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Hickory Town Meeting held June 3, 2014
Following are responses to issues, grouped under headings, raised at the Hickory Town Meeting.
Temporary Signs, Hillcrest
On June 9, 2014, a code compliance inspector investigated the area where concern was raised about temporary campaign and Jubilee signs. As a result of the investigation, it was determined the signs were still being displayed at this location and were removed by the inspector. Temporary signs are regulated by the Chesapeake Zoning Ordinance, Sections 14-704 and 14-705, which specifies length of time, location of placement, and permit requirements.
Sandwich Board Signage
Most jurisdictions place restrictions on temporary or freestanding signs, for a variety of reasons. First of all, relatively small signs placed low to the ground are often difficult to read for passing motorists on busy roads or where speed limits are higher. Because they can be difficult to read or just due to a number of temporary signs being placed along the roadway, they can be distracting to motorists; even dangerous. Temporary signs tend to be less rigorously designed and maintained. This can lead to their becoming unsightly, especially if temporary signs are permitted to be reinstalled or reused regularly. Staff research disclosed that all the jurisdictions in Hampton Roads appear to have ordinances very similar to Chesapeake's regarding temporary and freestanding signs. Virginia Beach does permit sandwich board signs in some limited instances, but only in specified zoning districts and not throughout the City. The business owner attending the town meeting has been provided with a number of alternatives that can be pursued, including requesting City Council to consider an amendment to the City's sign ordinance.
Speeding on Indian Creek Road
Traffic Engineering staff completed an evaluation of the posted speed limit on Indian Creek Road. This comprehensive study measured vehicle speed profiles at several locations along the road, checked the advisory speed limits at each of the curve sections, and analyzed accident reports to identify locations with a high occurrence of crashes and/or where speed related crashes have occurred. Based on this analysis, Public Works will be reducing the posted speed limit to 35 mph along the one mile section of Indian Creek Road between blocks 1000-1200. This section of Indian Creek Road has experienced a number of “run-off-the-road” accidents. In addition, the roadway alignment along this segment has several S-curves and numerous residential driveways that access the road. The speed profiles and accident data for the other sections of Indian Creek Road indicate that the existing 45 mph speed limit is appropriate. Other accident reduction and safety measures were also evaluated as part of this study. Several new curve warning signs and intersection ahead warning signs will also be installed by Public Works along sections of Indian Creek Road to alert motorists to the changing conditions along the roadway.
Speeding on Centerville Turnpike
Activities have been coordinated with the Traffic Enforcement Unit in an effort to resolve the issue. Several summonses have been issued, and officers will continue to monitor the area for violations.
Speeding on Head of River Road
Activities have been coordinated with the Traffic Enforcement Unit in an effort to resolve the issue. Several summonses have been issued, and officers will continue to monitor the area for violations.
Traffic at Intersection of Saint Brides Road and Country Mill Run
Traffic Engineering staff has completed a traffic study that evaluated the need for a new traffic signal at the intersection of Battlefield Blvd. S. and Saint Brides Rd. This study indicated that the traffic conditions do not meet the minimum vehicular volume or delay requirements to justify a traffic signal in accordance with federal signal warrants. The accident history at this intersection also does not meet federal warrants for a new signal installation.
Traffic Signal Timing at Centerville Turnpike/Battlefield Boulevard/Benefit Road
These traffic signals were warranted due to the high volume of traffic along Battlefield Boulevard during the summer months and the long delay to traffic entering from Centerville Turnpike or Benefit Road. The signal timings are designed to provide the least amount of delay along the Battlefield corridor and are optimized for the expected traffic demand for a particular time of day. During peak travel times the timing plans have longer cycle times (time required to serve all the movements) that provide longer green times to Battlefield Boulevard due to the high traffic flow. During off-peak travel times, shorter cycle lengths are used so that the delay to Centerville Turnpike and Benefit Road is reduced, while still allowing adequate green time to maintain traffic progression along Battlefield Boulevard. At nighttime and early morning periods when traffic volume is significantly lower (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.), the signals are programmed to operate in a “free-mode”. Free-mode operation maintains a continuous steady green indication on Battlefield Boulevard and will only change to Centerville Turnpike or Benefit Road after detection of a vehicle. Specific timing plans have also been developed for the summer months – longer cycle lengths will run during the daytime on Friday’s and during the weekend days between May and September to adjust for the increased traffic demand along Battlefield Boulevard.
Since these signals have been in operation, Traffic Engineering staff has made several field adjustments to the timings based-on observation of traffic and citizen’s comments. Traffic flow along this corridor will often exceed the capacity for these signals and back-ups will occur; however, the current signal timings are appropriate for the existing conditions and provide the least amount of vehicle delay to the overall operation of the signals. Traffic Engineering staff will continue to monitor traffic volumes in this area, and adjust signal timings accordingly.
