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South Norfolk Town Meeting held September 2, 2014
Following are responses to issues, grouped under headings, raised at the South Norfolk Town Meeting.
Cars Parked in Yards
Concern regarding parking vehicles in yards was expressed and inquiry made as to whether the City would consider adopting a program regarding this matter. This request has been received periodically from various residents. In some areas of the City where on street parking is limited, parking in front yards occurs more frequently. The City previously prepared an ordinance that would prohibit parking in the front yards, with the exception of improved driveways. This ordinance did encounter some citizen opposition. The ordinance was considered by City Council in September 2005; however, it was not adopted.
Additional Bulk Trash Services
The City's Waste Management Administrator reports that Waste Management is constantly evaluating its efforts to meet the increasing demands concerning bulk trash pickup service. They are aware and understand the concerns in the South Norfolk area. Public Works is taking several actions to address these concerns:
- Continuing to conduct surveys on and off collection days to identify specific areas of response.
- Coordinating closely with the Sheriff's Office on the special delayed collection requirements due to the eviction process.
- Patrolling, responding to complaints and collecting any significant excessive bulk trash on Mondays (normal non-regular pick up day) in advance of the Thursday collection day as special service in South Norfolk.
- Fining repeat offenders of the bulk set out requirements in accordance with City code.
Potential relocation of the Second Precinct to the old South Norfolk Library Building
The Economic Development Department in conjunction with the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and City Council are reviewing redevelopment opportunities along the Poindexter Corridor, including the relocation of various City services.
South Norfolk Code Enforcement
The City currently has 8 full-time inspectors, 1 part-time inspector (vacant) and 2 supervisors that provide code enforcement for the entire City. Out of the 9 inspectors, 4 full-time inspectors, and 1 part-time inspector (vacant) have zones that cover parts of the South Norfolk Borough. This equates to approximately 3 full time inspectors providing code enforcement to the South Norfolk Borough.
The City previously received a request that the South Norfolk Historic District be assigned one inspector dedicated to that area. The Department, with the assistance of the Information Technology Department analyzed data to determine the appropriate size of code compliance work zones. This analysis indicated that the zone that includes the South Norfolk Historic District has the smallest number of properties, structures, and citizen inquiries.
Based on the above analysis the Department has not designated a separate zone for the South Norfolk Historic District. However, the Department acknowledges that there are violations within all zones that are not identified or enforcement pursued. With the exception of vacant buildings enforcement, code compliance and zoning enforcement is largely driven by Citizen Service Requests (CSR). The City has made CSR identified violations a priority. In the event additional resources were available, code compliance zones could be adjusted and more intense enforcement pursued.
The Police Department responds that the Second Precinct has remained relatively steady in its level of patrols throughout the last few years and it is focusing its resources to combat the most serious crime issues in the South Norfolk area. The Department is following its Crime Reduction Plan, which includes: prevention, visibility, enforcement, accountability, and education. From 2009 to the end of 2013, there has been a 21.68% reduction in crime within the Second Precinct area. The Police Department is working diligently to improve the quality of life for residents, and will continue to work closely with the community to further reduce the crime rate.
Need for More Retail
The City's Economic Development Department is working diligently to increase the amount of retail in South Norfolk. The two (2) major points of interest for retailers are traffic counts (vehicles per day) and daytime employment. While these numbers have increased in South Norfolk over the last few years, it is still falling short in both areas. By bringing additional employment opportunities, and infrastructure improvement, we can invoke significant positive impact on these indicators.
South Norfolk TIF
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. Taxpayers in the TIF pay the same tax rate as other City taxpayers; the TIF rate is not higher.
- 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 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
- improve the area to stimulate private investment, encourage commercial development, facilitate employment, enhance public services, and increase public revenues.
Staff, along with the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and City Council are currently reviewing all redevelopment opportunities in South Norfolk, and how the TIF can be best utilized to assist in redevelopment.
