Saturday, March 1, 2008

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

Friday saw the continuation of the Resort Area Strategic Action Plan Charete. The session started with Sasaki (the consultants) presenting their draft plan for redevelopment of Virginia Beach's Resort Area, based on Thursday's input. Afterwards each table discussed transit options, later reporting back to the full meeting.

Politics is often described as the art of compromise, and the draft plan was a hybrid that was a compromise of the options that had been discussed. For North Beach, the previously mentioned "Hilton model" was chosen for the 100th and 200th blocks, but mid-level redevelopment for the 300th block. For Central Beach, green space along 19th Street was a hybrid of a full park just behind the Dome site, but a linear park in the next block west. In addition, housing adjacent to the light rail line is multi-family beside the track, but single-family behind it. For South Beach, some tweaks were made to cover concerns voiced on Thursday.

Under transit, the consensus now is that the eastern terminus for light rail will be on the south side of 19th Street just across from the existing convention center building. That decision was based on needing to double-track the end of the rail line (difficult at the Dome site) and the obstacles in running LRT down 19th Street. The drawing had rail coming through the center of future convention center expansion, raising alarm bells with some. That could be solved by an option discussed at our table, which brought LRT north along the eastern edge of the Colony property, terminating on the west side of the proposed convention center headquarters hotel.

There was room for political fun with tweaks to the redevelopment plan. On the one hand, I quickly noticed the Rudee Loop project footprint had been pulled back from Councilman John Uhrin's hotel. (How much lobbying did the Beach District rep have to do?) On the other hand, the draft plan selected an option to extend the 31st Street Park northward...taking the Days Inn owned by Linwood Branch's family. (Branch is a former Councilman and current President of the Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association.)

Sasaki will be back with a further refined plan for more public input in April.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good update. Keep up the good work!