Wednesday evening saw a Presentation on Virginia Beach's 12 Strategic Growth Areas (SGAs) to the Council of Civic Organizations (CCO), Virginia Beach's civic league federation.
First, some basic facts. Virginia Beach has less than 5,000 acres of greenfields left for development north of the Green Line. Roughly 60% of Virginia Beach's housing units (over 170k) are single-family detached, clearly a suburban development pattern. The Green Line has existed since 1986, dividing the suburban north from the rural south.
Going into the 2003 Comprehensive Plan process, residents asked for three things: growth management, transportation, and open space.
The SGAs were produced. They look to become pockets of urban redevelopment, absorbing most of Virginia Beach's future growth. The SGAs were intentionally kept out of existing residential neighborhoods, so as not to destabilize good ones. Average density in Virginia Beach is 3.5-4 units per scare, while the SGAs are zoned 7-11 units per acre. There are six basic principles: defined growth areas, mix of residential and non-residential, well-planned arrangement of uses, parking structures, alternative transportation systems, and urban open spaces. In the new Comprehensive Plan, the "arrangement of uses" will be better defined.
Serious public comment followed two lines:
1. While the Resort Area isn't a SGA, it's the "honorary 13th". Residents wondered why it wasn't the 13th. The primary point is that it contains existing neighborhoods that the City wishes to preserve.
2. I asked, that with Virginia Beach neither having a Redevelopment Authority nor having a realistic shot at getting one, how crucial is light rail to the SGAs along the Norfolk Southern Corridor? Tom Pauls replied (please note, VBTA) "very important."
I said "serious" comment as 2004 Mayoral candidate flop and political buffoon Al Wallace showed up, his first CCO meeting in 9 months. First, he tried to hog the question time for himself. Second, Al asked about the Oceana AICUZ lines being impacted by the F-22. Tom Pauls pointed out that the F-22 is an Air Force plane that isn't flown by the Navy. (Al is a former Naval officer?!?)
Within a week or two the City of Virginia Beach should have a website up to solicit public comment for the new Comprehensive Plan.