May 23, 2021
The Honorable Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer, Mayor
2401 Courthouse Drive,
City Hall Building #1, Room 281, Municipal Center
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
RE: Floatopia, Memorial Day 2021
Dear Mayor Dyer:
I am writing you with immediate and great concern. The Ocean Park bayfront community has once again been targeted as the location for the unsanctioned Floatopia event on Sunday, May 30, 2021. The event coordinators, Matthew David and Stephen Hobbs, are specifically targeting the Lesner Bridge channel and eastern Ocean Park beach. This concern is evidenced in the below social media posts.
I am certain you recall the significant destruction left in the wake of the 2019 Floatopia event that elicited substantial lawlessness and resulted in extensive beach debris – literally tons of debris was scattered across our beach and in the Bay for residents and City workers to clean. It was so destructive that it garnered attention from both national and international media. Attached are notes taken from the emergency Ocean Park Civic League meeting in the aftermath of the 2019 Floatopia, which many of you may have attended.
Mayor Dyer, We cannot allow this event to occur on our beaches again!
We, as a community in Ocean Park, are wholly opposed to this event and the terrible impact it had on our small community, as well as the terrible environmental impact left in its wake (beach and bay debris left behind to pollute our land and beaches and the untold impact on countless native species of fish, birds and other native animals).
Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away, and time is of the essence! With such a short window of time to act to prevent the Floatopia organizer(s) from unleashing another international debacle on our community again, our residents require immediate communication from you regarding the City’s plan to prevent a repeat of the 2019 disaster. Please respond with details as soon as possible and we will share your response with our residents.
Ocean Park Civic League President
Cc:James Wood, Vice Mayor/Councilmember, Lynnhaven District #5
Louis Jones, Councilmember, Bayside District #4
Patrick A. Duhaney, City Manager
Paul W. Neudigate, Police Chief
Captain Jeffery Wilkerson, Commanding Officer 3rd Precinct
Mark Shea, Comprehensive Planning Coordinator, Bayfront Advisory Commission
Phil Davenport, Chairman, Bayfront Advisory Commission
Todd Solomon, Shore Drive Community Coalition
Chief, Prevention Department, Commander Dean Horton, Sr., U.S. Coast Guard
Frank Rabena, Vice President, Virginia Pilot Association
PREVIOUSLY: EMERGENCY MEETING Over 200 people attended including the Mayor, 2 Councilmen, City Manager, Public Works Director, 3rd Precinct Captain, Deputy Fire Chief, Deputy City Manager & other leadership.