Speakers do Ocean Park Proud at City Council Meeting!

Tuesday night at the City Council Meeting many Ocean Park residents spoke movingly and eloquently against the proposal for the STR Overlay District. The Council heard speaker after speaker from Ocean Park who were well informed and who brought out many important points about how this proposal would adversely affect our community. People told their personal stories and stressed the family orientation and close-knit neighborhood character of the community. Many speakers noted that this zoning change is being imposed on a community that is against the change and who fear the negative effects that will follow. A grateful shout out to all those who took the time to sign up to speak at the City Council Meeting both in person and virtually and to those who spoke up at the Bayfront Advisory Commission meeting where Mr. Jones and Mr. Wood were present.

Mr. Jones clearly heard these heartfelt concerns and moved to remove Ocean Park from the Proposal. This is a proud day for Ocean Park!

Today! Attend the City Council Meeting! Make your voice heard! Oct. 20th 6 pm

Residents who oppose the proposal of the Ocean Park STR Overlay District should attend the City Council Meeting on Tuesday Oct. 20 at 6:00 pm at the Convention Center , Suite 5 1000 19th Street. At the Bayfront Advisory Commission meeting on Tues. Oct. 14, Council member Jones and Council member Wood indicated that emails and letters are not sufficient to be persuasive about Ocean Park’s opposition to being placed in a STR Overlay.

Here is a link to the agenda for the meeting on Tuesday: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/city-clerk/city-council/Documents/CurrentBriefAgenda.pdf

How can you participate?

Meeting info: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 3:00 P.M. Meeting called to Order followed by working session and then the formal Session at 6 pm. Virginia Beach Convention Center, Suite 5 1000 19th Street.

Citizens may comment either in person or virtually. If you would like to speak in person, please call the City Clerk’s office at 757-385-4303 to sign up.

If you wish to make comments virtually on an item, please follow the two-step process provided below: • Register for the WebEx at: https://vbgov.webex.com/vbgov/onstage/g.php?MTID=ee627a0d522bacf90ddba7c5d8347e7ce • Register with the City Clerk’s Office by calling (757) 385-4303 or via email at ABarnes@vbgov.com prior to 5:00 p.m. on October 20, 2020

The City Council meeting will be streamed live on www.vbgov.com and Facebook Live, and will be recorded for rebroadcast on Cable TV. Citizens are encouraged to submit their comments to the City Council prior to the meeting via email at CityCouncil@vbgov.com.

STR Proposal: City Council members attend BAC meeting Oct. 14

At the Bayfront Advisory Council meeting on Tues. Oct 14, the proposed zoning change to create STR overlay areas was on the agenda. Council member Louis Jones started off by explaining the impetus for his Overlay Proposal. He explained that applications for Conditional Use Permits for Short Term Rentals are increasing in all areas of the city where they have never been before. When the City Council reviews the CUP applications, there is often no community input. The purpose of the Overlay would be to restrict STRs to certain areas since having STRs leads to “the deterioration of residential districts.” Since no Ocean Park residents had attended any hearings about the 3 STR applications, he said he assumed that Ocean Park is ok with STRs. BAC member Morgan Ayers pointed out that OPCL had conducted polls and taken a formal vote showing that Ocean Park residents are overwhelmingly opposed to being in the Overlay district. This brought no response. The point was also made that it is precisely this deterioration of a neighborhood character brought on by STR concentration that Ocean Park residents fear. No response was forthcoming. Councilman Jones was also asked directly if he would speak to Ocean Park’s opposition in council discussion since he represents the OP district and has now been informed of the strong opposition. He declined and said it was necessary to wait and see what the Planning Commission put forward. It is unclear why Chesapeake Beach and Baylake Pines were able to be deleted from the Overlay by Mr. Jones in this preliminary period but not Ocean Park.

Director of Planning for the city, Mr. Bobby Tajan answered many questions about the process ahead for the proposal. At some point in the process all property owners will receive a letter concerning the zoning change. Mr. Tajan suggested that residents contact the Planning Commission with their input. “Citizens are encouraged to submit comments to the Planning Commission prior to the public hearing via email to wlandfair@vbgov.com or via United States Postal Service to Bill Landfair, 2875 Sabre Street, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.” Here is a link to the commissioners emails and phone numbers: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/planning/boards-commissions-committees/Pages/pc.aspx

Tues. Oct. 20 City Council MeetingCity Council will vote on whether to refer the Overlay Proposal to the Planning Commission
Nov. 4 Planning Commission Meeting Planning Commission Briefing
Dec. 9? Planning Commission MeetingPlanning Commission Public Hearing and Vote
Jan. ? City Council MeetingCity Council Public Comment Forum
Jan.? City Council Meeting City Council Hearing and Vote to approve or deny

He wasn’t able to provide firm dates as recent cancellations had upended the schedule.

