A Year in Ocean Park

2021 was quite a year! Despite restrictions from COVID, the civic league dealt with a number of issues. Ocean Park was removed from being in a Short Term Rental Overlay district. The community felt strongly about this issue and many residents wrote letters and spoke out at the Bayside Advisory Commission and City Council meetings .

Another concern has been the beach replenishment. At the April OPCL meeting Mr. Dan Adams, Coastal Program Manager for the City of Virginia Beach, presented the particulars of the beach replenishment project. (April 8 guest speaker about beach replenishment.) Since then we have been in close communication with Jim White the city project manager. More information will be available soon with the start date looking to be spring.

Of course the dominant issue for the civic league and the community was the Marlin Bay Apartment Development, which had a positive outcome after strong community effort and long hours by OPCL board members. Community members really stepped up writing hundreds of letters, donating and posting signs in their yards!

(President Danny Murphy also became our media star!)

Ocean Park residents spoke out for our community at the Planning Commission Hearing in September. In October the application for the Marlin Bay project was withdrawn. We look forward to working with the owners of the property to shape a new project that fits in with the community of Ocean Park.

We celebrated the 4th of July with our beloved fireworks and parade! (The annual fireworks are not paid for out of the OPCL budget. They are funded separately by contributions.)
Thank you to all the members who have already renewed their annual membership for 2022! Please consider renewing your membership early in 2022 or becoming a member for the first time! It’s easy! Only $20 for a family! Join or Renew Today!

Join or Renew your 2022 Annual OPCL Membership Today !

What does your $20 annual membership pay for?

The civic league budget pays for the costs of getting information out – website costs, email blast Mailchimp services, snail mail post office box, IT services. We make contributions to Lynnhaven River Now, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and we give a four-year $1000 college scholarship every year. In addition, the civic league puts on two social events with great food and fun : the Spring Fling and Fall Fest are free to paid members. Many members have their memberships on automatic renewal and we thank you!! Please help support your neighborhood civic league!! Join for the first time or Renew your membership. Payment can be made here on the OPCL web site with PayPal or use a credit card with CheddarUp : OPCL.org-Join or Renew. Or you can send a check by mail to: OPCL PO Box 55385 Virginia Beach, VA 23471 We will have a new car sticker soon for those who renew or join!!

Schedule for Beach Replenishment Expected

We hope to hear soon about the schedule for the planned Beach Replenishment. Here is the most recent communication from Jim White, project manager:

 The contractor (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) will provide their schedule for channel dredging and sand placement to the VPA sometime after the completion of the USACE Norfolk District ‘no hopper dredging time of year restriction’ ends (November 15, 2021). 

  1. The project will occur between Rookery Way to just east of 3556 Shore Drive Condominium.
  2. The beach berm will be constructed to an elevation of +7.0ft NAVD88.
  3. The beach berm width (the ‘recreational’ portion of the beach profile) will average 100ft.
  4. Sand will be placed as part of a dune restoration feature between Albemarle Ave. and Dinwiddie Rd.

The volume of sand available from the VPA project to build the beach, as permitted, is 400,000 cubic yards.  This volume of sand will be sufficient to replenish the beach to the project dimensions.

The USACE dredge Murden conducted some maintenance dredging of Lynnhaven Inlet.  This effort was to remove shoaling inside and outside of the inlet Federal channel and did not have a beach nourishment component as part of the mission. 

Respectfully,

James D. White, P.E.

Coastal Section Project Manager, City of Virginia Beach Public Works

Link to plans: Ocean-Park-Beach-Nourishment-jpa-permit-drawings.pdf

From our Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad

Help us celebrate Don’s 40 years of volunteer service to OPVRS and Va Beach. What were you doing in November 1981? Don Anderson was joining Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad. So, this month we celebrate 40 years of uninterrupted, loyal and steadfast dedication to the Squad. Over the years, one of the things Don has been noted for is taking care of the landscaping around the flagpole which faces Shore Drive. To that end, as we continue to work on the curb appeal of our building, we have a goal to raise $100 per year served by Don and turn that $4000 into a new, fabulous flagpole to be installed in Don’s honor. A flagpole to become the centerpiece of that garden and a fixture on Shore Drive for the next 40 years. We have kicked off a little campaign to manage donations to that cause. Don is a living legend. If you haven’t seen him recently, take time to chat with him and thank him for all he has done over the years.

Donate Directly here: https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTM0NjU4

Letter to the Community from President Danny Murphy:

 October 17, 2021

RE: Marlin Bay Development Request for Withdrawal from City Council Agenda

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for your diligent and unstinting labors to preserve and protect the character of the Ocean Park neighborhood over the past year or so. While the withdrawal of the Marlin Bay Development from the City Council agenda does not end our efforts to find a reasonable and appropriate use (redevelopment) for these properties, I am sure it comes as a great relief to many of you.

