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July Newsletter

 View this newsletter online at http://www.greeningchesapeake.com/

Green Drinks Chesapeake - Wednesday, July 31

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, July 31 from 6 pm to 8 pmLocation and guest speaker to be announced; we may or may not be at YNot Pizza.   Among other topics we'll discuss the Trails and Connectivity Plan (greeningchesapeake.com) and we also hope to have a related letter with comments to the Planning Commission ready for folks to sign on to. 

What is Green Drinks?  Green Drinks is mostly for people working on environmental issues, but anyone can come -- people from environment groups, business, government, academia, and as individuals. There is no 'us and them'. Green Drinks is a chance to mingle, share insights, inspire and delight each other. Come out and order some food or a drink (each participant pays for their own drinks and food; if drinking, please do so responsibly!) and join the conversation. Please do share the invite with others who may be interested. 

City Council Updates

  • On June 25, approved the revised Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CPBA) district boundaries.  The revised map included feedback from the Friends of Indian River, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Wetlands Watch, and Fernwood Farms Civic League.  We identified multiple areas that it was in the best interest to keep in the CBPA District, including the forested wetlands of Fernwood Farms and smaller sections in the Western Branch and some new areas to add in Western Branch and the Indian River area.  Overall, the City agreed on not removing around 280 acres and adding an additional 14 acres to add to the CBPA District.   See full change package at 06-25-24-Item-14_PLANNING (cityofchesapeake.net)
  • On June 18, approved a change to the Zoning Ordinance changing how Agricultural subdivision happen with the goal to prevent unplanned development in rural areas. to change the way Agricultural subdivision happen to prevent unplanned "by right" development in rural areas.  It requires a preservation easement on property being so subdivided to provide a mechanism of enforcement to ensure these parcels are used as originally proposed by the land owner.   Version A was approved. (Ritter/Whitaker)(6-3)(de Triquet, Ike, and Newins voted no).  See PLN-TXT-2023-013_Attachments.pdf (cityofchesapeake.net)
  • On June 11, voted down a proposed Advisory Referendum for Single Member Voting Wards (Ward/Carey) (3-6) (Bunn, deTriquet, Newins, Ritter, West, and Whitaker voted no)
  • Among the Zoning changes approved by the City Council in June were:
    • The project looking to build on Battlefield Blvd just north of the hospital.
    • A project for a container storage and stacking conditional use permit; the site looks like it's already something of a junk yard with a minor increase in landscaping due to the proposed new use.
      Coming up in July:
  • On July 9, the City Council will again consider a resolution to authorize and direct the city attorney to petition the Circuit Court to call advisory referendums on "a proposed ordinance imposing a fee to establish a curbside recycling program."  The referendum question would be "Should City Council adopt an ordinance imposing a mandatory fee of up to $10 per month on all households that receive City trash service in order to reestablish curbside recycling for those household only." 
  • Also in July, the City Council will consider several zoning changes including
    • Springton at Grassfield, a 172.5 acre Planned Unit Development along Dominion Blvd.  Most of this land is cleared agricultural land or fallow; it would add 1200 homes - 720 multi-family homes, 455 townhomes, 176 single family homes; it would ultimately add about 25 acres of tree canopy.  Planning Commission recommends Approval
    • McGhee’s Concrete on Bainbridge Blvd. Planning Commission recommends Approval
    • An apartment/condo complex at the south terminus of Kingsborough Square, i.e. behind the Food Lion off Battlefield. This would clear about 6 acres of woods, with only about 1.5 acres of trees replanted. Planning Commission recommends Approval
    • A YMCA Athletic Field in Great Bridge just off the end of Etheridge Manor Blvd. This would clear about 8 acres of trees. Planning Commission recommends Approval

July Planning Commission Meeting - July 10 Meeting Agendas & Videos | Chesapeake, VA (cityofchesapeake.net).  A couple of the more noteworthy items include

  • Medium Density Residential project on Joliff Road putting 146 single family and town homes on 30.8 acres.  It does preserve area in CBPA.
  • A proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to permit R-6 Residential development in the Urban Overlay District.  R-6 is a legacy zoning district allowing single-family dwellings on lots with a minimum lot size of 6,000 sq. ft.  Currently, no new property may be rezoned to R-6, the minimum for single-family homes being R-8, i.e. 8000 sq. ft lots.  This was requested by Councilmember Whitaker with the rationale that attractive development has occurred on 6,000 sq. ft. lots and this may provide the benefit of better affordability.  Any parcel requesting to be rezoned to R-6 would need to go through the rezoning process and be approved by the City Council.   The Urban Overlay is essentially the northern parts of the City covering South Norfolk, Indian River, Greenbrier, and Deep Creek North and Camelot.

Virginia League of Conservation Voters Conservation Scorecard

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has released their 2024 Conservation Scorecard for this year's General Assembly.  It reviews various environment related bills that were considered in Richmond this year and how legislators voted on them - and whether they were signed into law by the Governor.   Read more at 2024 Conservation Scorecard (greeningchesapeake.com)

Greenbrier Area Plan

The Greenbrier Area Plan envisions significantly increasing the density of the Greenbrier area with considerable new urban mixed-use development, new neighbor scale and age-targeted housing, adding a large capacity regional multi-purpose athletic/entertainment facility, all while enhancing the commercial retail environment and serving a major urban employment center.  One stated goal is to improve the Quality of Life for residents and workers in the Greenbrier area "by strengthening the appeal and livability of the built environment and the availability and quality of services provided."  

Focusing a greater portion of the City's growth in existing parts of the city rather than low-density "suburban sprawl" can result in preservation of open space and agricultural lands on the outskirts of the City. But in order for increased density to have provide a real benefit of bringing people and business together, the area needs to have strongly enhanced pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure to encourage people to get out of their cars.  Otherwise, if all the extra people living and working in the area are forced to rely on automobiles, the plan will result in severe traffic congestion.   We also need to figure out how to grow our urban forest while building more housing, including more affordable housing.   And all this new development needs to factor in a 21st century building standards, high quality of life, and climate resilience.   

Read more thoughts about this at Greenbrier Area Plan (greeningchesapeake.com)

More Upcoming Dates

Action Alerts
  • Share your feedback on Chesapeake Comp Plan charts by July 7 at Focus Areas: Comprehensive Plan Update (arcgis.com)
  • Hampton Roads Transit is accepting applications for the installation of bike racks and repair stations, that promote cycling as a sustainable transportation option in communities. Applications close September 30.  Applicants may include Bike Groups, Cities and Counties, Schools, Military Installations, and Other relevant organizations. Learn more at Bike Boost » Traffix (gotraffix.com).

In the News

Stay on top of the latest news and join the conversation in our Facebook group at Greening Chesapeake


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Kicking off this new blog for 2024 to work on the goal to green Chesapeake by increasing natural area - green spaces and blueways - across the City.   Steps include protecting existing tree canopy, encouraging protection of natural areas, and planting trees and native plants across the City on public, institutional, commercial, and residential properties.   Other key tenants to building a greener city include connectivity - enabling people to reach destinations safely by foot, bicycle, and public transit, not just automobiles - and adopting sustainable practices. Stay tuned for information about upcoming events, actions, and information related to Greening Chesapeake.