On Friday, Aug 14th, City Council received a letter from the applicant formally withdrawing their application for consideration.
This letter sighted several reasons for the withdraw, specifically:
“Given that the current district representative is unable to vote on this matter, we have not had a Council representative to help facilitate communication between the developer and the residents. We are hopeful one or more Councilmembers will agree to coordinate an event (or perhaps series of events) for both sides to improve communication and provide education on the need for sensitive redevelopment and providing quality housing.”
I am committed to making sure that constructive public feedback is heard on the issue and that all groups wishing to weigh in are heard. Council should have high standards on public outreach, these type of standards ensure the most community buy-in and help create projects that are assets to neighborhoods. Over the course of the last several weeks, I have spoken with various leadership on both the developer’s side as well as residents in the community and civic league.
This development request has brought up crucial questions, that are apart of a much larger picture and worthy of vigours discussion – what does the future of Virginia Beach Blvd look like? With aging infrastructure and empty commercial development, a comprehensive review of what redevelopment will look like down this major artery of our city should be thoughtfully considered.
We do and will have a future need for more flexible and affordable housing options for not only our senior communities, but also our young professionals and families looking for that transition point between an apartment and single-family homes. We also have struggling retail which could see a reinvigoration if proper mixed-use and/or a proper mix of emerging (low impact) manufacturing was accomplished, but quality public input is the key starting point moving forward.
These are the kinds of questions we need to start asking and planning for so that the City of Virginia Beach is ready when an opportunity knocks, but without the support of the residents, these ideas are dead on arrival.