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.