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Great Bridge Town Meeting held December 5, 2017
Handicap Parking Enforcement
A citizen wanted to know if it was possible to use volunteers to conduct handicap parking enforcement. The citizen was advised that the idea of utilizing volunteers is currently being considered by the department.
Additionally, the citizen was advised that the police department has not received any other concerns in reference to the enforcement of the handicap parking code.
Public Safety Staffing-Police
A citizen requested information about the per-capita number of police officers versus the number of vacancies in the police department. The department is actively recruiting in an effort to fill vacancies.
Public Safety Staffing-Fire
The citizen expressed her concerns about the rapid growth of Chesapeake and her concern that we did not have adequate staffing, facilities, equipment, etc. to accommodate such rapid growth. She cited an article in the Virginia Pilot that stated 911 calls were being placed on hold because there were not enough dispatchers. The Fire Department provided the following information:
The Fire Department is currently replacing three of the older fire stations in the City. They are Station #7 (St.Brides/Hickory), Station #8 (Deep Creek), and Station #10 (Bowers Hill.) In addition, several more stations will be replaced in the future Capital Improvement Projects. Looking at the anticipated growth pattern of the City, plans are in place to add a 16th fire station, in the Grassfield/Dominion Corridor area.
In terms of apparatus and equipment, the Fire Department is now on a regular vehicle replacement schedule, with our oldest engines, ladder trucks and medic units being replaced annually as the budget allows. There has been much progress in this area over the past several years. This past year funding was made available to replace the 10-year old self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used by the firefighters with a new generation, state-of-the art model. Training on the new units is almost complete and they were placed into service on January 3, 2018.
Finally, our firefighters are currently equipped with the safest firefighting turnout gear on the market, and we just finalized plans to phase-in the purchase of a second set of gear to help protect against the carcinogens that firefighters are exposed to during firefighting activities.
Parks and Recreation-Additional Facilities
Department staff contacted the citizen regarding her concern about recreation centers, pools, and attractions for millennials. As a core service and quality of life provider, Parks, Recreation and Tourism is aggressively working to update facilities and amenities citywide. We provided the citizen with various department resources and publications to show some of the many improvements that have taken place and to also provide information on programs and services that are offered for all ages, including millennials.
A citizen asked about the definition of profanity and the City Attorney's Office noted that while recognizing that a speaker's perspective as to what constitutes "profanity" may differ, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines "profanity" in three ways:
(1) as blasphemous or obscene language;
(2) as a swear word or an oath; and,
(3) as irreligious or irreverent behavior.
This definition is also referenced in the case, Reynolds v. Pionear, LLC, which was heard in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2016.
The City has engaged in a number of sustainability initiatives over the last decade, including implementation of a $2 million federal energy efficiency and conservation grant to address upgrades of municipal buildings, energy performance contracts for major municipal facilities, adoption of a resolution encouraging that newly constructed municipal facilities adhere to LEED standards (without seeking costly formal certification), and introduction of alternative fueled vehicles in the City's vehicle fleet. In fact, more than 30% of the City's vehicle fleet is made up of alternative fueled vehicles, including compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, E85, electric, hybrid gasoline/electric, and hybrid hydraulic/diesel. Alternative fueled vehicles result in not only reduced emissions of greenhouse gases but significant cost savings for tax payers. More information on the City's efforts to convert solid waste vehicles from diesel to CNG can be found in Attachment 1.
The City of Chesapeake is actively engaged in preserving and enhancing its green infrastructure, such as open space, forests, wetlands, and parkland and moving towards a more sustainable future. The City's 2035 Comprehensive Plan, recently adopted in 2014 after extensive citizen input and engagement, recognizes the importance of the City's natural assets and contains several goals, objectives, and action strategies that guide land use decisions, programmatic and operational activities, and spending priorities related to environmental management and planning. Specifically, the Growth Management and Natural Resources sections of Chapter 2 of the Plan outlines a variety of tools, programs, and activities that are currently underway or planned for the future. The Plan can be accessed at the City's website (www.cityofchesapeake.net), under the Planning Department.
Beyond the Comprehensive Plan's policies, the City has several ordinances in place that protect the City's green infrastructure. The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area District Ordinance restricts development within 100-feet of water bodies and tidal wetlands in the Bay watershed by requiring a vegetative buffer that limits surface runoff. The Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance and the Stormwater Management Ordinance work in tandem to limit and treat both the quantity and quality of stormwater discharged from a site during and after construction. The Landscape Ordinance requires new development to preserve existing tree canopy or plant new trees, shrubs, and other plants to ensure adequate canopy over a site.
The City continues to offer single-stream curbside recycling services to over 68,500 households. Beyond bi-monthly pickups, recycling services also include public outreach to educate citizens, citywide "Chesapeake Recycles" drop off events, and a recycling perks program to incentivize participation. Chesapeake residents recycle over 15,000 tons of recyclables annually.
