Princess Anne Hills Civic League

2008 Annual Meeting Minutes

The annual meeting of the Princess Anne Hills Civic League was held on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at the ARE at 3 pm.

President Mike Byrnes called the meeting to order and asked that the minutes of the last meeting be read; the minutes were read and approved. 

Mike Byrnes introduced the guest speaker, newly-elected Mayor Will Sessoms.  Mayor Sessoms recalled fond memories of growing up in the NorthEnd and the times spent in Princess Anne Hills.

The Mayor went on to report that he has started the budget process earlier than normal due to $80 million in federal cuts and sliding housing sales prices that have reduced tax assessments.  He anticipates a budget deficit of $100-150 million.  As a result all programs are being reviewed, the use of reserve funds has been and will be required, and there will be job cuts.  He expressed angst over the last measure in particular.

Mayor Sessoms reported that despite the financial picture the city has decided to move forward with Phase 4 of Towne Center because developments such as this attracts economic development. He said the 97% occupancy rate in Towne Center reflects the demand, and the $6 million generated in tax revenue last year covers the debt service on the project. All of this, he said, will in the long term reduce the residential burden and therefore makes it financially prudent. 

Next, Mayor Sessoms reported that an agreement for the right-of-way has been reached between Norfolk-Southern and the cities of Virginia Beach –Norfolk for the light rail project.  He said the cities can use the right-of-way for other things like bus lanes and bike/pedestrian paths if it’s not used for light rail.  He awaits the result of a feasibility study currently being conducted before delivering his final opinion but he anticipates being strongly in favor of light rail.

Mayor Sessoms said he wants to concentrate on bringing higher-paying research and development jobs to this area.  One prospect for such jobs he is excited about is the introduction of wind turbines offshore.  It has been proposed that there is a wind tunnel off Virginia Beach with enough energy to power the entire Commonwealth.  He said just the talk of it has generated interest in this area for the construction of factories to build and repair the turbines, which is only one avenue such an industry could create solid jobs for our area.  He hinted to exciting news to be delivered in March.

A resident inquired about flooding on Goodspeed Road, Mayor Sessoms replied he was aware of the issue and his door is always open for assistance in addressing the problem.  Another resident inquired about smoking in public places in the city, he replied that he would guess the State will be ruling on that soon.

The meeting moved forward with Mike Byrnes reading the treasury report which showed the Civic League treasury balance on hand at $10,258.62, and the Dredging Project balance at $70,257.09. The Security Officer, John Salop, reported that the Virginia Beach Police reported 13 incidents in 2007 as compared to 12 incidents in 2008 in our neighborhood. All three reports were approved and accepted into record. 

A resident told the group that if you see gang graffiti to call Utility Services who will come clean it off.  Another resident complained of excessive speeding throughout the neighborhood which led to a discussion of the placement of electronic signs throughout the neighborhood for a time in order to train residents as to the safe speed; then moving to request an increase in patrol cars to deliver speeding tickets if that didn’t work.  Scott Beck offered to research the option of speed signs.

The first order of business was a report on the status of the Dredging Project for Stratton Creek by Scott Beck, who reported that the DEQ has halted the use of the Ocean Blvd pit for the dumping of spoils due to the delineation of some adjacent wetlands.  John Walsh of Waterway Survey and Engineering, who is the consultant on record for the Princess Anne Hills Civic League and the neighborhood drainage project, has also been hired by the City of Virginia Beach to negotiate mitigation with the DEQ.  He anticipates a resolution but cannot give a time line.  Our options are to wait for the Oceana Blvd pit to be reopened, or to start dredging now and truck our spoils to a pit in Chesapeake.  Doing so would increase our cost by over $10,000 in transport fees.  Based on this increase to the project, the PAH Civic League voted unanimously to wait until the Oceana Blvd pit was reopened.

A resident suggested that the lake on Susan Constant be used as a spoils pit.  Scott replied that would require a whole new permitting process so was not really feasible.

Another resident suggested that those who did not participate in the initial fundraising be asked to contribute to help pay for the shortfall.  Scott replied that these residents will be approached again but it made more sense to follow through with our current permit for Oceana Blvd and approach these residents once the dredging has begun and we determine if there will be a shortfall.

Next order of business was the Goodspeed Rd drainage issue. Two of the three planned solutions to the flooding issue have been completed: the replacement of anti-flood valves, and the installation of a new outfall in the Goodspeed Rd cul-de-sac.  The third (and most critical) solution to allow emergency vehicle passage during periods of flooding is the raising of Goodspeed Rd which requires that plans be submitted to, and permits granted by the DEQ and COE. As of this meeting, Heather Ham, asst. City Engineer, stated that the plans had been completed and upon their completion it became evident that the drainage solutions are more involved than originally anticipated to alleviate the impassable flooding to a point at which emergency vehicles can pass to residents on Goodspeed Rd. For this reason, the City Engineers Office must submit their revised plan to the City Council which will decide if the plan can be approved internally or must go to public hearing. In addition, Dominion Power must be petitioned to relocate a power pole. Both these processes will likely take 3-6 months.

Chuck Hudson stated that he was still in favor of changing the name of Goodspeed Rd to Godspeed to more accurately reflect the historical reference.  He volunteered to move that project forward unless there was anyone opposed to the idea.  He asked for a show of hands opposed, one hand was raised, so Chuck stated the matter was permanently closed in his mind.

Finally, Scott Beck announced the nomination of the following candidates to the 2009 Civic League Officers and Board of Directors:

President:  Mike Byrnes

Vice-President:  Scott Bleakley

Secretary/Treasurer:  Michelle Laborde

Board of Directors:  Tammy Wilson, Section A (Goodspeed Rd.), Kate Michaels,     Section B (Discovery Rd.), David Ware, Section C (Susan Constant Dr.)

There were no nominations from the floor.  Tom Brown made a motion to accept the candidates proposed; Peter Mooz seconded that motion.  The nominations were carried by unanimous vote.

The meeting adjourned at 4:15 pm.