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Deep Creek Town Meeting - February 6, 2018
Deep Creek Town Meeting held February 6, 2018
Capital Improvement Plan
A citizen expressed concerns about Chesapeake's Capital Improvement Program (CIP), how it is funded, and how funds are allocated among competing capital needs. Specifically, there were concerns about the amount allocated for Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the need to address temporary classroom trailers at places like Hickory [Middle School].
The city's capital program is financed using a combination of cash and debt. Approximately 54% is financed using cash that was reserved specifically for the CIP. The city will borrow money to finance the remaining cost with future payments coming from dedicated sources. Below is a summary of the source of city cash that is used for the FY 2019-23 CIP:
School lockbox - established to cash fund and pay debt on school projects $ 35.0 million
City lockbox - established to cash fund and pay debt on city projects $ 36.3 million
Greenbrier and South Norfolk Tax Increment Districts $ 2.0 million
Stormwater taxes - for projects that control stormwater and flooding $ 23.5 million
Public utility fees - for projects to improve water and sewer services $ 61.5 million
Developer proffers and fees paid for open space and parks $ 5.4 million
Toll revenues collected (primarily on Chesapeake Expressway) $ 4.7 million
Grant funds, primarily from Virginia Department of Transportation $ 55.9 million
Budgetary savings from city operations during prior year $ 41.8 million
Total cash funding $ 266.1 million
The remainder of the CIP ($223.6 million) will be financed by borrowing money that will in turn be repaid from dedicated taxes and fees collected each year.
There was also a concern that a disproportionate portion of the CIP was allocated to Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT). The CIP includes $42.1 million for parks (8.5% of the total) over the next five years as follow:
Nearly half ($23.6 million) is for park expansions and major improvements. Council will determine how these funds are spent; there is strong demand for expansion of Oak Grove Park, athletic fields at Centerville Park, and enlarged community centers.
$4.3 million is available for park improvements to meet increased recreational demands related to new developments. This project is entirely financed from developer fees paid to the city when amenities are not included in residential developments.
$5.0 million of debt financing for improvements to Northwest River Park. Northwest was developed in the 1970s and there have been few improvements to the original structures and facilities. Most of the buildings and structures need to be replaced; the city plans to spend $1.0 million annually over the next six years.
$1.5 million for renovations to the Chesapeake Conference Center. This facility is over twenty (20) years old and improvements are required to replacing aging mechanical systems and to ensure the facility is appealing to users. Funding is provided from taxes that Council dedicated to economic development and visitor facilities.
$1.0 million for Chesapeake Arboretum
$800,000 for renovation of the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail - this heavily used bicycle trail requires periodic paving; none has been done since the former roadway was converted to a recreational facility. Paving is necessary to prevent the trail from further degradation.
$5.9 million is planned to address deferred maintenance at parks and community centers. These funds are used to refresh community centers, replace athletic field lights, improve parks and athletic fields, and improve accessibility to disabled residents.
Another topic of concern was the temporary classroom trailers at places like Hickory. City Council is committed to addressing overcrowding at Chesapeake Schools and has recently funded several school projects that increase school capacity. These include:
Expansion of Oscar Smith High School - construction of expansion is underway and is expected to be open September 2018.
Expansion of Hickory Middle School - project is currently under design and is expected to open September 2019.
Modernization and expansion of Chittum Elementary School - funding for design has been proposed starting July 2018. Since design has not begun, a definitive opening date is not available.
In addition to the above expansions, in October 2017, the School Board approved changes to existing attendance zones that will reduce number of portables required at several middle schools.
High Rise Bridge Replacement Project
Construction for the High-Rise Bridge will begin in some isolated locations starting in June 2018, and the full corridor construction is anticipated to begin by the end of 2018.
The proposed improvements include the addition of one proposed HOT lane in each direction in the median of the existing interstate, bringing the corridor to six lanes, and a new high-level High Rise Bridge with a fixed span. The new bridge will be built to the south of the existing bridge. The project also includes:
- Replacement and realignment of the Great Bridge Boulevard Bridge
- Six bridge widenings - over Military Highway, Yadkin Road, and Shell Road
The project is funded and managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Deep Creek Bridge Replacement Project and New Traffic Signal Installation
The Deep Creek Bridge Replacement project is currently in the right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation phase. Construction for this project is estimated to begin in September of 2019 and to be completed in September of 2022. This project includes replacement of the existing bridge and tie-ins to the existing roadways and related work. The bridge replacement includes the installation of an additional new signal at the intersection of George Washington Highway and Hilton Avenue.
