Click here for a printable version of the agenda – 10.26.20 SDCC Agenda
SDCC General Meeting Agenda
Monday October 26, 2020 from 7:30 to 9:00pm
Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad Hall – 3769 East Stratford Rd
(parking in back, on side streets and across Shore Drive)
Special Presentation – None
Secretary – Kathleen Damon; Treasurer’s Report –Tim Solanic; Vice President – Empsy Munden;President – Todd Solomon
Proposed Developments –
- Westminster-Canterbury (WC) High Rise and Memory Center Expansion – City Council approved the expansion on Sept 22. Ocean Shore Condos filed a lawsuit vs City Council on October 20. A Go Fund Me campaign has been created to help pay for legal fees. To date, $15k has been raised of the $30k goal. SDCC requested City Council to reconsider their approval, but no reply was received from them.
- Marina Shores Apartment Expansion – A 60 unit 5 story (65ft tall) building is being proposed along North Great Neck Rd. where the apartment’s tennis courts are currently located. This application is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission in November. The Bayfront Advisory Commission did not support the request to remove the existing condition that limits density to 24 units/acre.
- Marlin Bay Apartment Complex – 227 units 4 story buildings are being proposed at the intersection of Marlin Bay Drive and Shore Drive. The developer cancelled a presentation at the Oct. Bayfront Advisory Commission meeting.
- Windsong Development – 411 units off of Pleasure House Road in Chic’s Beach. This project is scheduled to go before Planning Commission in December.
New Business –
Short Term Rental Overlay Districts Proposed for Ocean Park and Cape Story by the Sea – Councilman Louis Jones and Councilman Jim Wood asked for an ordinance change to create STR overlay districts in Ocean Park and Cape Story which will allow “By Right” use of residents for STRs as long as they meet the guidelines in the code. At the City Council Oct 20 meeting, Ocean Park residents showed up in opposition and Councilman Jones removed the Ocean Park overlay from the ordinance. Councilman Wood has left the Cape Story overlay in place as a challenge to the residents to oppose if they want his overlay removed. If not, then 50% of Cape Story will be “By Right” STR. The BAC will vote at their Nov. meeting on a position for the Bayfont on STR. It is recommended that SDCC vote on a position statement for STR Overlays in the Bayfront and it’s proposed that all overlays be prohibited from the Bayfront.
November SDCC Meeting – Officers from the 3rd Precinct has asked to come to a November meeting to discuss a community policing plan for Ocean Park and other neighborhoods that are experiencing vandalism and break-ins. They plan to do a survey of neighborhoods to gather input on issues. SDCC is working with them to create and promote an online survey.
Official email sent to City Council asking for reconsideration of vote to approve Westminster Canterbury high rise high density expansion. Click here for printable version Request to CC to Reconsider WC Vote
Failure to provide HUD affordable housing;
1998 acknowledgement of 165ft senior housing height limit
Dear Mayor Dyer and Council Members Berlucchi, Wooten, Tower and Henley,
The Shore Drive Community Coalition (SDCC), as voted at our September 28, 2020 meeting, formally requests City Council at your October 6th meeting to reconsider the approval vote of the Westminster Canterbury (WC) application heard on September 22, 2020.
It is our understanding that Council has a 2 week period to reconsider votes made at formal Council hearings. There are a multitude of reasons the vote for the WC application should be reconsidered, several of them are listed below. It is our hope that at least two of you will agree to reconsider your erroneous decision.
Reasons why Council needs to reconsider the WC application vote of September 22nd:
- Council Member Abbott should be allowed to vote. Abbott was unable to attend the vote due to a family emergency, but with only 8 members able to vote as a result of conflict of interests, allowing all qualified voting members a chance to participate is a necessity. Decisions like the WC application that are based solely on Council’s opinions need to have all voting members participate.
- Council Members Berlucchi and Wooten should explain their reasons for support. Since the approval of the WC expansion was based solely on Council opinion, all the members provided explanation for their votes except Council members Berlucchi and Wooten. A decision that changes the future of the Bayfont demands that they explain why they ignored the community’s concerns and voted in favor of the project.
