Thalia Redevelopment Survey

Last week, the Planning Commission voted to support a Conditional Rezoning of the Thalia Wayside Village Shoppes. The applicant seeks a Conditional Rezoning of the subject property from the B-2 District Community Business District to Conditional B-4 Mixed-Use District to redevelop much of the site. The submitted proffered concept plan depicts the retention of the existing grocery store and a 10,224 square foot, free-standing commercial building located in the southwest corner of the property. The remaining commercial uses will be demolished and replaced with three new buildings.

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I listened to the input of several residents who live in the Thalia neighborhood who voiced their overwhelming opposition to the rezoning and to the project as a whole. I understand our community’s need for more affordable housing but I also understand the merits of preserving the stability of established neighborhoods. As always, I would appreciate your feedback. City Council has not yet been briefed on this project, but seeing as that this project was initially brought up months ago, I believe the residents have formed an opinion and I would like to know where our community stands on the redevelopment.

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According to the Planning Commission staff reports on June 24:

  • 261 multi-family dwelling units
  • 35,778 square feet of commercial uses
  • 553 parking spaces, which has been deemed as sufficient through a Shared Parking Analysis to accommodate parking demands at peak times
  • The Comprehensive Plan calls for the renewal of aging commercial centers that transition commercial development to residential neighborhoods
  • The entire property has been zoned B-2 Community Business District for more than 40 years
  • Consistent with the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendation for attractive site design, the layout includes a transition in building heights from the two-story single-family dwellings to the north (all but one are two-stories in height) to the three-story townhouse units closest to the northern property line to the five-story buildings closer to Virginia Beach Boulevard.
  • There is an existing wooded buffer along the northern property line and there are several mature trees throughout the site that the applicant seeks to protect and retain
  • Vehicular circulation and parking layout that is better organized than the existing condition
  • The Traffic Impact Analysis concludes that the redevelopment is not expected to produce any adverse traffic impacts to adjacent roadways or intersections; it will increase the number of Average Daily Trips as the site is currently developed, but not as much if the site were to be redeveloped by-right with more of a retail and restaurant focus
  • Staff has expressed concerns about the potential for queueing of traffic on northbound Thalia Road from the Virginia Beach Boulevard signalized intersection, and at some point in the future, Traffic Engineering Staff may require modifying vehicular access to a right-in/right-out access point
  • The applicant provided a proffer that requires the system to be designed to accommodate the City of Virginia Beach’s current 24-hour rainfall amounts plus a 20% increase as expected for future changing rainfall patterns. The proposed system will tie into the existing stormwater drainage infrastructure on-site with no changes proposed to the existing public storm sewer. The design demonstrates adequate conveyance of the runoff from the proposed development for storms up to and including the 100-year event plus 1.5 feet of sea-level rise.
  • Zoned school enrollment capacities are not expected to be adversely impacted.
  • The applicant’s intent to set aside 20% of the residential units at 80% of Area Median Income is consistent with the City Council’s goals for improving the supply of workforce housing.

5 thoughts on “Thalia Redevelopment Survey

  1. Staggered density like this is a great way to bridge the gap from the busy business corridor of VB Blvd to the quiet low density neighborhood behind. I think it fits the neighborhood much better then the previous hard border between commercial and single family housing.
    There is always some resistance to change, but if that lot was an empty field and we were looking at the option between making it in to staggered residential or a commercial warehouse the preferred option would be clear.
    I also think it’s smart of the developer to build in first floor parking to both separate residence from the nose and commotion of the existing commercial/VB Blvd as well as future proof any flooding concerns that might arise from proximity to Thalia Creek. Given that it is replacing an existing hard top it will also not likely add to any neighboring storm water issues.
    My one quip with the project is the existing tree stands. I have noticed developers in the past show existing trees preserved in their plans only for those trees to be ripped out for convenience during construction. I would want to make sure that would not be the case here with the existing tree stands shown here in the upper left and right corners that the developers currently claim they wish to preserve. Trees that are removed for the parking lot should be replaced elsewhere on the property in kind.

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  2. There is so much history at that site. It would be a shame to demolish what’s remaining.
    I dont think we need any more mixed use buildings or apartments in this section of the city.

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to gather this information. This development is in the wrong place. It belongs in one of the Strategic Growth Areas that the Comprehensive Development Plan created for just this type of development. No matter what the City Staff says, building something like this so close to a long established “great neighborhood” is contrary to the Comp Plan which calls for the preservation of the suburbs and the lifestyle. The injection of a potential 678 residents in 261 apartments comes with a litany of issues ranging from the applicant not providing enough parking, to having to spend over $2,000,000 (VBCPS numbers) to intake school students, to increases traffic on the only road in and out of the neighborhood, to stormwater concerns (especially since the existing stormwater management system failed a inspection 2 years ago and was never corrected) and especially since several of these projects currently underway dump their stormwater into the headwaters of Thalia Creek, to architecturally incompatible building styles and materials. Rezoning this parcel from B-2 to a B-4 outside an SGA sets a precedent that will allow ANY B-2, in ANY neighborhood to be rezoned B-4. This is just a bad idea for this location. It needs to move to an SGA similar to the City View II project at Bonney and Constitution.

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