Write Now! Right Now!

Write now, Right now! You’ve written before, please write again. This is the final lap for this long 18 month process. The City Council will make the final decision to approve or not approve the Marlin Bay Development in October.

Residents of Ocean Park and Shore Drive should not be discouraged by the 7-3 vote by the Planning Commission.

Who voted to recommend approval to the City Council: developers (Redmond, Graham), a lawyer who works for developers (including this one!) (Inman), member involved with development/building industry (Weiner), a former candidate for City Council (Oliver) whose “biggest supporters were developer Bruce Thompson, former mayor Will Sessoms”,who resigned after being convicted of conflict of interest charges.(Virginian Pilot), two who thought the project was attractive.

Who voted not to recommend approval? A social worker who said this is not affordable housing (Klein), a former budget director (Bradley) and an engineer (Wall) both who cited the insufficient compliance with the infill density called for in the Comprehensive Plan and the Shore Drive Design Guidelines.

We turn to the real decision makers, the City Council of Virginia Beach. Make your voice heard! Please follow the links below and write to the City Council now WRITE NOW. We want to be sure that all letters are counted and included so please copy your email letters to all three addresses: CityCouncil@vbgov.com, city clerk abarnes@vbgov.com and our OPCL set up address: nwmb@opcl.org. For more information go to the No Way Marlin Bay page on this website.

You can also write to each Council member individually (please copy OPCL: nwmb@opcl.org)

Name email addressPhone number
Mayor Bobby Dyer

(757) 385-4581
N.D. (Rocky) Holcombrholcomb@vbgov.com
(757) 416-2343
Michael Berlucchi mberlucc@vbgov.com
(757) 407-5105
Barbara Henley

(757) 426-7501
Louis Jones

(757) 583-0177
John Moss

Aaron Rouse

(757) 319-1398
Guy Tower gtower@vbgov.com
(804) 398-0070

Rosemary Wilson


(757) 422-0733
Sabrina Wooten

(757) 797-5625

OPCL Fall Fest October 30th at Froggies!

Come and join your neighbors finally! We will have our traditional OPCL Fall Fest with great food and fun on October 30th from 5-8 under the tent and on the lawn at Froggies. This event is free to OPCL members! Or you can pay your $20 OPCL membership dues on the spot and join in! We are planning this in conjunction with the OPVRS Haunted House! Get ready to have a great time!

What’s Wrong with That?

One way that the process of deciding land use questions in Virginia Beach is a flawed one is that it is a series of one way streets. There are few opportunities for exchange. When a planning commissioner makes incorrect assumptions or draws conclusions that have a strong counter argument, there is no way to add more information or make additional points. Like what?

Mr. Inman mischaracterized the position of Ocean Park residents when he said that we oppose this development because we don’t like the design of the apartments-that we want ‘more aesthetics’. He fails to say anything about the main tenet of the opposition: we do not agree with the high density of the project and it does not comply with ‘infill development’ guidelines in the Comprehensive Plan and Shore Drive Design Guidelines. He also says that what would be developed in the residential part under current zoning would have a higher density. That is simply incorrect. PDH1 zoning would not allow 40 units per acre.

Mr. Horsley said that he understood that the project’s density is higher than the neighborhood wants. He said that he himself couldn’t stand to live where things are “so tight”. And then voted to radically increase the population in the already densely settled area.

Mr. Coston did not acknowledge or address any of the questions about density, mixed use or any other concern. “Money is what money is”. Not sure what that means. He thinks Peterson is a reputable developer so that makes it all ok.

Mr. Weiner made the point that 10 years ago he joined his neighbors to oppose an apartment complex in Kempsville, in his backyard. He says, ” and now wow, we don’t even know anyone who lives there.” Like that’s a good thing. Not knowing and not wanting to know your neighbors is the antithesis of how people live in Ocean Park.

