Westminster Canterbury Expansion Update – City Council Member Status

As you all know, the City Council hearing for the proposed Westminster Canterbury expansion is now scheduled to take place on Tuesday August 25th.  The following is a brief update on what City Council Members positions/interest is to date.

3 Council Members have recused themselves from discussing, commenting and voting on this application due to conflict of interests.  Those members are Jim Wood – Lynnhaven District; Louis Jones – Bayside District and Rosemary Wilson – At-large.

Out of the remaining 8 Council Members, 7 have yet to meet with residents or attend a civic meeting where this expansion was discussed or presented.

1 Council Member, Mr. John Moss, has publicly made the decision to oppose the expansion.  His Facebook post is shown below.

 

The Bayfront Advisory Commission (BAC) will be holding their annual Strategic Planning session prior to their regular meeting at 1 PM on August 20, 2020.

Email from Mark:

Good Morning,

Phil Davenport, Chairman of the Bayfront Advisory Commission, asked me to send out this email to the various civic league/homeowner association contacts to obtain written comments regarding two topics:

The Bayfront Advisory Commission (BAC) will be holding their annual Strategic Planning session prior to their regular meeting at 1 PM on August 20, 2020. Phil has requested that the various organizations provide BAC with their written comments/or concerns about the bayfront area in general to help with the strategic plan discussion.

At the regular meeting, BAC will be discussing the Westminster-Canterbury application. This item has been delayed until the August 25, 2020 City Council meeting. Please provide any written comments or concerns that your organization may have regarding this application.

Please email me your comments about these items no later than Monday 8/17/20 so I can compile and send to the BAC members prior to the meeting. BAC meetings are now being held at the Ocean Park Rescue Squad meeting room, 3769 E. Stratford Road to allow for more social distancing. However, due to the spacing requirements, there will be extremely limited seating.

Thank you for your help and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Mark E. Shea, AICP
Comprehensive Planning Coordinator
City of Virginia Beach
Department of Planning and Community Development
Meshea@vbov.com
757-385-2908

Emphasis ours.

​City Manager Patrick Duhaney has declared a local state of emergency in preparation for the storm. “The Aug. 4 City Council meeting – items that were to be considered will be rescheduled for Council meetings on Aug. 18 or 25.”

Virginia Beach Prepares for Arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias Local Emergency Declared in Virginia Beach at VBGov.com:

Due to expected high winds, rain and possible flooding from Tropical Storm Isaias, all City buildings and facilities will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 4. 

Closings & Cancellations for Tuesday, Aug. 4

  • The Aug. 4 City Council meeting – items that were to be considered will be rescheduled for Council meetings on Aug. 18 or 25. 
  • Recreation centers and Parks & Recreation summer childcare programs
  • Libraries
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and Boat Tours.

Waste Collection Suspended on Tuesday
All trash, recycling, bulky item and yard debris collections are suspended. Collections will resume on a sliding schedule: Tuesday routes will be collected Wednesday, Wednesday routes on Thursday, Thursday on Friday, and Friday routes on Saturday, Aug. 8.

 

Our understanding is WCCB is now scheduled for August 25th.

From: Paige T. McGraw
Sent: Monday, August 3, 2020 2:15 PM
To: Todd Solomon
Subject: RE: August 4th City Council Hearing – Westminster Canterbury Expansion Item

Todd,

The meeting tomorrow will be cancelled. The Westminster item will be heard on the 25th. Do you want to stay signed up?

Sincerely,

Paige McGraw

City of Virginia Beach | Deputy City Clerk

2401 Courthouse Drive | Bldg. 1, Rm. 281 | Va. Beach, VA 23456

| 757.385.4303 |

“Subsequent to the Planning Commission Public Hearing The Applicant has provided Staff with a New submittal…” ~ Planning Director July 28 2020

Is it more appropriate to DEFER the Public Hearing scheduled for City Council Meeting August 4th 2020 to allow the City to hold the necessary public forum and reach an acceptable compromise rather than try to work a solution during a Public Hearing that also includes very real health risks for its participants considering:

  • The unknown recent changes
  • Large opposition to publicly seen proposed development
  • 3 Councilpersons needing to recuse themselves
  • Inconsistencies throughout the entire process to date
  • The complexity of the precedent setting “iconic building” WCCB will have in the Shore Drive Community for decades
  • Recent FOIA documents available below.
    Note: Attachments mentioned in many emails were not included for the public to view.

    R-F008829_-_Bloom

    R-F008829-072120_-_Mayors_Office_Responsive_Documents

    R-FOIA_F008829_Leahy_E-mail

    R-WC_FOIA

    Affects of the Westminster-Canterbury Expansion

    Re Westminster Canterbury potential expansion

    RE Westminster Canterbury Expansion concern

    RE Shore Drive Community Coalition Position Statement – Westminster Canterbury Expansion

    Westminster Canterbury Expansion concern

    Shore Drive Communtiy Coaltion Position Statement – Westminster Canterbury Expansion

    “We have 2 presentations coming up now because of the complexity . . .” ~ Mayor Dyer July 28th 2020

    It seems everyone understands how complex the proposed development is. What’s the rush to attempt to push it through with incomplete information & lack of public input on an unseen “new submittal”.

    City Council Still Plans to Hear Westminster-Canterbury Expansion on Aug. 4th – Community Input Needed

    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