- WC’s claim that a density of +255% over code is needed to eliminate the approaching silver tsunami is irrelevant. This high density development will not provide enough housing for all the seniors that will be part of the tsunami, nor is it this project’s responsibility to do so. A larger City approach should be taken. One that requires all development to stay within the codes, plans and guidelines. In fact there are over 1000 new units being built or planned within a 5 mile radius of WC. New Millineium Senior Living – 250 units; Burton Station Senior Housing – 40 units; Overture Senior Apts – 150 apts; The Pearl – 260 apts; Marlin Bay – 230 apts; Marina Shores expansion – 60 apts; Reducing the number of units for the WC expansion to be equal to the current campus density won’t adversely impact the senior housing market. If the supply is there, the developers will come.
- There are zero affordable housing units in this expansion. The Senior Housing Design Guideline allows density increases above code only for HUD defined affordable senior housing. This type of allowance is common practice and shows up in California State laws as +20% for senior housing and even Alexandria Virginia as a +30% increase. The City’s Senior Housing Advisory Committee identified the lack of affordable HUD housing in this project and requested WC to supply documentation as to how they are meeting this requirement. None has been produced. Allowing increased density because a business plan needs it to maximize profit is not allowed.
- Maximizing tax collection is not a valid application review parameter. There is no requirement in the City codes, plans or guidelines that says tax revenue is more important than maintaining the character of a neighborhood. A smaller scale project allows the characteristics of the area to be maintained and also allow an increase in taxes over what is being collected now.
- Ignoring City codes, plans and guidelines will set precedent for future development in the Bayfront area. For the past 20 years, it has been the general opinion of the community that the development along Shore Drive has been too boxy and dense, but the residents have understood the overlay requirements and made sure projects didn’t violate them. The WC project you approved ignores the height restriction of 165ft that was adhered to for the 2nd WC building. The density of the 22 story tower site is 255% over the 24/units per acre code. The Senior Housing Guidelines require the site to be a minimum of 3 acres, yet it is only 2.56. The guidelines also require the project to have a mass and scale that doesn’t adversely impact the surrounding community’s character. Approving a project that ignores all of these requirements will provide the legal precedent for all future developers to ignore codes and ask for approval based on conditional use similar to this one.
The City’s lack of civic engagement for a project of this magnitude and impact is appalling. The Bayfront residents pride themselves on civil discourse and the ability to work with the City to find compromising solutions. The fact that we were never given the chance to discuss our concerns is not acceptable. All of you ran election campaigns that championed improved civic engagement for the citizens. We demand that you take the opportunity at your October 6th meeting and reconsider your vote of September 22nd. Denying the proposed WC development will allow the necessary City facilitated civic dialogue to take place needed to make an informed decision of this importance. A smaller less dense development would be an acceptable compromise that will keep future development of the Bayfront in accordance with codes, plans and guidelines and also allow WC residents to enjoy their new amenities and City Council to enjoy an increase in tax revenue. Keeping the approval of the high rise high density project will lead to a Bayfront that resembles Town Center and result in the loss of our neighborhood character which is the main reason we all love this area.
Shore Drive Community Coalition President
The following letter is from the Ocean Shores Condominium Board requesting support to help cover costs for legal fees to help them oppose the current proposed 22 story tall expansion of Westminster Canterbury. Ocean Shores Condos are located directly to the east of the proposed high rise and will be impacted the most by the massive structure. If you believe the proposed iconic landmark hire rise is not in keeping with the neighborhood character of the Bayfront area, Please help by donating and/or forwarding this post to others.
Ocean Shores Condo Legal Fees Fundraiser Letter
Dear Shore Drive Community members:
We are writing you concerning the expansion of Westminster Canterbury. Most of you have gone to meetings opposing the expansion of Westminster Canterbury, or have expressed personal interest against the expansion as it stands now.
This letter/email is from The Ocean Shore Condominiums. We are a 63 unit condo directly to the east of Westminster Canterbury on Ocean Shore Avenue.
