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Greenbrier Town Meeting-June 5, 2018
On June 5, 2018, Chesapeake City Council hosted a drop-in style town meeting. This format was a departure from the previous format, and provided the opportunity for more one-on-one dialogue with the public, City Council members, and assembled staff. After receiving input from the public, elected officials and staff, we recommend several ways to make the new format an even better opportunity to communicate with the public. Staff will look for larger spaces to hold these meetings, which will provide more room to conduct conversations with the public. Many of the comments received centered on this obvious improvement. Even though the format is not intended to provide the public a briefing, we could set up an area where citizens could sit and discuss items of interest with either staff or Council members. One suggestion was to have either presentations or a small group discussion on a topic of interest; an update on the Dollar Tree development was given as an example. We will investigate adding this to the format as well as other improvements before the December Town Hall meeting.
Recreation, and Tourism
Below is a summary of the major topics that citizens brought to our attention at the meeting.
Citizens were given information about how to apply for boards and commissions and the process of speaking to City Council at a meeting.
Citizens had questions about the planned development in the area and the impact on traffic, schools, and drainage, which were answered by reviewing the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the 2050 Transportation Plan.
Citizens also had concerns about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the impact on their neighborhoods.
Staff members also responded to general property maintenance enforcement issues such as grass, weeds, and accumulation of debris. Citizens were urged to use our Customer Service Request system online and our new mobile application, which allows citizens to easily relay the location of the concern and check for updates on the status of issues.
As a follow-up to a citizen request, the maximum length of grass for personal property is 10 inches. The property owners are given 10 days from the date of the notice to remedy the property.
Citizens also expressed their appreciation and support of EBUILD with recent advancements in the permitting processes and their ability to track items through the submittal process.
Citizens had several questions about the Greenbrier Fire Station #14, the fire station design and lawn maintenance, and having the fire department assist with community events. There was also an inquiry about how our EMS system operates.
While questions were answered during the Town Meeting, additional follow up was completed, station tours were given to citizens, and staff members best suited to answer questions arranged to meet with the citizens.
Staff members received several questions about using the online catalog and the search functions in the program as well as the availability and circulation of library materials. Citizens were very pleased with the programming, collections, offerings, and events at the library.
Recreation, and Tourism
Citizens were interested in the future of Oak Grove Lake Park and gave several suggestions for future park development that included use of water for fishing and kayaking, expanded parking lots, concern for debris flying from Expressway into park on trails, and permanent restrooms. Citizens were very appreciative of recent improvements to the park including the new exercise equipment, the new entranceway, and improved accessibility with concrete walkways, condition of trails.
Citizens expressed their interest in having a city pool and for places for people to learn to swim, a full service community center in Greenbrier, connecting trails from Chesapeake Regional Medical Center to City Park, and a need for child care and after school hours at the community centers.
Staff members also responded to a rumor that the City Park dog park is going to close; the dog park will not close; however, in the master plan the current dog park area becomes tennis courts.
There was considerable interest in the future plans for development in the areas immediately adjacent to the citizens' homes. Citizens were provided with explanations of the relevant Land Use Plan and Master Transportation Plan designations. Questions regarding how plans are developed were also answered.
Inquiries were received regarding future public transportation availability, and specifically the planned location for future light rail. Citizen comments seemed generally supportive of public transportation improvements and expressed a desire for more options.
Questions were raised about the lack of sidewalks and pedestrian connections. There were some particular comments about the lack of connections in the Greenbrier commercial areas. It was explained how sidewalks are required for new development, but it is a challenge to retrofit them into existing development areas due to both funding limitations as well as opposition from adjacent property owners.
Several inquiries regarding the Summit Pointe Master Development Plan were received. Specifically, people were interested in what is being built, what it will look like, what type of businesses will be there, and if there be sidewalks.
Citizens expressed a strong desire to have a person on site in the 5th Precinct Office 5 days a week. The general comments were that this is a busy residential and business corridor and people see the police cars. Currently, we are open 30 hours per week and we are examining the workload and demand to determine if an expansion of services is warranted.
A few citizens mentioned their concern about speeding motorists on Georgetown Blvd. They requested increased speed enforcement, the speed trailer, use of four way "STOP" signs to slow the traffic, and any other traffic calming devices possible. The Police Department consistently receives complaints of speeders on Georgetown Blvd. We will increase our enforcement efforts based upon the data we receive from our covert traffic data collection devices.
Citizens were concerned that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is disturbing wildlife in the area and if Chesapeake Animal Services (CAS) responds to wildlife calls. CAS responds to snake calls when they are inside of a living space, which excludes detached garages and sheds. They will respond for snakes on school property if called as well. CAS also responds for any wildlife inside of a living space or home, but not in an attic or under the house. In general we respond for injured, sick, aggressive and orphaned wildlife. Handling wildlife calls is resource intensive and nuisance wildlife is what we try not to reply to like: possums under a shed, raccoons in an attic and just seeing animals in the back yard. CAS is mandated to handle domestic animals, and responding to wildlife calls can strain their response times. Our Animal Control Officers don't mind the wildlife calls and are grateful that we no longer pick up nuisance wildlife from traps. If citizens inquire about wildlife issues, they are directed to Wildlife Response at 757-543-7000.
Members of staff received several questions about residential street paving and the schedule for paving and staff explained the prioritization of paving, the limited funding available, and segments paved each year. A new annual paving map and list will be posted on the website in July.
Citizens also inquired about additional turn lanes and traffic control signals in the Greenbrier area and traffic engineering will evaluate the suggestions and identify any funding needs for these projects. The project to extend the sidewalk over the railroad tracks on Volvo Parkway is funded and is currently under design.