South Norfolk TIF Projects
Below is a summary table of projects funded under the South Norfolk TIF Fund that are currently shown as “open” in the City's financial system. As can be seen from this table, a total of seven projects are funded, involving both direct TIF cash and General Obligation Debt proceeds that were financed with TIF funds. These projects, most of which still have encumbered funds, are summarized below, along with the lead City department.
- Poindexter Streetscape – Public Works
- S. Norfolk Strategic Property – Economic Development
- Library Expansion – Economic Development
- Elizabeth River Landing Park – Public Works
- 22nd Street Bridge Replacement – Public Works
- Johnson Park Improvements (bury utility lines) – Economic Development
- Street Light Improvements – Economic Development
City staff is evaluating future projects for the South Norfolk area that could be funded with available, unencumbered balances in the TIF Fund in order to provide maximum strategic benefit to South Norfolk's long-term quality of life and economic vitality. The management of any new projects will be assigned to the appropriate parties.
TIF Funds and Mowing Services
Grass mowing service in the South Norfolk TIF District is not funded with TIF funds but State maintenance funds.
Resurfacing of Rogers St. and Virginia Ave.
The City's pavement management software program uses a ranking system to prioritize all the streets in the City for the resurfacing schedule. This program ranks all the street sections from 0 to 100, with 100 being in the best condition. Currently the lowest ranking section of Rodgers Street is 62 and the lowest ranking section of Virginia Avenue is 76. Majority of the street segments included in the current resurfacing schedule are ranked in the 50's, and even a few in the 40's. The limited funding (typically around $4.0 million per year) used for resurfacing only allows around 40 street segments to be resurfaced each year; therefore, higher ranking streets are usually not included in the schedule.
Currently we are having all the streets in the City retested to update the data in our software program. After these streets are tested and the new data is input, they could possibly be ranked lower based on their current conditions. In the meantime, the Streets Division will monitor the condition of these streets to determine if there are any safety hazards which warrant immediate repair (pot holes). All streets segments are re-evaluated each year for the upcoming schedule.
Virginia Avenue New Construction and Addressing
A builder demolished a home that straddled two lots and replaced it with two new homes, one on each lot. The lots were already legally platted and construction of the new homes met all zoning standards. The original addresses assigned along Virginia Avenue did not accommodate for the platted lots but only for the structures that were built. With the redevelopment of the properties which resulted in an additional structure, re-addressing a portion of the street was the only option to maintain clear, sequential addresses to ensure accurate emergency response. As with all infill building situations such as this, addresses were examined for the entire street and additional addresses were reserved for possible new construction on already platted lots to minimize reassignment in the future.
In 2008, a new playground was installed, and the shelter was replaced at Johnson Park. TIF funds were used to bury utility lines and there are currently no other planned improvements to the park, including no plans for a skate ramp. By FY16, there are plans for a small, modular skateboard/bike obstacle near the South Norfolk Community Center.
Wheelchair Inaccessibility of Bridge at Lakeside Park
The City currently has an accessible sidewalk located on the Holley Avenue side of the park that leads up to the bridge. A new updated asphalt surface area was also put in at the base of the bridge to the sidewalk in 2013, improving accessibility to the bridge. The memorial sidewalk connects to this area as well as extends to another pedestrian entrance of the park on Holly Avenue near the Bainbridge Boulevard intersection. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is currently exploring the additional feasibility of renovating the bridge and enhancing existing asphalt sidewalks leading from the bridge to the Byrd Avenue side of the park, which could assist in improving accessibility.
Handicapped Parking at Various Parks
Parking areas have historically been discouraged at neighborhood parks, as the intent of these parks has been for pedestrian accessibility from the adjoining neighborhood. Most neighborhood parks are relatively small and space for any vehicular parking is normally not available.
