Thursday, February 28, 2008

Resort Area Strategic Action Plan Charete (Round 2, Day 1)

This afternoon there was a Charete on Virginia Beach's pending Resort Area Strategic Action Plan from 2-5 P.M. at the convention center. The meeting was well-attended, with 10 tables of citizens drawing up blueprints for the redevelopment of the Resort Area.

The consulting team from Sasaki had broken up the Resort Area into three sections, with three redevelopment options for each section. Participants at each table then played mix-and-match with the components, effectively drawing up 10 draft plans. There were some common features in a majority of them:

1. Redevelopment of Atlantic Avenue along "the Hilton model": high-rise hotels with adjacent green space on the east side of Atlantic, having parking garages with retail on the west side of Atlantic.

2. Mixed use redevelopment in the Central Beach area extending back to the convention center.

3. A top-notch hotel at Rudee Loop, accompanied by enhanced use of Winston-Salem Avenue.

4. Light rail coming to the convention center via Norfolk Avenue and the Colony Trailer Park.

Groups differed on how to redevelop Colony: single-family homes or multi-family units? (Our table went with the latter, which is more conducive to light rail.)

5. Additional green space for the Resort Area.

The afternoon did have it's humor:

1. Reporting for his table, Mike Barrett spoke on what political opposition the Plan faced, "There's a group that meets at Marian Manor...." Laughter broke out. He then continued, "I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes." No, Mike, the joke about the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) was fun.

2. All three options for South Beach took Councilman John Uhrin's hotel.

The group reconvenes tomorrow from 1-3 P.M. To be covered:

1. Sasaki will present a Plan, drawn from the common elements of our input. They will work Thursday evening and Friday morning to get it done.

2. A transportation plan to connect it all will be done.

3. Strategies for implementing the Plan will be covered.

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