Dewald Road – Mowing and Resurfacing
Public Works reports that the back slope of Dewald Road is mowed on a twice-a-year cycle and the shoulders on a 21-28 day cycle. Dewald Road is not on this year's resurfacing list; however, the condition of the road will be re-evaluated next spring to determine if it meets the criteria for resurfacing. In the meantime, Public Works will continue to monitor the road and perform road repairs as needed.
Taft Road – Resurfacing
Taft Road is scheduled to be resurfaced as part of the FY 14/15 repaving program. This work is tentatively scheduled to be completed in September 2014. As to the use of a road bond referendum to provide funding for this type of work, there are no plans for a referendum at this time; however, the City has received funding through the State's revenue sharing program for paving of residential roads. Under this program, the City will provide $1 million of local funds and the State will provide matching funds in the amount of $1 million. This effort is part of a larger pilot program to address the backlog of resurfacing needs.
Centerville Turnpike Resurfacing/between Etheridge Manor Blvd. and Fentress Fire Station
The City’s pavement management software uses a ranking system to prioritize all the streets in the City for the resurfacing schedule. Currently the section of Centerville Turnpike between Etheridge Manor Boulevard and the Fentress Fire Station has low rankings in the 50’s and 60’s, with 100 being in the best condition. This section will be included in next year’s (2015/2016) resurfacing schedule. In the meantime, our Streets Division will continue to monitor the condition of this street to determine if there are any safety hazards which warrant immediate repair (pot holes).
Benefit Road at Sign Pine Road
With regard to road improvement of Benefit Road at Sign Pine Road, Public Works' Stormwater division will need to install an adequately sized culvert pipe on Benefit Road at Sign Pine Road to allow the creation of gravel shoulders to improve the turning radii and receiving lanes to prevent run off the road incidents. Public Works will also look at street lighting upgrades. Initial cost estimate for construction is $95,000 and total project costs (including right-of-way and utility work) is $165,000.
Flashing Light at Benefit Road, Battlefield Boulevard, Centerville Road Hawk Drive and Gallbush Road
Traffic Engineering does not currently operate any signalized intersection in a "flash" mode during late night hours. Traffic safety studies have shown that operating signals in the flash mode increases the risk of crashes. Case studies that examined before and after accident data for intersections that operated in flash mode and were later changed to the normal steady (stop-and-go) mode showed a significant decrease in total crashes, and more importantly, a reduction in crashes with injuries. The signals along S. Battlefield Boulevard at the intersection of Hawk Drive, Centerville Turnpike, Benefit Road and Gallbush Road are all equipped with vehicle detection systems. During late night hours, these signals are programmed to maintain a continuous steady green indication on the Battlefield Boulevard approaches and will only switch to the side street after detection of a vehicle. This signal configuration provides safe and positive right-of-way control and minimizes undue delay during periods when traffic volume is low.
Ditch – Benefit Road
The construction plan for the improvement of the intersection was approved on October 1, 2014. The project consists of relocation of the roadside ditches at the intersection of Sign Pine Road and Benefit Road, as well as creation of a 12-foot shoulder. The resulting intersection will be much better equipped to handle left-turning traffic from Benefit Road onto Sign Pine Road. These improvements will be completed at the expense of the developer of the adjacent property. The developer has secured all of the required permits and the right-of-way work should be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting.
Ditch – John Etheridge Road
The Public Works Operations Manager reports that the maintenance work is scheduled to start during the week of June 30, 2014, weather permitting. The maintenance will include re-grading the ditch and flushing the ditch pipes.
Ditch – Delia Drive
Public Works Operations Manager reports that the back slope of the lead ditch at Delia Drive is scheduled to be mowed during July 2014.
Ditch – Mount Pleasant/blocking view of tracks
Public Works Traffic Engineering staff coordinated with the Operations Division and cleared the overgrowth of vegetation in this area during the week of July 14, 2014.
Ditch – Mount Pleasant/Coopers Ditch
Stormwater staff investigated the area and determined that the area in question is actually between Etheridge Manor Boulevard and Forest Road (Woodard's Mill outfall). This area will be divided into three segments for ditch maintenance. A City crew will begin the ditch cleaning the week of September 8, 2014, in the area of 445 Woodards Ford Road, and the second section will begin in late December or early January 2015, all weather permitting. The remaining portion of the ditch will be serviced approximately early spring 2015.
