Obfuscation intentional or unintentional is not a good look for anyone involved in this process.
A very brief illustration of where we are today in the City’s process of reviewing this “iconic building”.
July 25th 2020 – SIGNAGE
They still haven’t fixed the conflicting times (12:00 noon on two signs and 6:00 pm on two other signs), and the convention center is listed for the planning commission meeting on two of the signs, rather than the city council meeting which still says council chambers. The lack of attention to detail is astonishing.
LATE JULY – PLANNING COMMISSION OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS FINALLY INCLUDES WCCB
As of the most recent Bayfront Advisory Committee Meeting July 16th 2020, Planning Commission WCCB Transcripts were not available to the public, nor on the public record.
Our original post of PLANNING COMMISSION MARCH 11 2020 OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS
PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete PDF file we downloaded that day excluding WCCB TRANSCRIPT and compared to link of PDF at VBGov.com. 40 pages were missing. Interestingly, the link to PDF at VBGov.com is not broken even though the PDF was changed adding WCCB TRANSCRIPT. In other words – the PDF was dramatically altered with no public record of alteration. Maybe it’s time the City time stamps all public records posted on the official record & when errors are made, add a description of the error and keep original incorrect document public.
SDCC TOOK A SURVEY re: WCCB
July 25th 2020 – CITY COUNCILMAN CONCERNS ON HOW THIS PROCESS APPEARS TO THE PUBLIC
Subject: Concern on City Manager Briefings
This email content has three parts:
1. City Manager
3. City Council
Why did you place West Minister and Thalia Wayside that are Planning items on City Manager Briefings?
Who will be giving said Briefings?
The briefing material is just a repackaging of the developer’s proposals. I did not see any of the opposition material being included. Is there a reason it is an unbalanced brief?
This comes across as sales pitch for the developer where the other side does not get equal time.
This is an example of the very issue I discussed with you last Wednesday evening.
I will raise a vigorous objection to what is a less than balanced presentation of these two developments. If we are going to indirectly give the developers advertising for their developments than the opposition being the neighborhoods deserve to have their views represented as well with equal quality of graphics and content.
This is not an approach that promotes unity or conveys neutrality by the staff.
Since this email is subject to FOIA on this coming Sunday I will be posting the basic content of this email on Facebook.
I requested sometime ago additional analysis on the Thalia Wayside project from staff, and I have not seen it yet on shared parking.
Let me be clear, I take major exception to unbalanced briefing materials that undermine the public’s confidence on the neutrality of the staff and by our silence conveys City Council’s concurrence with an approach that at best is only the appearance of advocating for developers and at worst, well I leave that to your imagination.
Now, if we are had two briefings representing the developers’ proposals and that of the opposition of equal length, quality, and time that would be a different story. Sadly that is not the case.
We can do better than this. The voters, Council employers, expect more of us. This briefing should not happen. Whatever the motivation or perceived benefit that gave rise to the City Manager briefing, the political capital it wastes and the distrust of Council’s governance it promotes makes the presentation a major error of judgment.
I trust that upon reflection between now and Tuesday that this an error of judgment we avoided versus executed.
View the perception of the City Manager’s proposed briefing through the eyes of the voters and ask yourself as Council Members do you want to own that perception. I think not.
For my colleagues on the ballot in November, some of whom I have endorsed, sustain the integrity of the judgment behind your vote (yeah or nay) by not remaining silent on what will be seen as a lack of impartiality in our governance.
JULY 27 2020 – PROPOSED CHANGES TO WCCB. WHEN IS THE PUBLIC INPUT ON THIS TAKING PLACE IN A PUBLIC HEARING?
Following the Planning Commission hearing, the applicant looked at ways to further mitigate the impact of the 22-story building on the adjacent properties to the east. As such, they are now proposing to move the building 15 feet on the ground level further to the west, away from the property line, as well as another 11 feet on levels 2 – 5. The dock area for the same building has been redesigned to confine trash operations behind doors with compactors within the building itself. Walls and ceilings inside the dock area will be lined with heavy duty sound attenuation panels. Along the eastern property line, an 8’ tall masonry wall is now proposed along with additional landscaping. The elevated bridge proposed over Starfish Road has been reduced in length by almost 60 feet and the bridge over Ocean Shore Ave has shifted slightly to the north. My apologies for the confusion about the Planning Commission date noted in the letter you received. That was a typo. You’re quite right in that the application was originally reviewed and recommended for approval on March 11th.
William R. Landfair, AICP
Planning Evaluation Coordinator | Planning & Community Development | Planning Administration
2875 Sabre Street, Suite 500 | Virginia Beach VA 23452
(757) 385 – 8745
JULY 24 – BAC CHAIRMAN CORRECTS THE OFFICIAL RECORD re: BAC POSITION ON WCCB
Subject: Westminister Canterbury
I am writing you on behalf of the Bayfront Advisory Commission. City Council is scheduled to discuss and vote on the proposed addition to the Westminister Canterbury site on August 4. During the presentation to the Planning Commission the developers made statements to the effect that the Bayfront Advisory Commission approved their proposed project. In fact, the BAC, as a general rule, does not vote to approve or deny projects. We do provide advisory comments.
The BAC did receive a presentation from WC in November. This was early in the project, and the developer had not yet contacted all of the neighboring residents. One of the BAC concerns was that the 22 story tower was too high and not in accordance with other development in the Shore Drive corridor. We were advised this was a “by right” design because it was for senior housing. This remains a concern with most of the residents in the corridor. There are other design concerns of the neighboring residents that the BAC has not vetted.
The BAC is more than willing to provide more analysis of the project, including recent changes to the design, and to offer a specific recommendation to City Council, but that will require a one month deferral of City Council action.
The BAC will await your direction regarding this issue.
Chairman, Bayfront Advisory Commission.
If City Council truly values residents opinions and want to have a transparent process especially in an election year, they need to defer the Aug 4th hearing and hold several public forums to allow Bayfront community to discuss concerns and work towards common ground.
No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn.
~ Maya Angelou