Another issue in the discussion was communication between residents and the city. Both councilmen seemed to indicate that emails do not carry much weight. Mr. Wood said that “we get so many emails”. Mr. Jones said that he hadn’t received emails or the OPCL letter about this topic. Mr. Jones noted that he spent an hour on the phone with one constituent who was pro-STR so perhaps phone calls are a more efficient method for him. Mr. Wood and Mr. Jones both said that the most effective way to communicate is to appear in person at a City Council or Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Wood suggested also that one person could speak and a block of residents could sit together and stand up to show strength in numbers. Mr. Wood also noted that some Civic Leagues like the North End have Zoning Committees which follow zoning and land use issues closely for their area.

Bottom Line: concerned residents must go to City Council and Planning Commission hearings in order for their concerns to be heard.

Time is running out: make your voice heard now

The City Council of Virginia Beach will soon consider the proposal to change the regulations regarding Short Term Rentals. The proposal as it stands now will put Ocean Park in a STR Overlay District. This would allow any property owner to offer their property as a STR without needing to seek city approval or obtain a Conditional Use Permit. Since areas outside the Overlay districts would not be allowed to have STRs, this change could bring a considerable increase of STRs in Ocean Park. The City Council could vote to remove Ocean Park from the list of the new overlay districts at the next meeting. (The October 6th meeting was cancelled). So this issue is time sensitive for Ocean Park residents who do not want to see Ocean Park become one of the designated STR Overlay districts. A loud public outcry from Ocean Park residents who are opposed could halt this deregulation for Ocean Park now.

The OPCL board has listened to feedback from the Ocean Park community on important issues that are facing the community: the proposal to put Ocean Park in the overlay that would deregulate and promote Short Term Rentals in our community, the Marlin Bay development which would add 227 units in a large apartment complex and the deferral of the Ocean Park beach replenishment. The board has in each case sent letters to the Mayor and Council members to inform them of the community’s stance. This will not be enough to see the changes the community wants. Residents need to send letters, emails and make phone calls to City Council members now to show the strength of the opposition to the STR overlay for Ocean Park and to the Marlin Bay development and the possible deferral of the Beach Replenishment. Consider voicing your concerns to those who make the decisions. It will take many voices to make changes happen.

Mayor Bobby Dyer mayorsoffice@vbgov.com tel: (757) 385-4581

James Wood jlwood@vbgov.com tel: (757) 366-1011

Jessica Abbott jabbott@vbgov.com tel: (757) 577-2068

Michael Berlucchi mberlucc@vbgov.com tel: (757) 264-9162

Barbara Henley bhenley@vbgov.com tel: (757) 426-7501

Louis Jones lrjones@vbgov.com tel: (757) 583-0177

John Moss jdmoss@vbgov.com tel: (757) 264-9162

Aaron Rouse arouse@vbgov.com tel: (757) 319-1398

Guy Tower gtower@vbgov.com tel: (804) 398-0070

Rosemary Wilson rcwilson@vbgov.com tel: (757) 422-0733

Sabrina Wooten swooten@vbgov.com tel: (757) 797-5625

City Council Page with hot links to phone numbers: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/city-manager/Pages/form-of-government-and-city-officials.aspx

October News:

The General Membership Meeting agenda on Oct 8th included important updates on : Marlin Bay Apartments, Ocean Park Beach Replenishment, Short Term Rental Regulation changes, LOVE sign. Minutes will be posted shortly.

The last months have made connecting and coming together as a community a considerable challenge. The work of the civic league has gone on in spite of these challenges. A number of important issues face our neighborhood. Please consider getting involved in the civic league whether as a board member or a committee member. The OPCL needs your input as we confront these challenges to our community.Send an email to Ryan Cochran at president@opcl.org or bdemers5@gmail.com if you are willing to get involved.

Also you can sign up for email updates (or re-sign up if you are no longer receiving them). Go to the menu at the top and click on Sign up for Email Updates. You will get an email on Tuesdays with the latest news. Here is the link: https://opcl.org/sign-up-for-email-updates/

What are your concerns? Leave a comment to make them known!

Short Term Rentals in Ocean Park

The Virginia Beach Zoning Commission presented a proposal to the City Council concerning Short Term Rental regulations in areas of Shore Drive including Ocean Park. If this regulation is approved, the new regulations remove the requirement for property owners to get a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) before instituting short term rental activity on their property. Currently in Ocean Park, a property owner must make an application for a CUP to the city which details number of guests, parking, trash. If the property arrangements don’t conform to requirements, then the application is turned down. The new regulation would remove that step of oversight. Here is the presentation about the proposed new regulation:STR Presentation . Here is the Zoning Ordinance Zoning Ordinance

Write to the City and Council and Mayor: vbgov.com/city-officials.