Mr. Wall did not vote to recommend approval citing language from the Comprehensive Plan and the fact that the BAC did not approve the project. He did make the statement that he thought that ‘nothing would satisfy the homeowners in the neighborhood.’ It would be helpful to be able to address statements like this: residents are not asking to preserve the boat trailer lot. We, in fact, would be satisfied if a plan were offered that fit in with the surrounding properties with a compatible density as is right for ‘infill development’. In this case it would be townhouses, duplexes or single family homes.

Ms. Oliver is such an ardent fan of the Florida development model that she did not address any of the concerns about density or mixed use. She did not consider the project in terms of the Comprehensive Plan or Shore Drive Design Guidelines and seemed to have little regard for the unique character of Virginia Beach.

Mr. Redmond and Mr. Graham are both developers and so are very pro-development. Neither addressed the main issues with the project: flawed application of ‘mixed use’ which undergirds the project and makes it possible and noncompliance with the Comprehensive Plan and Shore Drive Guidelines for infill density. In their eyes, any development is the right move and gets a rubber stamp.

Interestingly, Mr. Bradley, as the newest member of the Planning Commission, did look to the Comprehensive Plan and the Bayfront Advisory Commission report to base his vote on. His remarks were based in fact and to the point. As a former budget director, he said that the fiscal impact for the city would in fact be slight. Residential development doesn’t pay for itself because of the attendant costs. He went on to say that stakeholders had a zoning expectation and this project is much denser and a dramatic change from what people who have invested in the area expect. He also emphasized that the Bayside Advisory Commission is a Council appointed committee and they did not support it.

Which brings us to a final question: if the city is not going to honor its own plan and follow its own guidelines which residents rely on- what is the point of regulations and plans at all when they go out the window as soon as a developer steps into the picture? We hope that our interactions with the City Council members will be a two way street.

Write to the members of the City Council who will make the final decision and explain why you think this project is wrong for Western Shore Dr. and Ocean Park. To be sure that your email is officially recognized, please copy all these addresses: CityCouncil@vbgov.com; abarnes@vbgov.com and nwmb@opcl.org

Marlin Bay Project: Incompatible Density

These two graphics created by Danny Murphy clearly demonstrate that the density of the Marlin Bay Apartment project is incompatible with the surrounding area as called for in the Comprehensive Plan for Shore Dr.

The Marlin Bay project is a stark departure from the projects previously approved in Ocean Park.

It’s Not Over! The City Council Will Make the Final Decision in October

Thank you to all the speakers and attendees who appeared at the Planning Commission meeting! Everyone did a fantastic job! Sadly, there were many ways that we were treated unfairly. The format of the agenda and the  order of the speakers were changed without notice. Danny was very quick on his feet to adapt and present our case which also must be done without equal access to projecting visuals and graphics-even though he was representing a large group.  Also there were 3 more speakers on Webex who were not given the opportunity to speak. Danny Murphy said: “It was not the strength our argument that failed, it was deaf ears of the committee”. We also want to thank the commission members who were willing to look more closely at the issue and weigh in other factors: Mr. Wall, Ms. Klein and the newest member Mr. Bradley. Residents who oppose the Marlin Bay Development should not give up! The real opportunity is coming at the City Council Meeting on October 19th. We can expect the City Council to be more receptive to the concerns of voter-residents. 

Unfortunately not all members of the commission conducted themselves in the spirit of civility and respect. In particular, Mr. Redmond -who represents the Bayside District-must be singled out for his mocking and patronizing remarks. When over 340 residents write letters, 24 people come out during the work day to express their deeply held concerns about their homes and their neighborhood, they should not be the butt of a joke- that was Mr. Redmond’s response along with his overall dismissive and demeaning tone. He belittled our concerns calling us just a “little pocket” of Shore Dr. implying that our neighborhood’s character and history don’t matter. Our points about non compliance with Comprehensive Plan language about infill development and mixed use were not countered. We must press forward with those. Let’s work together to be heard.