Active Business with Boarded Glass
Development and Permits staff investigated the business on September 12, 2014. During the inspection, the inspector did speak with the tenant at the location referenced during the Town Meeting. The tenant revealed to the inspector that his business was broken into, and that is why the exit door had been boarded up. The tenant let the inspector know that he ordered a new glass and it will be in on Tuesday, September 16th. A re-inspection has taken place and the violation has not been addressed and a second notice of violation has been issued. The Department of Development and Permits will continue to follow up on this issue.
HRT Buses at Night
A request was made that HRT buses operate until 7 or 8 p.m. Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) currently operates ten bus routes throughout the Chesapeake area. Five of the ten routes operate during the late night hours with some routes operating as late as 12:45 a.m. Requests for expanded bus service, to include new bus stops and/or late night service can be submitted to the City via our Customer Contact Center. A request can be submitted by phone at 757-382-2489 or by using the City's online service request center.
Inconsistent Recycling Pick Up
Recycling is collected every two weeks in Chesapeake. Routes are divided as week A and week B. The recycling route map can be viewed online, along with other recycling information, on the Recycling Program in Chesapeake page.
Parking on Paper Streets
The concern was some residents on Warfield Street parking at the end of the street in the area that is intended to be a space where vehicles can turn-around. When cars are parked in this area, trash collection trucks and school buses are forced to back-out down the full length of Warfield Street which is a very narrow street. Staff reviewed City records for Warfield Street and found that this area in question is part of the public street and not considered a paper street since it is paved and maintained by the City. An adequate turn-around space is required by the Chesapeake Fire Department for all streets, therefore, Public Works crews will install “No Parking” signs at the end of the Warfield Street that will provide a clear space for vehicles to turn-around.
Delinquent Taxes and Property Maintenance
The use of real estate tax funds is limited to those set forth in the City Code and state law, and no authority exists for the City to divert, refund, or credit delinquent tax funds for the repair of private property; (2) the City incentivizes rehabilitation of properties in the South Norfolk Revitalization District through partial real estate tax exemptions as set out in Sections 30-106 - 30-107 of the Chesapeake City Code; and (3) the City is considering any and all available avenues for improving property values in the South Norfolk Borough.
Accessibility of the City Buildings
Public Works will be submitting a capital project proposal for ADA door retrofits at several facilities and will expand the request to include restroom doors at our Courts buildings and City Hall.
Employment Opportunities for the Disabled
The question posed to Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare concerned employment opportunities the City of Chesapeake could offer individuals who have physical or psychological difficulties which do not meet the definition of “disabled” used by the Social Security Administration or the Department of Rehabilitative Service (DRS). The citizen was not talking about a sheltered or supported employment program, but employment where the City could “place” individuals with a level of disability in a permanent position so that they could be productive workers. CIBH works with individuals who were disabled (in the traditional sense) to link them with employers that can assist in work adjustment or return to work, sometimes linking them with DRS and a potential job coach.
City policies regarding hiring practices prohibit discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability; however, the City has no dedicated funding or programs used to employ individuals with disabilities and require open competition for regular full and part time City positions.
Greenbrier Recreation Center
The current Capital Improvement Plan has been focusing on renovation and repair of existing facilities, and at this time there are no new community facilities for recreational purposes in the plan. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has identified several locations in their 10-year Master Plan that could be considered for future community centers.
Missed Trash Collection – Wilson Road
Public Works will continue to monitor this location to ensure the matter has been corrected.
Vegetation Along Railroad Tracks – Wilson Road
Mowing service is provided in this area every 28 days and it was last provided on September 23, 2014. With regard to grass along the track, the area is owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad and was inspected on September 11, 2014. There was no violation at that time.
Cave-In Portland Avenue
The cave-in repair is scheduled to start during the week of October 24, 2014, weather permitting.
Poor Drainage – Walden Street/Kay Avenue
Public Works is scheduled to flush all storm drain pipes at the corner of Walden Street and Kay Avenue on Friday, October 3, 2014, weather permitting.