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South Norfolk Town Meeting-December 4, 2018
On December 4, 2018, Chesapeake City Council hosted a drop-in style town meeting for the citizens of South Norfolk. This format provides citizens the opportunity to interact one-on-one with City Council and staff members in order to provide more immediate customer service and provide resolution to issues more quickly.
Since this was the second time using this format, we were able to implement suggested changes from the first meeting and we held the Town Meeting in a much larger room to allow for more one-on-one conversations. We had over 100 attendees and citizens were able to move freely through and visit each area or have a single concern attended to more rapidly. There was also a considerable amount of interaction between citizens.
Below is a summary of the major topics that citizens brought to our attention at the meeting.
Development and Permits
Staff members answered ten general questions on zoning related issues including land use, storage on properties, vehicles on properties. They also answered questions about specific addresses and were able to investigate matters following the meeting.
Staff also received three questions about active construction sites and new businesses and subdivisions in the area. There are six site plans in the area for businesses and one subdivision.
A citizen also asked if the storage of tractor trailers and shipping containers are allowed on M-1 zoned property and the answer is yes, however, the containers cannot be stacked without a use permit.
There were several visitors to the Fire Department table. Six citizens visited to express their appreciation for the Department and the members’ service to citizens.
Members of the Department also answered safety questions about smoke alarms and general safety regarding installation and changing batteries.
A Council member brought a citizen to the Fire Marshal and they had an in depth conversation about the evacuation of neighborhoods near the Southside Connector pipeline that is currently being installed. The Fire Marshal gave the citizen a general overview of evacuation planning and then discussed the planning done for the South Hill neighborhood. He also reviewed this citizen’s specific neighborhood and let him know which station is responsible for those contingency plans. The Fire Marshal and the Council member also offered to visit the area civic league to address any addition concerns. The citizen appeared happy with the response and appreciated the time spent with him.
Staff members of the library spoke to 51 citizens and many were happy to see the library participating and asked questions about library programs and giveaways. There were also questions about reading as a family, children’s reading habits, and the impact of library programming like the First Time Home Buyers Workshop.
There were eight questions about the restoration of the library following the car driving into the building and the status of the project.
Citizens also asked about homelessness, and the possibility of interdepartmental collaboration to have guest speakers to talk about chronic homelessness.
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
Parks, Recreation and Tourism distributed 27 program magazines and 23 visitor guides, along with 16 Elizabeth River Park brochures. There were approximately 25 general questions with follow-up information about future programs and activities in South Norfolk area parks; however, most citizens requested a brief overview of planned recreational activities in the area. A significant number expressed their satisfaction with many of the upgraded recreational amenities (playgrounds, paving, ball field lights, etc.) installed around the area, with a number specifically mentioning how much they love the renovated Elizabeth River Park including the Sunday afternoon music series, the Thursday evening food truck activities, and the fishing activities at that park.
For all other concerns, staff members followed up to address the concerns by clearing debris from Lakeside Park and hosting following up meetings.
At a recent City Council Work Session, members of City Council agreed to continue this format for the February 5, 2019 meeting, which will be held in the cafeteria of Western Branch High School, located at 1968 Bruin Place, Chesapeake, VA 23321.