Dear Ocean Park Residents,

First and foremost, I would like to thank the residents of Ocean Park for their passion and their willingness to stand up for our community. Your commitment has been an inspiration. As we engage with the decision makers, please keep in mind that we wish to do so in the spirit of civility and cooperation. We truly believe that all are seeking to work towards the betterment of our city. We seek to convince them that this project is to the detriment of our neighborhood. But we need to make our arguments with facts and persuasion and not engage in any personal or negative attacks. We are in the right that we should have a say in our neighborhood character and that this project will negatively impact that unique character. We must convince them of that not shout them down.

We, as a community, are not in opposition to redevelopment of the lots. We want to see redevelopment that fits with Ocean Park, with the unique quality that drew us all here. So please use facts in your arguments and relate them to your personal experience to explain why you oppose the project.


Danny Murphy, President Ocean Park Civic League

OPCL response to the Staff Planning Document:

Mr. Hoa Dao

Planning Manager

Department of Planning and Community Development

2875 Sabre ST, Suite 500 

Virginia Beach, VA, 23452

RE: Marlin Bay Apartment Development & Initial June 9, 2021 Staff Planning Report

Dear Mr. Dao:

Thank you again for taking the time to meet with us last Thursday to review the initial June meeting Staff Planning Report on the Marlin Bay Development. Your professionalism and personal investment in your role are a considerable asset to the Planning Department and the City of Virginia Beach. As indicated during our meeting, I would request the following additions or alterations to any subsequent reports in order to provide a more complete analysis of the application.

  1. The Evaluation and Recommendation section of the report leads with a truncated discussion for the proposed project density of 31.77.  “While the proposed density at 31.77 units per acre is higher compared to developments in the immediate surrounding area”. As we will explain below, the effective development density exceeds 40 units per acre. While the report is more complete when addressing zoning history (though there is an omission there addressed later), the report fails to offer a complete picture of the density of the properties surrounding the project and does not contain figures that would allow a determination of whether this project does in fact meet the Comprehensive Plan requirement of infill having “compatible density” and “preserving and protecting the character of established neighborhoods and achieving the lowest reasonable density for future residential uses.”. While the report cites the Comprehensive Plan in several places, the report does not include the Comprehensive Plan language about density. What is significantly lacking is any analysis of the existing density of the neighborhood in order to determinethe lowest reasonable density for future residential uses. 
    1. What is the average density currently in the Ocean Park neighborhood? How exactly would the addition of nearly 200 units in a 1,400-unit neighborhood change density?
    2. What is the density of the adjacent and nearby properties? What is the average density for these properties?
    3. As noted, there are existing B-4 & A-18 zoned properties within the Ocean Park neighborhood. What is their proximity of these sites, when were they built, what is their density?
  1. The B-2 Boat Sales lot will exist separately without redevelopment as a recommended proffer. “In no case shall the area labeled ‘Existing Boat Sales’ and the associated parking lot be developed with any dwelling units.” Page 6, Recommended Conditions for Conditional Use Permit The stated calculation of 31.77/acre does not capture the effective density which would exceed 40 units per acre even including the area of the Clipper Bay Drive paper street closure. Thus, the residential apartment development of 197 units will only occur on 4.88 acres of land and would result in a density of over 40 units per acre. Page 3, Evaluation and Recommendation
  2. The rezoning and conditional use of the B-2 Boat Sales lot to B-4 (SD) is in significant conflict with the Comprehensive plan, Shore Drive Overlay District, Shore Drive Shore Drive Corridor Design Guidelines and city code for “mixed use” district zoning.
    1. As defined in city code, Sec. 111. Definitions, “Mixed use. Two (2) or more separate uses allowed as principal or conditional uses that arephysically and functionally integrated with the same structure on one (1) zoning lot.” The Boat Sales building is neither physically or functionally integrated with the same structure. To the contrary: In the proposal the boat sales building will be unattached and significantly separated by the primary roadway leading to and from the parking garage, building entrance and outdoor amenities. Page 12, Proposed Conceptual Site Layout. 
    2. Per the proposal, the boat sales building is only slated to encompass one unit of 2,000 sq. ft. of retail or restaurant space which equates to only 16% of the space. Boat sales will occupy the remaining 10,000 sq. feet of the building. This does not represent functional integration. 
    3. Furthermore, proposed plan indicates that additional space may be allocated to retail/restaurant, but this would only further exacerbate the report’s stated deficiency of required parking at the boat sales building site: “With the exception of parking area for the existing boat sales dealership located between the building and public street, that does not conform with the Guidelines…” Page 3, Evaluation & Recommendation
  3. As detailed extensively in the Mixed-Use Development Guidelines, adopted by City Council in 2004, the intent to “develop mixed use as a principal tool for redevelopment and as a preferred land use pattern in the Strategic Growth Areas (SGAs), and develop necessary zoning and other regulatory tools to encourage it” not in Suburban Focus Area 1 Shore Drive Corridor with adjacent residential single-family dwellings. Page 7, Comprehensive Plan Recommendations
  4. As stated in the report in reference to the Comprehensive Plan and Shore Drive Corridor Design Guidelines several critical facts have been omitted:
    1. The project site is contiguous to the City’s 118-acre Pleasure House Point Natural Area and as such requires “specific planning guidance”per the comprehensive plan: “Ensure that any development in the surrounding area is complementary with regard to both design and land use to the natural resource and open space amenity provided by Pleasure House Point.”
    2. In addition, although the project site is technically within the “mixed zone” for the Shore Drive Corridor, it sits on the dividing line with the “green zone”, Marlin Bay Drive. Page 3, Evaluation and Recommendation 

