Pleasure House Point Stakeholder Committee Meeting

The inaugural meeting of the Pleasure House Point Stakeholder Committee meeting was held at the Bayside Rec Center on April 23, 2012, co-hosted by the City of Virginia Beach and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).  It was a remarkable demonstration of the level of interest and commitment by the City and the public, in that there was almost 100% attendance by appointed representatives.

Brian Solis, of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, opened the meeting and provided the following information, which is available on the City website www.vbgov.com/pleasurehousepoint.  The website is live now and currently has CBF’s part of the presentation on the Web page.  (Click on “Stakeholder Presentation 4/23.”)  Spokespersons from CBF also supplied information about their vision for their facility, which would have the three-fold function of Environmental Center, Environmental Education Center and Environmental Restoration Site.  They hope for their building to go beyond LEED certification to Living Building designation, which can be further researched at https://ilbi.org/

Today’s outline provided the project description as “a natural conservation area, public park and environmental education area.”  Partners are the City, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and CBF.  Funding partners are US Fish & Wildlife, VA Department of Environmental Quality, VA Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City, the Trust for Public Land, CBF, Dominion Foundation, VB Parks & Rec Foundation and the citizens of the Shore Drive area.  It appears that the City is sincere in seeking public input prior to formulating the plans for this area.  This in itself is as laudable as it is unique.

The project timeline will be a part of the posting soon to be available to all, but encompasses the inception of planning in May 2012, through rezoning, permitting, acquisition by CBF of their 10 acre parcel on or about January 2013, and design and construction of the City portion commencing January 2013 through December 2013, if the funding proposed in this fiscal year’s budget for Open Space Development and Maintenance (CIP 3.06) is approved in the City budget.

The presentation offered a brief history of the property and included maps of the parceled areas, showing stormwater management and proposed soft trails, kayak launch area, and a sidewalk with adjacent parallel parking along the northern portion of Marlin Bay Drive.

Miscellaneous enclosures included a section about habitat preservation and the threatened and endangered species that call PHP home, as well as the results of a survey conducted earlier from at least two meetings available to OPCL residents.

The City proposes 3 or 4 more of these meetings in addition to a yet-to-be scheduled public meeting.  The meetings are, of course, open to the public, but in the interests of time, observers are asked to channel their input to one of the designated representatives.  Shore Drive residents can communicate through Kal Kassir (Bayfront Advisory Committee) at kkassir@aol.com, Todd Solomon (Shore Drive Community Coalition) at todd@sdcc.info, Tim Solanic (savePHP.org) at tim@sdcc.info, or Grace Moran (Ocean Park Civic League) at grace@sdcc.info or 318-9224.  Or you can contact Brian Solis (bsolis@vbgov.com) or Barbara Duke (Bduke@vbgov.com) of the VB Parks and Recreation Department or Christy Everett (Hampton Roads Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) at CEverett@cbf.org.  However, the Committee may also have an interactive Website up and running soon, and many of those listed above already over-flowing in-boxes, so please hold your emails until after the next meeting, which will be confirmed in a subsequent mailing. The next meeting has not been confirmed, but is tentative for 4 p.m. May 21, or May 16 in the morning.

Respectfully submitted,
Grace Moran