We had a decent turnout for last night’s Membership meeting. But, we still need more Members. We are having a two hour Membership meeting this afternoon to discuss the best way to begin reaching out to those Civic Organizations who are not Members. There is strength in numbers and the more folks in the group, the stronger the voice, if we ever need it.
We talked briefly about:
10 -1 District Voting – The City Council is asking the State to change the law to make it legal
Project Wayne – Nothing new at this time although I heard that they may be moving ahead in the form of an co-application with the City to rezone the land in the Transition Area. If that happens, it is tantamount to moving the Green Line and to violating the Comprehensive Plan Guidelines, the Interfacility Traffic Area/Transition Area (ITA/TA) Master Plan and a breaking of a decades old promise to the taxpayers that no development would occur south of the Green Line. This is a citywide issue if it stays alive.
Comprehensive Plan – The City is updating the Comp Plan, which is the development guideline for the City. The goal of VBCCO is to represent citizens in established, suburban neighborhoods so that multi-family or other development does not encroach on the quality of life in those communities, especially when we begin to see aging strip shopping centers be torn down and redeveloped into multifamily apartments. A lot of these aging properties that are going to be redeveloped abut established, suburban neighborhoods. Most of us did not buy our homes with the expectation that someone would come along and build a 5 story apartment complex on the property line.
Rudee Loop – We are getting a park, although it will most likely have a parking garage and maybe a rooftop restaurant and ground floor retail. The City Parks and Recreation Department put forth a design that prompted 64% of the people surveyed to say build a Park. The City is hiring a national consultant to design the park.
New VBCCO Web Neighborhood Issue webpages coming– We are planning on turning up some individual “Neighborhood Issues” webpages to give neighborhoods a central place to put information on projects they support or oppose. Will give the “other side” the same courtesy to send us their views for posting as well. The thought process is to consolidate Pro and Con information on one webpage, so that people can see both sides of a story relating to an issue in any neighborhood. This will NOT be a Facebook or NextDoor type of forum. The Official Spokesperson for the Pros will get a certain number of words and images, the Official Spokesperson for the Cons will get a certain number of words and images. The VBCCO will set up a unique email address for each issue for people, other than the Official Spokespersons, to send the VBCCO comments to be added to that Neighborhood Issue web page. There are several issues out there now that we feel this would work well for: Battery Storage facility in Seatack, Wycliffe Church Conditional Use Permit, Brooke Baptist Church Conditional Use Permit, the closed West Neck Golf Course wanting to build homes, the Amazon Road behind Mayberry neighborhood just to name a few. The VBCCO is not fighting these individual battles, but we want to help our neighborhoods educate others on their thoughts and feelings about why these issues are good or bad for their neighborhoods.
Old Dominion University ICAR – https://oduadaptationandresilience.org/about-us/ We had Professor Nicole Hutton as a Guest Speaker last night who gave us a presentation on Neighborhood Flood Resilience and Sea Level Rise. We got a brief education on Sea Level Rise and on steps you can take around your home to trap rain and storm water. We will be posting her PowerPoint Slide deck shortly. Karen Forget from Lynnhaven River Now (https://www.lynnhavenrivernow.org/) was also in attendance and they have programs as well for flood resilience. Some of the programs may be paid for using grants (which do not have to be paid back). One of the programs can pay for the replacement of your driveway with a permeable surface. Dr. Hutton said that we are welcome to email or call her to discuss Flood Resilience.
Affordable/Workforce Housing – The short story is that the gap between home prices and incomes has widened in recent years. Less people can afford single family housing. Affordable housing is defined as when you spend no more than 30% of your gross income on housing. The only current way to solve the problem is to build apartments (single family homes are too expensive for our City workers such as Police, Firefighters and School Teachers) and create some sort of subsidy to help defray the rent. There are national programs such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) created during the Reagan Administration, and there are programs that allow a developer to increase the number of apartments in the same footprint and use the extra income form the extra apartments to create their own workforce housing program. This is not an issue that is going away anytime soon, so we are going to have to deal with it in the best way possible.
Some quick math to help you understand the problem:
- Annual Salary: $60,000 / 12 months = $5,000/month
- $5,000/mo x 30% = $1,500 available for housing using the 30% rule
- $100,000 mortgage @ 6% = $600/mo payment (principal and interest)
- So, Policeman Dave can afford a $250,000 home on his current salary
- Virginia Beach does not have many/any $250,000 homes.
So, Policeman Dave needs a working spouse (without any childcare expenses) or some roommates to be able to buy a home in Virginia Beach. Cut the salary in half to $30,000 a year and the worker can only afford a $125,000 home.