The Deep Creek Bridge Replacement project has a total project cost of $48.4 million. This cost includes engineering, right-of-way, utility relocations, and construction. This project is funded by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This project will replace the existing 2-lane drawbridge with a 144-foot long, 60-foot wide five-lane drawbridge that will open from one end. Please see Attachment 1 for a sketch that shows the project limits. The project is funded and managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
New Fire Station #8 Deep Creek
There is a funded project to relocate Deep Creek Fire Station #8 to Moses Grandy Trail/Shipyard Road. The project is under design and will be advertised for construction this year. A new Fire Station # 16, Joint Fire & Police Station, is planned for the Grassfield area. Funding for property acquisition is proposed in the City Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in 2022.
Traffic on Millville Road
Our Traffic Engineering staff checked the sight visibility for the intersections at Millville Road and Burson Drive and at Millville Road and Rockwood Drive. In addition, staff observed traffic along Millville Road, Shipyard Road, and Burson Drive during a school morning. The sight visibility at all the intersections and existing 2-way stop control was found to be appropriate for the operating conditions. Traffic from the side-streets was observed to be well below thresholds that would warrant 4-way stop control. Placing 4-way stop signs at intersections were traffic volume is low will generally result in unsafe actions by drivers who view the signs as unnecessary.
All new subdivisions proposed for the area will require Traffic Engineering's review for new or modified traffic control for maintaining safe neighborhood street operations.
Agri-tourism and Solar Farms
Chesapeake's 2035 Comprehensive Plan (the Plan), adopted in 2014, serves as a blueprint for the future growth and development of the City over the course of the next 20 years for physical land uses and other elements such as: transportation facilities; parks, schools, and other public buildings; water and sewer facilities; historical areas; and areas for agriculture, forestry, and conservation. The 2035 Land Use Plan, an element of the Comprehensive Plan, designates most of southern Chesapeake for Agriculture/Open Space, Recreation, or Conservation.
The Comprehensive Plan values agricultural preservation and supports the continued use of rural lands for agricultural purposes. Goal 2 of Chapter 4 of the Plan promotes the unique character of each of the City's three overlay districts - Urban, Suburban, and Rural. Specifically, Objective 7 states - "Preserve Chesapeake's rural character and provide a regulatory mechanism through which development can occur with minimal environmental and visual impact" (p. 148). Further, the Plan states "economic development of agricultural and rural enterprises should be fostered and promoted including the development of agricultural markets, alternative products, agri-tourism, and eco-tourism" (p. 57).
The Comprehensive Plan also supports the development of clean, renewable energy. Objective 2 of Chapter 3, Goal 1 of the Plan states "the City will encourage the development of alternative energy sources" (p. 127). Further, the Plan states "land use regulations and building codes should incorporate flexibility to allow for new technologies. For example, solar power might require provisions to allow collector panels, or wind generated power might require provisions to allow for the large windmills that are necessary" (p. 127).
When a rezoning or conditional use is requested for a particular property, staff reviews the proposal for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, to include the Land Use Plan component and specific goals, objectives, and action strategies contained in the document. Based on this review, staff can develop a thoughtful analysis and recommendation in favor of or against the proposal. Such was the case for the conditional use requests for the solar farms proposed throughout the City. In each case, staff has recommended approval of the use permit with stipulations, finding that a solar farm is generally consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. When a proposal goes to public hearing, the Planning Commission or City Council may not always agree with staff's recommendation. Out of the four solar farm proposals submitted to the City, Hickory Solar Farm, located off Ballentine Road, is the only use permit granted by City Council for such.
Water Main Project on Airline Boulevard
This water main project replaced an important water loop that broke under Airline Blvd. While the old pipe was in a casing, it was too deteriorated due to soil conditions and therefore unusable.
A contractor was hired to replace the main by open cut across the roadway. The contractor completed the pipe work and the water main loop was put back into service. However, the wet and cold winter weather created the delay in installing the final patch.