Greenbrier Farms – Special Events
Greenbrier Farms LTD is seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit to allow more than four special events to be held on the its site over a one year period; and, approval of an alternative parking surface for the parking lot. The City's Zoning Ordinance currently allows up to 4 events in a calendar year. If approved, the applicant would be allowed to hold running events, weddings, special fundraisers, etc. Each event must first obtain a Special Events permit from the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. During the review of the Special Events Application, the Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Fire, Police and Zoning Departments all review the application to ensure adequate facilities are in place to safely handle the anticipated crowds and to plan for the event. A Fire Code Operational Permit is required as part of this process for any event that will have more than five hundred persons and is open to the public, or charges admission, or is outside the general scope of a presently issued Fire Code Operational Permit.
In accordance with Section 26-124 of the Chesapeake City Code, any amplified sound is prohibited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The conditional use permit request was continued to the July 9, 2014 Planning Commission meeting. The earliest that this issue will be heard by City Council is August 17, 2014. Staff has recommended approval with the following stipulations: Each event shall be reviewed and approved through the Special Events permitting process through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; and the stage for musical events and/or events that require a loudspeaker of any kind, shall be located as far from adjacent residential properties as possible and oriented in a manner to reduce impacting those properties.
Police will continue to monitor traffic and noise, as well as respond to calls for service.
Development Plans for the Edinburgh/Hillcrest Area
At this time the Planning Department does not have any applications that have been submitted for the development of Hillcrest, however, in Edinburgh they do have two establishments with plans to development parcels in the area zoned for commercial use. One is Zaxby's restaurant and the other is a dinner theater. Both of these uses are permitted in this area by-right and will not require a public hearing, so there will not be any notification by mail, newspaper or on the website for these types of developments.
Planning does, however, send out adjacent property owner letters, place advertisements in the local newspapers and post notifications on the City's website for development that requires a rezoning or a conditional use permit. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan can be found at www.cityofchesapeake.net/planning. There you will find the comprehensive plan and the accompanying land use map. This represents the City's more recent land use plans for the near future.
The Chesapeake Expressway was originally financed with $21,630,000 in Toll Road Revenue Bonds along with state and federal funding. In November 2012, the principal balance to be repaid on the originally issued Toll Revenue Bonds was $18,960,000; however, due to the new financing package for the Chesapeake Transportation System, which includes both the Chesapeake Expressway and the Dominion Boulevard project, the original debt was repaid. At this time, the Chesapeake Expressway has an outstanding principal balance in the new financing package for the Chesapeake Transportation System of $15,465,000. The amortization schedule associated with the new financing will result in completion of debt repayment in July 2023. It should be noted that toll revenues not only must cover repayment of debt (principal and interest), but also cover all annual operating and maintenance costs, annual renewal and replacement costs required by the legal agreements governing operation of the Expressway (for example, repaving, toll system operations and upgrades, Expressway drainage systems, bridge maintenance and rehabilitation, etc.), and required reserve deposits for all fund accounts. Chesapeake Expressway Revenue Allocation for FY 2013 was as follows:
|Bond Debt Service||$477,534|
|Renewal and Replacement||$3,000,000|
|Other Debt Payments||$1,060,051|
Ridership (vehicles) on the Expressway is as follows from FY01-02 through FY12-13:
Location of the Toll Plaza
The decision to locate the toll plaza at its current location was based on many factors that included citizen input at public hearings during the project development and financial and revenue forecast studies that were conducted to support the project. The intention of the project was to relieve congestion along Battlefield Boulevard by providing a by-pass route for tourist traffic traveling through our City. An alternate, non-tolled route for local traffic was also preferred by the majority of input that we received at the public meetings and supported by the financial studies.
Construction of an Entrance to the Chesapeake Expressway from Indian Creek Road
Currently there are no plans to modify the Chesapeake Expressway with ramps that would provide direct access to Indian Creek Road. Traffic from Indian Creek Road can access the Chesapeake Expressway by using the S. Battlefield Boulevard ramps located just a short distance from the intersection of Indian Creek Road and S. Battlefield Boulevard.
Increased Traffic on Battlefield Boulevard
Prior to 2012, traffic counts on South Battlefield Boulevard were taken intermittently by the Traffic Engineering. In 2012, the Expressway began capturing Battlefield Boulevard traffic data at the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant using a portable radar recording unit. In July 2013, a permanent count station using microwave radar technology was installed on Battlefield Boulevard at Toll Plaza Road to record continuous traffic data. The average weekday daily volume on Battlefield Boulevard for FY 12-13 was 15,354 vehicles per day (Monday through Friday) and the average weekend daily volume was 13,340 vehicles per day (Saturday and Sunday). By comparison, and using data obtained from the permanent count station, the average weekday daily volume for FY13-14 (through May 2014) was 15,868 vehicles per day (Monday through Friday) and the average weekend daily volume was 13,947 vehicles per day (Saturday and Sunday). The average weekday traffic increased 3.3% in FY13-14 and the average weekend traffic increased 4.6%. Immediately prior to the toll increase, the Traffic Engineering Division collected data using pneumatic tube counters between St. Brides Road and Gallbush Road during the April/May time frame (data collected for all days of the week) with an average daily volume of 14,378 vehicles per day (Monday - Sunday during the period).