Water/Sewer Service Expansion along the Dominion Corridor and at the Joint Juvenile Justice Center Project
With the JJJC proposal, the Department of Public Utilities identified alternative methods to provide water service to the JJJC:
• 12" to Averill Dr.,
• 36" on Dominion,
• Both Loop to Number Ten Lane.
Public Utilities recommended the 36" water transmission line as the preferred alternative, as this line meets several long-term utilities needs while simultaneously meeting the needs of the JJJC. The explanation of why DPU recommended the 36" water line is below.
The purpose of the 36" water line proposed to run south in the Dominion Boulevard Corridor is to provide a water transmission loop from the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant to the main water service area in the City.
The existing 36" diameter water transmission pipeline that delivers water to the City from the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant was installed in 1979 when the plant was constructed. Although the existing almost seven mile long pipeline has experienced only a few problems, this pipeline is nearing its design life, and now is the time to be planning for a new transmission main.
It is unwise to install two transmission lines side-by-side, as an incident that impacts one could easily compromise the other. Additionally, the two pipes will provide the best and most reliable level of water service to the customers (for both drinking water and fire protection) when they are connected to the City's existing water distribution grid at separate locations. It is an industry best practice to have transmission pipelines connected to the water distribution grid at separate locations for these very reasons.
Thus, the new water transmission line routing is intended to run generally westward from the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant on Battlefield Boulevard South to Highway 17 corridor, and then north, most likely along West Road or Dominion Boulevard, to the existing 24" water line on Dominion Boulevard. The system map below shows a likely route, although a specific route will be determined as more detailed analysis takes place.
The size, 36" in diameter, was validated by a computerized water model as the appropriate size to be able to meet the City's water demands from the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant when the existing Battlefield Boulevard water transmission line is not in service due to maintenance needs.
The need for this water transmission line was identified first in 2014, and the computer modeling validating the size was completed in 2016.
As for the potential methods for paying for this water transmission line, there are several possibilities. If the City were to install the water line prior to any other development occurring, then the other developments that are adjacent to this line would have to pay a proportional share of the cost of the water line based on the amount of flow required to meet the development's needs. This is based on a Utility Pro-Rata program that has been in place since the mid-1980's. If the City installs the line prior to any developments, and does not have a City-initiated development that coincides with the pipeline installation, then the City would potentially receive up to 100% of the cost back from future developments.
These are the reasons for which the Department of Public Utilities is requesting approval to have a 36" water line installed along this route.
Rezoning Applications in Great BridgeIn the past two years there have been (18) rezoning applications filed within the Great Bridge Planning Area. Seven (7) of those applications have been approved, nine (9) are still pending, one (1) application has been denied, and one (1) application was withdrawn. Eleven (11) of the rezoning applications were filed for residential development purposes, while seven (7) applications were filed to allow for business land uses. In the attached documents you will find a map of the Great Bridge Planning Area, the locations of the corresponding applications, and a list showing the project names, acreage of land, and the description of the application.
For rezoning applications filed for the intent of residential development, the proposed number of dwelling units per acre must meet Level of Service (LOS) standards- which will reveal whether or not the development will be adequately served by public facilities and schools. It is the City's policy that LOS will not be the sole determinant of whether or not the rezoning is approved or denied, however, in general- LOS standards and compatibility with the City's 2035 Land Use Plan are among the main determinants of decisions regarding rezoning application.
Great Bridge Village Plan
The Great Bridge Village is steeped in history, serving as the site of the Revolutionary War's Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775. The Historic Resources section of the City's 2035 Comprehensive Plan contains a goal to "Incorporate the City's historic resources and cultural heritage into the creation of a unique identity and image for Chesapeake." The Plan cites the Battle of Great Bridge as a focal point for citywide identity and the importance of preserving its historic character. To this end, City Council adopted a resolution on December 16, 2008 amending the 2026 Comprehensive Plan to incorporate the Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines and to re-designate the Great Bridge Battlefield Plan District as the Great Bridge Village District.
The Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines (aka Great Bridge Village Plan) represents the culmination of previous key planning activities and public improvement projects for this area, including: City of Chesapeake 1990 Comprehensive Plan; Elizabeth River Derelict Structure Inventory (January 1997) and eventual removal of several derelict structures in the waters around Great Bridge Locks Park; Great Bridge Village Master Plan (March 2003); 2004 replacement of Great Bridge Bridge; Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation's Architectural Review Study for Great Bridge Village (September 2007); and the December 2009 dedication of Billy Flora Way and traffic signal at Tilden Avenue and Battlefield Boulevard.
