Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday In P-Town

Today I went to Portsmouth. There was the last in a series of public meetings on the redrawing of Portsmouth's Master Transportation Plan.

1. The meeting at Norcom High School was pretty well attended for a Saturday. There was a reporter there who took my picture and name.

The plans were only in the embryonic stage. That included no recommendations on mass transit yet. The two Staffers working on that portion and I had a nice talk.

What struck me was the excellent land planning. It was classic urban: focus points with Transportation corridors connecting them, mixed-use in the corridors, etc.

However, where Virginia Beach could learn a lesson was in how the public involvement is being handled: earlier in the process, more public meetings, given more latitude, etc. If we used the Portsmouth model at the Beach, we might not have the public outcry over some of the City's proposals....

2. Leaving the meeting, I walked from Norcom back to the High Street Ferry Landing. (Great exercise.) On the last portion, I went via London Street. There were two "For Lease" signs and one "For Rent" sign. After a few minutes something struck me: no "For Sale" signs either on London or the streets heading north.

Here's the rub: the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) is constantly telling us that people are being taxed out of their homes at the Beach. Uh...Portsmouth has by far the highest Property Tax rate in the region. By the VBTA's logic, Portsmouth residents should be selling their homes in droves. Why was no one at all selling?

3. If you have problems with the 7-11s in Virginia Beach, don't shop 7-11 in Portsmouth. You've been warned.


Anonymous said...

You need to study the difference between tax rate and Real estate tax assessment. Once you do then you will understand why people are being taxed out of their home in Virginia Beach.
In your defense I would say you are probably a cliff dweller( apartment renter)and not very aware that Virginia Beach has the highest residential real estate taxes in the region.. Chesapeake is close..
Good Luck

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 5:37,

I know the difference between the two, and have heard VBTAers make tha argument. They'll look at average Property Taxes paid per dwelling, then claim we're highest in the region and should cut to be in line with our neighbors.

The flaw: it assumes the cost of delivering services is uniform across cities. Virginia Beach has lower density than either Portsmouth or Norfolk, plus covers a much larger land area. Therefore, the per dwelling cost of service delivery will be higher.

Anonymous said...

The Downtown Tunnel does NOT support the choo choo to nowhere

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 8:45,

Portsmouth's current plan is bring bring light rail through the planned second tube of the Midtown Tunnel.

Anonymous said...

I heard Downtown Tunnel as well. No one will ride this money pit choo choo to nowhere. No one rides the bondoggle busses anyways so why would anyone use this silly train? The Downtown and Midtown tunnels are backed up as it is

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 8:58,

No sane person is going to take out a traffic lane to put LRT through the Downtown Tunnel. You'd have to sink a new tube to do it. Given the cost and the state's funding problems, it won't happen for the forseeable future.

No one rides the buses? Tell that to the over 18 million passengers that HRT carries annually.

It's been proven elsewhere that people who won't ride a bus will ride a train. Ask Minneapolis.

Avenging Archangel said...



Anonymous said...

Am I hearing correctly? The Tide through an expanded Downtown Tunnel or is this some a-hole troll?

To the Troll: my brother and I take buses exclusively and CHOOSE not to drive

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but your flaw needs much more in the way of explanation..
I'm a VB residential taxpayer.
I feel that the tax we pay as homeowners is the highest in the Hampton Roads Region. I believe Chesapeake is a close second..
The bottom line is your tax bill.
This is not a contest.
I don't believe the VBTA or the City Managers office has been completely straight with us.
I do like to review and examine the reasons. But I read a certain amount of bias in your writing.

Anonymous said...

"Choo choo to nowhere" and "people being taxed out of their homes." Sounds like the VBTA is reading your blog a lot more!