The asphalt contractor completed the paving on February 21, 2018.
Nuisance Dog Barking
A citizen brought a concern about noise and nuisance dog barking. The Animal Services Division followed up and gave her information about Nuisance Barking - Code Section (10-45 a.1) and Noise prohibited acts Animals - Code Section 26-126 and how to pursue a charge regarding nuisance barking.
Cedar Road Sidewalks
The Cedar Road segment between Moses Grandy Trail and Shipyard Road is largely ditch and shoulder with very limited right of way available for the installation of new sidewalks. Some short sections of the road have been improved with curb and gutter and sidewalks have been added where new developments have been approved. However, a city project to install new sidewalks along the entire length of Cedar Road would require the extensive reconstruction of the road and the acquisition of right-of-way from the very large number of residents that front the road. Given the challenges and high cost with adding new sidewalk along Cedar Road, pedestrian connections have been made utilizing the interior local streets between many of the large neighborhoods and surrounding schools and/or the new Deep Creek City Park. As an example, a pedestrian path is available at the end of Broadwater Drive that connects Hugo Owen School to the Creekwood, Sawyers Mill, and Marsh Creek subdivisions. A similar connection is provided for access to the Deep Creek City Park at the end of Iron Bridge Lane. It is also anticipated that there will be opportunity for the addition of new sidewalks and other pedestrian/bike facilities along Cedar Road between Moses Grandy Trail and Scenic Parkway with the new development planned in the Dominion Corridor.
Camelot -Department of Housing and Urban Development Designation
The following information is being provided in response to a three-part Service Request received during the February 6, 2018 Town Hall Meeting at Hugo Owens Middle School. The first part of the request was for information regarding a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revitalization designation for Camelot. HUD regulations allow entitlements to establish the criteria and designate an economically disadvantaged neighborhood as a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) as part of a comprehensive revitalization strategy to address affordable housing and economic opportunity needs. If the City decides to pursue a NRSA designation for Camelot, the written NRSA strategy must include:
- Neighborhood/demographic criteria;
- Community/stakeholder consultation;
- An assessment of the economic conditions, opportunities and anticipated challenges;
- Specific economic empowerment actions; and
- Performance measures.
Submission of an NRSA request should be a part of the City's Five Year Consolidated Plan the City submits to HUD with a description of the resources proposed to achieve NRSA goals and measurable NRSA outcomes. Poor performance will result in a suspension or withdrawal of HUD's NRSA approval and any NRSA amendments must follow the Consolidated Plan amendment process protocol.
Approved NRSAs offer flexibility in convening Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded economic development, housing, and public service activities designed to promote innovative programs such as:
- Job creation and/or job retention efforts.
- The aggregation of housing units targeted for rehab i.e. of the 50 homes to be rehabbed, only 26 (51%) must be occupied by UM homeowners.
A Public Service Cap exemption when such activities are carried out by a designated Community Based Development Organization (CBDO) which is the equivalent to the City's HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) Community Housing and Development Organizations (CHDO).
In response to the second part of the Service Request for information regarding "reseeding the median", the Camelot neighborhood is not located in a HUD eligible CDBG census tract, making it ineligible for a CDBG funded infrastructure and/or public improvement activity. However, in addition to being considered for a City funded project, we offer the following reseeding activity options:
- An Environmental Improvement Council beautification project
- A Neighborhood Adopt a Street project
- In response to the final part of the Service Request for information regarding the possibility of the City purchasing the church area, a CDBG funded acquisition is not an option since Camelot is not located in a CDBG census tract.
- Paving and Reseeding of Grass Median on Camelot Boulevard
The paving of Guenevere Drive was completed on February 22, 2018. The grass median located on Camelot Boulevard is currently being maintained by the Camelot Civic League through the "Adopt a Garden" program.
Animals in Agricultural/Residential Districts
As a result of several requests from citizens and subsequent public meetings, a text amendment has been proposed that effectively removes the restrictions concerning animal densities in the A l, agricultural district.
This proposed text amendment does provide restrictions on animal densities on RE-1, residential estate, zoned properties, although less restrictive than current requirements. The proposed text was heard by City Council on February 20, 2018 and they approved the version from January 3, 2018.