The 2035 Comprehensive Plan, adopted by City Council in February 2014, fully incorporates the Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines, which provide architectural, land use and other design element guidelines for the Great Bridge Village. To facilitate implementation of the Guidelines, the overall Great Bridge Village District was organized into several design and use districts, including: Oak Grove Gateway District; Causeway District; Historic Battlefield District; Great Bridge Business District; and South Gateway District. The City's 2035 Land Use Plan supports appropriate land uses in these districts.
As with other small area plans and corridor studies that are adopted by City Council, implementation of the Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines vision is primarily achieved through voluntary cooperation by property owners when they seek to develop or redevelop their properties, particularly when a rezoning or conditional use permit is required. For example, the City had success in encouraging the owners of the McDonald's franchise on South Battlefield Boulevard (across from Great Bridge Middle School) to adopt historic design elements in the re-built restaurant a few years ago, and the owners of Great Bridge Shopping Center agreed to add a few design touches from the Guidelines in their facade improvement project. The Guidelines were also recently used as a key policy reference during staff's review of the proposed Off The Hook seafood restaurant at S. Battlefield Boulevard and Callison Street.
Staff from the Planning and Economic Development Departments have continued to work cooperatively since adoption of the Guidelines to promote implementation of the plan's vision throughout the Great Bridge Village. Prior to the onset of the 2007 recession, dialogue was being held with several property owners in the Causeway District regarding potential redevelopment projects that would complement the vision for the area. Discussions have continued intermittently since that time and a few conceptual development proposals have been reviewed. It is hoped that with continued improvement in the economy, key catalyst projects can come to fruition. The City also continues to facilitate efforts by the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation to construct the visitor's center, which should also serve as a catalyst.
Traffic Impact of Dollar Tree Project
A citizen request information regarding the added traffic to an already congested intersection of Volvo Parkway and Battlefield Boulevard due to the new Dollar Tree expansion project.
A transportation study was completed to support the new development proposed with the Dollar Tree site for the purpose of assessing the potential traffic impacts and the identification for roadway improvements. The study evaluated the roadways and intersections in the vicinity of the site to include Volvo Parkway, Crossways Boulevard, Executive Boulevard, and Eden Way. The Dollar Tree project is planned to be constructed in several phases over the next 5-20 years. With each phase of development improvements are planned to sustain acceptable traffic operations based on the progression of the development and associated new traffic. Initial improvements include the construction of new travel lanes and/or turn lanes along Volvo Parkway, Crossways Boulevard, and Executive Boulevard at the driveways that serve the development, construction of new pedestrian facilities, and the installation of a new traffic signal at the main entrance to the Dollar Tree site on Volvo Parkway.
A concurrent traffic study has also been completed that evaluated the operational conditions for the intersection at Battlefield Boulevard and Volvo Parkway. The focus of this study is for the identification of infrastructure improvements needed to provide acceptable operations for the existing and future conditions at this critical intersection. Project plans are currently being developed to increase the capacity of the intersection and improve safety and traffic flow by adding new lanes along both of the Volvo Parkway approaches to Battlefield Boulevard.
Homelessness in the City of Chesapeake
A citizen asked about how we help the homeless during the winter months. The Chesapeake Area Shelter Team (CAST), provides an Emergency Winter Shelter Program for the Homeless. Partner churches host one week at a time of overnight winter shelter. The program began November 15th and will run until Wednesday morning, April 4, 2018.
It was determined that transportation would be provided and accessed at 1209 20th Street in South Norfolk (parking lot across from 2nd Precinct) for the safety and convenience of the residents of the South Norfolk area.
The Department of Human Services/Division of Community Programs, has convened a city-wide team to address issues of homelessness in the City. The Team is focused on four areas: Data Collection, Identifying Housing Resources, Resource Center/Day Center for Homeless, and Homeless Youth. After collecting the necessary data, options for services to include alternative pickup sites for CAST will also be explored.
Great Bridge Traffic
Concern was expressed with the new housing developments being constructed in the Great Bridge and Hickory area (Elbow Road, Butts Station Road, and Clearfield Avenue) and the need for new and/or widening of roadways. To address the growing congestion along our roadways the city is proposing capital spending of $460 million for transportation infrastructure improvement projects citywide over the next five years (FY 2019-2023). The major roadway widening and/or intersection improvement projects in the Great Bridge/Hickory area that are currently underway or recommended for in the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) include:
- Greenbrier Parkway and Butts Station Road/Kempsville Road (new tum and/or through lanes along Butts Station Road and Greenbrier Parkway)
- Centerville Turnpike and Butts Station Road (new signal)
- Battlefield Boulevard and Volvo Parkway (new tum lanes and Volvo Parkway)
- Battlefield Boulevard and Albemarle Road (new signals and tum lanes)
- Battlefield Boulevard and Great Bridge Blvd./Kempsville Road (new through lane on Great Bridge Blvd.)
- Hanbury Road and Johnstown Road (new turn lanes)