Agenda for Oct. 13 meeting does not include STR. https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/city-clerk/city-council/Documents/CurrentBriefAgenda.pdf

Oct. 6City Council Vote on Referral to Planning C. (postponed)
Oct. 14Planning Commission Briefing
Nov. 4Planning Commission Public Hearing
Nov. 17City Council Public Comment
Dec. 1City Council Public Hearing/Vote

Here is a link to the survey results that are available: :https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-B6TSWGFH7/

This is the letter that was sent to the Mayor and City Council: Letter-regarding-STR-in-Ocean-Park

Alternate Beach Replenishment Update Briefing presented to City Council

On September 22 the City Council heard a briefing from Mr. Philip Roehrs concerning an alternate plan being moved forward for replenishment of the bay beaches. In this proposal sand dredged from Norfolk Harbor will be used to replenish Cape Henry, Ocean Park and Chesapeake Beaches.

The advantage of the new proposal would be the significantly lower cost to the city.

Several disadvantages were also cited. The timeline of this project would push back replenishment of the Ocean Park Beach until beyond Nov. 2022. The dredging work would begin in Nov. of 2021. In Nov. 2022, according to the timetable in the presentation (slide 10), they will “initiate agreement with Corps of Engineers for the placement of sand.” It is not clear when sand placement would actually happen. Several other concerns were mentioned: the product of dredging may not be acceptable for beach use. “Material quality and quantity is not yet confirmed”. Another disadvantage (slide 8) mentioned in the presentation: “Norfolk also has plans to use sand from the project; final available volume for Virginia Beach may not achieve all goals.”

Following the presentation there were some follow up questions. Councilwoman Barbara Henley asked whether Ocean Park residents are expecting to have relief sooner. Mr. Roehrs replied that they have been in touch with the Civic League. OPCL has received updates on the bidding process for the stand alone Ocean Park beach replenishment, however not about this alternate plan. Mr. Roehrs said that the Ocean Park beach has a “robust dune system” and implied that this means Ocean Park could wait with no ill effects. Mr. Moss noted that beach replenishment is also part of flood control and therefore important. Mayor Dyer indicated his awareness the the dunes were unstable. The stated purpose of the update briefing was “seeking informal Council concurrence to proceed with negotiations on a Memorandum of Agreement with the Virginia Port Authority.” Concurrence to proceed was implied though no roll call vote was taken. This would mean deferral and probably suspension of the rebid of the Ocean Park project which Mr. Roehrs said was slated for a Dec. 2020 timeframe.

Here is a copy of the slide presentation about the project: http://Presentation to City Council Beach Replenishment

Residents who would like to express an opinion on the choice between this project and the stand alone Ocean Park Beach Replenishment can contact:

Robert Dyer, Mayor bdyer@vbgov.com

City Council Members CityCouncil@vbgov.com

Patrick Duhaney, City Manager cmoffice@vbgov.com

September News!

Would you like to get involved in the Ocean Park community? Would you like to work with great people to improve our unique neighborhoods? If you would like to be more involved in the work of the Civic League, you might be interested in joining the Board or working on a committee. Email Ryan Cochran at president@opcl.org .

Did you miss the September General Membership Meeting? Read all about it in the Meeting Minutes : https://opcl.org/aboutopcl/meeting-minutes-agendas/

We are trying to get better getting the word out about the monthly General Membership meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month. The Ocean Park signs on Shore Drive had showed the locations of the meeting that month: Brock Center or OPVRS. Now we’ll have a third possibility: Virtual Meeting! So look for that on the Ocean Park signs on Shore Drive to remind you when there is a General Membership Meeting and where it will be!

Also you can sign up for email updates (or re-sign up if you are no longer receiving them). Go to the menu at the top and click on Sign up for Email Updates. You will get an email on Tuesdays with the latest news.

Ocean Park T-shirts and Sweatshirts for sale!

These shirts and sweatshirts are awesome! The short sleeve cotton t-shirts colors are white, blue, gray and pink sizes S-XL. The sweatshirts are gray hoodies (no zipper) in sizes M-XL and a few 3X. To gauge sizes for children: the S size has chest measurement of 34 in. and is 24 in. long.

You may have seen previous post picturing how they can be customized by tie dye- a fun project! So the tie dye ones pictured are not for sale but you can create them like our Tessa Cochran did!

T-shirts are $15.00 and sweatshirts are $40.00. If you would like to buy a great shirt and support OPCL, click on the buy now button. We are also compiling an album of people wearing Ocean Park shirts! So send a picture in and be included in the slideshow to be posted on the website! communications@opcl.org

Good News!

We can all use some good news these days! At the July 9th virtual OPCL meeting, Jill Doczi provided an update from the City about the sand replenishment for Ocean Park beach. James White from VB Public Works wrote Jill that the plan is to rebid the project with a longer performance period, and the funding was not impacted by the new fiscal year budget. Hurray!

Virtual Welcome Wagon! Welcome to all new Ocean Park Residents! We would like to get to know you! If you have a new neighbor, let us know. We can’t leave our Welcome to Ocean Park Cookie bags right now (hope to soon!) but we’d like to introduce new folks to the neighborhood.

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