Again, thank you for your honest consideration of these points in order to provide a more thorough and accurate report for the September 8th Planning Commission hearing.

Very respectfully,

Danny Murphy, President

Ocean Park Civic League

New Signs Arrived! Tell your Neighbors!

The response to the NOWAYMARLINBAY sign initiative has been outstanding! The new shipment has arrived! Tell your friends and neighbors! If you would like to display a sign to show your opposition to the 197 apartment- 4 1/2 story parking garage complex proposed on Shore Dr. in Ocean Park, send your street address to communication@opcl.org. For more information: NO WAY MARLIN BAY

Donations toward the cost of the signs are greatly appreciated !! opcl.org/donate

Signs UP!

Thank you to all the residents who have put up a sign in their yards, in their windows, even on the dunes! A special thank you to everyone who has donated toward the cost of the signs! We have 100 signs out there now and want to order more! If you would like to donate, it is much appreciated! Donate-to-signs.

It has also been great to hear from the community as people write in to ask for a sign (communication@opcl.org) Here are some of the messages:

OPCL-Would love to display a yard sign to show our disapproval of this proposal!

Thank you for these efforts for our community and for the signs!!
I would be happy to place a sign in my yard.

My husband and I would love to have a “No Way Marlin Bay” sign for our yard. And I will send a corresponding donation through the link you provided. I will also be emailing the planning commission to advocate against the development. Thank you for your work organizing and supporting our neighborhood!

Hello! We would LOVE to show our support with a yard sign! We will share this in the mailboxes area in front of our house.

A couple of my neighbors have posted signs in their yard and directed me to the website to get one of my own. Thank you for offering these to the community!

The overdevelopment of Shore Drive has to stop. It’s putting all of our safety at risk. And we haven’t even seen the impact of the Westminster Canterbury development on our roads yet. Development is ok but the density on Shore Drive is out of control. Thanks to the OPCL for all their work on this.

I would like a yard sign and will donate for one! This is the absolute worst thing that could happen to our community and I strongly oppose it.

Hello, one of my neighbors passed on your info for a no way Marlin Bay sign . We strongly oppose the building of these apartments and would like to continue showing our support for the cause.

I loved the video and what a great way to get the word out!

We would like to have a sign at our house please!  Our family is strongly against dense development at Marlin Bay. 

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