The meeting reconvened just after 9 A.M. this morning. Things began with a review of Thursday afternoon's answers and input.
Six tables then held discussions on various principles: efficient land use, urban services and infrastructure, compatible mix of uses, Transportation, human-scale design, and environmental stewardship. The ideas were then shared with the full group before we broke for a shorter and (IMO) better lunch than Thursday.
After lunch the Strategic Growth Area (SGA) was divided into five zones, with separate tables dealing in details for each zone. People started to file out around 2:50 P.M., so we adjourned without gathering everyone together again.
Most of all, I'm happy to report that things look safe on Weaver Drive. The only thing in the plans of concern nearby is a generic notation to make the Virginia Beach Boulevard/Witchduck Road intersection a "gateway".
This afternoon The Virginian-Pravda went online with a story on the meetings: http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/virginia-beach-leaders-thinking-big-plans-pembroke
A few comments:
1. Housing - as this is one of four SGAs compatible for housing, expect the final plan to have a large dose of residential.
2. Municipal Center - while one lady kept insisting on moving the Municipal Center to the SGA, the only two parcels suitable are under contract for private redevelopment. Expect this attempt to move the City government to the Central Business District to die as hard and quick as the previous.
3. Arena - it would be adjacent to the Witchduck Road light rail station, making for easy access (in due course) from elsewhere in Hampton Roads. The site centers on a former steel facility. Given the environmental issues associated with it's previous use, it's unfit for residential.
4. Light rail - without a Redevelopment Authority, it's essential as the catalyst for redevelopment.
The story mentions "4-5 stations"; at one table yesterday, a real estate mogul was pushing for 5. However, today's Transportation submission had 3: Witchduck Road, Aragona Boulevard, and Town Center. Those three would leave everything along the rail line in the SGA in the quarter mile Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) radius of a station, so more aren't needed.
5. Thalia Creek Greenway - it was already in City plans, and the consensus was to incorporate it. A few people had more ambitious ideas, centered on dredging Thalia Creek to allow charter and party boats to sail in from the Chesapeake Bay via the Lynnhaven River.