Traffic Congestion on Hickory Road
Public Works will evaluate the scope, cost and feasibility of extending the right turn lane along Battlefield Boulevard at Hawk Drive. Construction would be contingent on funding availability. Initial estimate for construction cost is $85,000 and total project costs (including right-of-way and utility work) is $150,000. An existing access road to Hickory High School is provided on Hickory Road and school traffic coming from the east on Hickory Road can also use this access road to enter school grounds.
Practice Shooting on Small Lots
The Police Department will work with City Council and the City Attorney to assist in addressing and revisiting the ordinance regarding shooting in densely populated areas.
Incorrect City Phone Numbers in Verizon Phone Book
Each year, the City provides Verizon and Cox with updated departmental phone numbers that have been verified for accuracy by staff. Additionally, the Customer Contact Center phone number (382-2489) has been represented in the listings supplied to the vendors. The City has informed the vendors on several occasions regarding inaccuracies in published materials; however, it is the responsibility of the vendors producing the directories to ensure the information provided to them is represented accurately.
Lack of Cable/Internet Service in Edinburgh
Due to the cable franchise density requirement of at least 25 homes within a mile, cable providers are not required to provide service to the extended areas that do not meet the requirement. The density requirement also limits the City's response or authority in this matter.
Tax Increment Financing Districts
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts are:
- A tool allowed by state law and established through a city ordinance
- Established and defined by a distinct boundary
- A tool that creates a baseline of taxes at inception, and over time incremental revenues above the baseline go to the TIF fund to fund specified projects within the district
- Used to fund only public infrastructure costs, and cannot be used for operational purposes
- A tool to attract private sector capital investment
TIF Fundamentals in Chesapeake
Grow the Tax Base...public infrastructure projects must support a plan that will lead to new investment, which in turn creates the incremental increase in tax revenues to pay for those improvements.
Legal Standing...the TIF and associated expenditures must be adopted and approved by City Council in accordance with Virginia State Code.
Financially Feasible...there must be sufficient incremental real estate tax revenues generated from within the TIF District to cover project costs and debt service.
Doesn't Replace Capital or Operating Budget...municipal expenditures that are planned and will occur absent a TIF District, should continue.
The Greenbrier TIF Ordinance adopted By City Council in June of 2004 was designed to:
- improve capacity and flow of traffic
- improve the overall character of the Greenbrier Area, with pedestrian walkways, attractive gateways, uniform signage, landscaping, lighting
- improve Public Transit access to and from the Greenbrier Area
- expand public and private facilities at the Chesapeake Conference Center; including parking facilities and hotel facilities
- provide improvements to public areas including the City Park
The South Norfolk TIF Ordinance adopted by City Council in March 2005 was designed to:
- improve public infrastructure like road, schools, libraries, utilities
- improve the overall character of the South Norfolk Revitalization Area, with streetscapes, pedestrian walkways, attractive gateways, uniform signage, landscaping, lighting, water/sewer utilities
- improve Public Transit access to and from the revitalization area
- provide improvements to public areas including the parks, open areas and the Elizabeth River waterfront
- provide improvements to encourage economic development for the purpose of generating revenue and increasing employment in the revitalization area
Both TIFs were/are intended to improve the area to stimulate private investment, encourage commercial development, facilitate employment, enhance public services, and increase public revenues.
Lack of Single Story Homes for Seniors
The City cannot require architectural controls as to whether or not a house of single level or multi-level is built, beyond height restrictions. It is the individual developer who proposes a particular style of home. Developers base the type of homes they build on market considerations. The City's 2035 Comprehensive Plan does contain language to provide housing for an aging population by encouraging universal design. This would be used if a rezoning applicant chose to voluntarily comply under proffers. See Pages 86-89 from the online plan: http://resources.cityofchesapeake.net/comp-plan-2035.
When a rezoning is required, for example from single family to multi-family, a public hearing process is required. The application is first reviewed by the Application Review Committee, which includes Planning, Zoning, the Engineering section of Development and Permits for both traffic and storm water, Utilities, Police and Fire Departments. The process also includes a Level of Service Analysis by staff to ensure that the roads and schools would not be over- burdened by the construction. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend and provide comments during the Planning Commission and City Council meetings for rezoning applications.