“I ask that the council to reconsider the tower vote with at least eight voting members present. Three council members — representing Bayside, Lynnhaven and At-Large — have conflicts of interest, and an additional council member was not able to vote on Sept 22.”

From Pilotonline.com:

I’ve been a resident and single-family homeowner in Cape Story since 1977, where Seagate was the big 13-story condo and Westminster-Canterbury was a big brick building for elderly people to live. The Virginia Beach City Council 5-2 vote approving the 22-story Westminster-Canterbury tower was disappointing: Eight-to-11-stories high seems more appropriate, not 22.

Concern continues about the population explosion on Shore Drive as the Planning Commission continues to approve senior living projects and the council is the last approval needed to go forward.

I ask that the council to reconsider the tower vote with at least eight voting members present. Three council members — representing Bayside, Lynnhaven and At-Large — have conflicts of interest, and an additional council member was not able to vote on Sept 22.

This council can decide if Virginia Beach is to continue to support the strong community engagement of single families or continued high profile growth.

Empsy Munden, Virginia Beach

“It’s appalling how the overwhelming amount of citizens opposed to this precedent-setting monstrosity were ignored. The entire process was appalling. Reconsideration!”

From Pilotonline.com:

Virginia Beach’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 hardly given the chance to discuss our concerns is not acceptable. Many of you, if not all of you, ran election campaigns that championed improved civic engagement for the citizens. We demand that you take the opportunity at your meeting today and reconsider your vote of Sept. 22.

Denying the proposed Westminster-Canterbury On The Bay expansion will allow the necessary city-facilitated civic dialogue to take place to make an informed decision of this magnitude. 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. It would also allow Westminster-Canterbury 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 the Virginia Beach Town Center and result in the loss of our neighborhood.

It’s appalling how five people have currently chosen to ignore the rule of law they’re charged to enforce. It’s appalling how the overwhelming amount of citizens opposed to this precedent-setting monstrosity were ignored. The entire process was appalling. Reconsideration!

Tim Solanic, Virginia Beach

“Have we all been bought and sold?”

From Pilotonline.com:

Have we all been bought and sold? The article on the vote for the out-of-scale 22-story retirement home expansion makes me ask this question.

To change our community and its future development on such a large scale with only a couple evening meetings is outrageous.

Through our City Council’s callous disregard of previously agreed zoning measures, we are opening up ourselves and our community to unchecked development of new high-rises along the beach, subsequently, destroying our culture and restricting our access to the very things that attracted us to the Lynnhaven way of life.

Where are the advantages of such a development to our community?

Councilman Guy Tower’s pathetic assessment of the proposed 250-foot glass tower is meaningless; his supporters must be cringing with embarrassment. Council members Louis Jones, Rosemary Wilson and Jim Wood could not vote due to conflicts of interest. With this being the district Wood represents, I am left unsettled.

I am sure that attorney Jeanne Lauer will find much more support within the community. After speaking to many of my neighbors and people in the community, it is quite evident that the council is not voting with the wishes of the people they represent.

John Samuel, Virginia Beach

“I will express my disapproval on Nov. 3.” And “Virginia Beach citizens will know exactly who to vote out of office on Nov 3.”

From Pilotonline.com Letters to the Editor:

Wrong move

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

 

Click here to see the results of City Council’s 5-2 Vote

on Westminster Canterbury

 

Why bother?

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

Lynnhaven Wharf and Bulkhead

Permanent City Wharf at the Lynnhaven Inlet

Listening to the presentation given by Mr. Phill Roehrs of the Public Works Department given at the City Council workshop on 23 January, one might believe that this was just routine business as the city declares that the present 400 foot bulkhead located at the Lynnhaven Bay will become a permanent wharf and feature upon the completion of the Lesner Bridge. Not so fast Mr. Roehrs, Mayor, City Council, City Manager, and staff.

 

The Federal Public Notice 12-1169-09 issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District and posted 10/18/2012 states that the Joint Application for Federal and State Permits submitted by the City of Virginia Beach will “include the construction of a temporary bulkhead”.   Further, “Upon the completion of construction, the temporary bulkhead will be removed”. This statement differs factually from what Mr. Roehrs told the Mayor, City Council and staff.

 

If the city’s permit application stating the bulkhead temporary intended for the Lesner Bridge construction, but actually had the intent to make it permanent to bypass certain Federal environmental requirements, than the city should correct their error and complete all the required Federal and state environmental impact studies required by law for such an operation.

 

The city’s most recently adopted Comprehensive Plan (May 17, 2016) “is the official land use policy framework for Virginia Beach…. “to guide responsible use of finite land resources….and protect neighborhoods”. A permanent bulkhead or wharf at the Lynnhaven Basin used for commercial operations and support for large commercial dredge vessels and scows would change the very nature for surrounding neighborhoods and degrade this pristine waterway. To use this bulkhead area as a permanent dredge spoils transfer site and commercial wharf would subject the estuary to unacceptable environmental pressure created by dredge silt then entering the estuary and flowing back into the vary areas where oyster replenishment and natural fish spawning areas have taken so much effort to restore. Harmful water turbidity levels and released pollution will continue to be an environmental issue if such a transfer operation should be permitted at this bulkhead. Mr. Roehrs was correct when he stated that the city should expect some pushback from the residents on this issue.

 

Respectfully,

David M. Williams

Past President and Secretary

Shore Drive Community Coalition

Virginia Beach, VA 23451

 

“Why not devote some energy as well as funds to finish the horrible mess known as Shore Drive.”

Opinion/Letter to the editor.
From an unedited email to us:

Hearing about the millions of dollars being discussed for the various proposed projects at the Beach astounds me. Why not devote some energy as well as funds to finish the horrible mess known as Shore Drive. The Lesner Bridge project is likely over 1 year behind schedule and much over budget. Shore Drive has to my knowledge never been completely resurfaced. The median strips east of the bridge have never been landscaped, sidewalks appear and disappear randomly and bike paths are non existent. Potholes remain untouched for years and after recent storms who knows when repairs will begin.

I see the major problem as the lack of representation from this area on city council. There is no one on the council that lives in this area. The Lesner Bridge splits our community into two zip codes and we have no one on city council that lives, works and transits this area on a daily basis. Bridge lighting works sporadically, trash on sidewalks on the bridge and sand and orange cones make it bicycle and pedestrian unfriendly.

One of the most traveled access points to the Beach deserves better as do the thousands of taxpayers. New roads, sidewalks and bike paths cover the oceanfront and the south side but sadly Shore Dr gets no attention at all.

Don Allen
Virginia Beach