There are many people to thank, honestly too many, so please accept this broad generalization and allow us to deliver our sincere appreciation on a more personal level:

  • 1st on the list! Residents, neighbors & Shore Drive friends – the support and engagement shown by you has been both phenomenal and inspiring: phone calls, letters, emails, signs, social media posts, showing up, speaking, votes, donations, meetings and even more meetings. 
  • Organizations & boards – Unmitigated support from nearby Civic Leagues (esp. Baylake Pines & Chic’s Beach), and the Shore Drive Community Coalition.
  • City leadership, staff and boards- It starts in our backyard: Bayfront Advisory Commission!! Members of the Planning Commission including Robyn Klein, David Bradley & Jack Wall. And City Council members: in particular Louis Jones, who gave his support and advice from the beginning, John Moss, whose support and advice was also pivotal, Michael Berlucchi, Aaron Rouse, Rocky Holcomb & Mayor Dyer who met with us and listened to our concerns and also Barbara Henley, Guy Tower and Sabrina Wooten. In addition, we would like to thank the city staff who played it straight and provided needed responses and explanation whenever asked. 
  • Wolcott Rivers Gates for critical counsel and stewardship. 
  • Local Media – Including 13NewsNow, News 3, WHRV & the Virginian-Pilot/pilotonline
  • Last but never least, the leadership of Ocean Park Civic League – The board of directors, past directors and presidents, committee members and chairs. No one will truly know the countless hours and effort logged by these dedicated people to bring about this result.

To this wonderful community: please accept our most sincere appreciation for all your efforts. 

Sincerely,

Danny Murphy

Ocean Park Civic League President

Marlin Bay Development Withdrawal Requested

The owners of the property where the Marlin Bay Apartment complex was proposed have sent a letter to the city withdrawing the project from the City Council agenda. We support their request to withdraw the application and we thank the owners and the developer for listening to the community’s concerns and reconsidering the potential redevelopment of those lots. We look forward to working with them on finding a mutual solution to this and other projects within the community.

Beach Replenishment Plans

At Thursday’s General Meeting, OPCL President Danny Murphy gave an update on the beach replenishment project with information from Jim White, Coastal Section Project Manager in the Public Works Department. The timeline for Ocean Park to start receiving sand will be after the USACE Norfolk District No Hopper Dredging restriction ends on November 15, 2021. There was some confusion that the final project end date of November 2022 was when Ocean Park would get sand.

Project Details

  1. The project will occur between Rookery Way to just east of 3556 Shore Drive Condominium.
  2. The beach berm will be constructed to an elevation of +7.0ft NAVD88.
  3. The beach berm width (the ‘recreational’ portion of the beach profile) will average 100ft.
  4. Sand will be placed as part of a dune restoration feature between Albemarle Ave. and Dinwiddie Rd.

If you are interested in looking at the Army Corp of Engineers Project Plans for a detailed picture of the replenishment project, you can download them with the link:

Here is an example of one of the drawings for part of the beach.

Ocean Park Beach Nourishment jpa-Permit-Drawings.pdf

Fair is Fair?

Spotted this week: Cheryl McLeskey, the owner of the Marlin Bay property and John Peterson, the developer of the Marlin Bay project, talking with council members at the Marlin Bay site. We have sent requests to meet with each member of the City Council so that we can talk with them about the community’s perspective and input concerning this development in our neighborhood. We have been gratified at the willingness of Louis Jones, John Moss, Michael Berlucchi, Aaron Rouse and N.D. Holcomb to engage with the community. Council member Henley responded initially but we have not set a meeting time. We hope that the other members of the City Council: Mayor Dyer, Ms. Wilson, Ms. Wooten and Mr. Tower will respond to our invitation to meet and engage with us. We feel the issue is complex and that hearing what the community has to say in a timely manner and not at the last minute right before a vote is only fair and reasonable.

Write to the City Council members and explain why you oppose this overdevelopment in Ocean Park and Western Shore Drive.

Don’t Change the Rules

The core of residents’ concern is the density of the project. It is too many people in too small a space. Interestingly the high rises in Ocean Park were built before the Comprehensive Plan and the Shore Drive Design Guidelines were adopted by the City Council and before the council established the Bayfront Advisory Council. In these planning guidelines, which the BAC references in their opposition to the project, the city very clearly went a different path from those high rises and instead laid out a vision where the density was kept low and most especially that anything that was built would be consistent with what surrounds it-in this case townhouses and single family homes. They chose NOT to sanction more high rise buildings and high density development.

The owners of the Marlin Bay properties-the McLeskey and Browning families -have held this property for decades and are responsible for the condition it is in now. Residents should not be penalized with unwanted overdevelopment as a result of their poor stewardship. Residents are not against all change. They do not wish to preserve the boat trailer storage. They do not wish to block any or all development of the property. They are only asking that the zoning not be changed to allow a project of this density to be built which is not in compliance with what the city itself has adopted. It is currently zoned B2- so develop it as a business. The rest is zoned PDH1-so develop it as housing at that density. Don’t change the rules on the residents .

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