actually unaffordable to most people.
What I heard from the council (except for Council members John Moss and Aaron Rouse, who I applaud for their sensibilities) was that the council meeting was a red herring, set up at the Virginia Beach Convention Center so as many people as possible could waste their time and voice their views; and, yes,
thanks for your comments and concerns, but we know better, don’t really care what you think or how this action might impact you,
and we’re going to pretend to think about it for say — five minutes — before announcing our foregone conclusion. Thank you very much. Virginia Beach citizens will know exactly who to vote out of office on Nov 3.
Kriste Brown Camsky, Virginia Beach