The board of Ocean Shore Condominium, has been fighting to mitigate some of the most egregious design plans of Westminster Canterbury’s expansion since the details were presented to Ocean Shore Condominium owners December 17, 2019, by WC management; the expansion plan was presented as final. We have attended many meetings, written numerous letters to the planning commission, and made presentations to that commission March 11, 2020. Now we are actively in contact with the City Council and are prepared to attend their meeting on September 22, 2020, in order to voice our concerns. Beginning with the Dec. 17, 2019, presentation, Ocean Shore hired an attorney and an architect to help represent us and the community through this entire process. Many of us have attended meetings with the attorney, and she helped voice our opposition in front of the planning commission. In addition, she will be making a case against aspects of the expansion plan at the City Council Meeting.
To date, we have spent over $19,500 on legal fees and another $6,000 for the advice and representation we have gotten from our architect. We have more costs coming as our attorney and architect will be representing all of us at the City Council Meeting upcoming on September 22, 2020. We are trying to protect the housing values and the wonderful lifestyle of the entire Shore Drive Area and therefore we are all in this together.
We are asking you to help support us financially. Please consider contributing to our bills in the quest to get Westminster Canterbury to change their expansion. If you are an individual and can afford $10, $25, $100, or any other amount we would appreciate your help. If you represent an association or a civic league and you have the same passion as Ocean Shore to continue this fight, then we ask you to financially support us as a community with as much as you deem appropriate. Ocean Shore Condo is fighting for the entire Shore Drive Area. We need your financial help and cannot continue to fight without your help.
To contribute, please write a check made out to Ocean Shore Condominium and forward it to the address below:
Ocean Shore Condominium
Attn: Jay Frieden, Treasurer
2416 Ocean Shore Crescent #401
Virginia Beach, Va. 23451
Whether you contribute financially or not we still need your support. Please keep contacting the City Council, your Congressional representative and the Governor to keep the pressure on our City Council. We want to protect everyone in The Shore Drive Area.
Very Truly Yours,
Ocean Shore Condo Board
The City’s Community Rating System Coordinator, Ms. Whitney McNamara, recently sent the above letter to all homeowners living in flood prone areas of our City. The CRS is a national program and almost all of the cities in Hampton Roads are participants. One of the requirements of the program is civic engagement. The outreach letter contains a lot of helpful information, so please read it and its reference documents if you live in a flood prone area. Being part of the CRS program also brings along benefits for citizens in the form of reduced flood insurance premiums. The % saving is based on a points scale based on what actions the City is implementing. Virginia Beach is currently at a 15% savings rating and is continuously working towards improvement and more savings. You can click on the link below or the image above to read the entire letter.
Tuesday September 22nd will be the new scheduled date for City Council to hear Westminster Canterbury’s proposed expansion application.
***PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF HEARING DATE***
City Council at their Tuesday briefing agreed to move ahead with a motion to defer the upcoming August 25th advertised hearing of the WC application to the new hearing date of Tuesday September 22nd. The September 22nd City Council hearing will still take place at Convention Center at 6:00pm.
The following is an official email from Mr. Mark Stiles, City Attorney, confirming the decision of Council to defer and reschedule.
From: Mark Stiles
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 3:18 PM
To: Todd Solomon
Cc: William R. Landfair
Subject: Re: Westminster Canterbury Hearing Deferral Documentation
Yesterday the Council agreed to defer the Westminster item to a special meeting on September 22. A formal vote to that effect will occur next Tuesday and the published agenda for next week will show that it is on for deferral to that date.
The main reason for the requested change in hearing date was to allow this item to be the only Planning Item on the agenda which will create a more manageable meeting. The August 25th agenda contains 28 Planning Items and is scheduled to be a joint City Council and Planning Commission hearing which potentially doubles the time for each item to be heard. A brief excerpt from the City Manager’s letter to City Council is shown below explaining this in more detail. The entire letter can be read by clicking below
CM letter to CC re Deferral of WC to 9.22
The City of Virginia Beach listened to the community and has installed a “Your Speed” radar sign on Shore Drive to help slow motorists coming out of First Landing State Park. The sign is located in the median just as you exit the State Park and enter the Cape Story by the Sea Neighborhood. The sign is solar operated and permanently mounted. It shows speeds up to 45mph. Anything over, it will post a “Slow Down” warning. This is a big step toward the community request to have several of these types of signs that are portable and can be set up and moved in a random pattern to keep focus on speeding issues.
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.