The Community Advocate
Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations P.O. Box 9252 Virginia Beach, VA 23450-9252
Does Richmond Love Me?
................................................... February 13, 7pm to 8:30pm
Virginia Beach Central Library 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd Auditorium
During our February General Meeting, Virginia House of Delegate Members will present information on the 2008 Legislative Package. Discussion will include new laws and proposed legislation addressed by the Virginia General Assembly. VBCCO is highlighting a community at each general meeting. February’s community spotlight is Green Run Homes. CCO will hold a 50/50 raffle to raise funds for operating expenses, so bring a few dollars with you to help CCO and for a chance to win half of the night’s wager. CCO’s Executive Committee Meets
................................................... February 27, 7pm to 9:00pm
Glenwood Community Center, 2097 Round Hill Drive
Upcoming Program Topics The above schedule is tentative and is subject to change. Feb 13
Does Richmond Love Me? Community Focus: Green Run Homes Assn
Aging Neighborhoods: Revitalize or Redevelop Community Focus: Princess Anne Community
What can we do now? Moderated by Joel Rubin Community Focus: Carolanne Farm Civic League
All VBCCO meetings will begin at 7pm at VA Beach Central Library. UPCOMING EVENTS: Feb 23
Civic Revitalization Workshop
Volume 49 - Number 2
Blue Ribbon Task Force Report Goes to City Council By Daniel Baxter, VBCCO First Vice President and Blue Ribbon Task Force Representative
In January 2008 City Council received the full report from the Blue Ribbon Tax, Fee and Pending Task Force. The Task Force was empanelled in response to the cumulative impact of increasing property tax assessments on residents of Virginia Beach. The mission of the Task Force was to evaluate both tax revenue sources and budget drivers within the city and offer options to city leaders. The work of the task force will also be useful in the coming years as tax assessments on residential property will moderate as property values adjust from the double digit increases that have been seen in recent years. This is coupled with the possible passage of a “Homestead Exemption” in 2009 or 2010. The report was comprised over 4 months of research by a team that included, Business professionals, Economists, Attorneys, School System representatives, Civic Leaders, City Council members, former City
Council Members and two members of the State Delegation to the Senate and General Assembly. The work of the task force was augmented by a team of eight city staff personnel. The Task Force was divided into two sub committees, one dealing with Revenue and one for Expenditures. Each team conducted research and interviews to obtain the necessary information to evaluate situations and recommend some action. The 45 page document was presented over two Informal City Council sessions. Prominent local Attorney Robert Goodman presented the findings and recommendations on the Revenue Subcommittee and Dr. Maggie Sizer, Dean of Strayer University Virginia Beach presented the findings of the Expenditures Committee. While the city is not obligated to act on the recommendations of the Task Force, the process was successful in engaging the public in a new and innovative way.
Detailed information on the Task Force and its recommendations can be found at www.vbgov.com http://www.vbgov.com/file_source/dept/mcg/WebPage/ HotTopics/BlueRibbon/Documents/ blue_ribbon_task_force_final_report.pdf
By Brenda Armitage, Luminary Committee Chairperson
Share Your Light Night Virginia Beach We’re Lighting the Way!
Participating leagues from December’s event held a very exciting Share Your Light Night (SYL Night) planning meeting January 18th. During our first citywide show, we learned a great deal from our successes, evaluated areas where we can improve, and cultivated a plan to further our success. We’re excited, energized and looking forward to sharing our light with others for many years to come. Show your community spirit! Join these leagues now so this year’s event will be bigger and brighter. With early commitments, we will be able to more accurately estimate the number of luminaries needed and insure the availability of the safest and brightest products available at the best price (nearly wholesale) from a not-forprofit organization, Illuminate A Cause. Over the next few months, we will be gathering samples to share with interested groups. To allow enough time for overseas shipping, we will start collecting pledge orders in September.
Let us know soon if you have interest in either helping plan the event or to pledge some level of participation in illuminating your neighborhood. If we reach the goal of filling a cargo container, the shipment will arrive on time directly into a Hampton Roads port, and at lower cost. Many leagues will be lighting their neighborhood’s entrance with SYL Night luminaries, as well as offering order forms to their neighbors so they can obtain these reusable luminaries to display along their yard’s edge to continue the ribbon of light throughout our City. Every Virginia Beach citizen, no matter if they have an active civic league or not, is encouraged to participate. Remember, this is a city-wide tradition held by its citizens and will become one of our City’s signatures during the winter. I also foresee the City becoming more involved this year. I believe in the value of having organized neighborhoods. This event offers the ideal environment to grow civic leagues, whether acting as moisture to revive the
Clean Community Update
wilting or be the seedlings planted in fertile soil. Today, pledge to discuss this event with your Board of Directors or with your Garden Club. This event will bed in another stepping stone on the path of true citizenship. With your help, this uniting and empowering event will eventually touch the lives of every single citizen of this City, both young and old. To help get the word out, consider sharing the link below with those on your email contact lists, bookmark the site, and share photos from www.shareyourlightnight.blogspot.com Together, we will unite our City. Will your group unite with this cause? For more information, email the event coordinator at email@example.com or call 328-9588. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
By Daniel Baxter, VBCCO First Vice President
VBClean has several projects that might be of interest to our members. The commission began its service in 1980 and has been the focal point of community empowerment through promoting a clean and beautiful community. Many communities have found programs supported by the Commission useful in Empowering the neighborhood and improving relations with the City of Virginia Beach. In 2007 program participants saved the city of Virginia Beach over $500,000.00 in costs. For more information on these programs, please contact VBClean at 385.4104.
Earth Day Earth Day 2008 is scheduled for Sunday May 4th 2008 from 12 to 5 PM... In addition to over 50 displays and entertainment, this year’s event will include several work shops designed to help home owners be more aware if things that they can do to preserve the environment while lowering energy usage and saving money. The Virginia Beach Earth Day event is the largest local such event providing a unique avenue for education on stewardship and conservation efforts in Hampton Roads. The event attracts 5,000 to 20,000 people per year. Volunteers are needed to work on the preparation of the event in any of twelve sub committees that coordinate all aspects of the event. The team meets on alternating Monday evenings at the Parks and Landscape Services Conference Room.
Trees Outgrowing The Yard?
By Michael A. Inman, Esq. of Inman & Strickler, PLC
Let’s talk trees....or more specifically - encroaching tree limbs. Many of you have encountered the issue of the rights of property owners to cut off or trim limbs of neighbors trees and/or the damage resulting from a limb (or entire tree) falling from neighboring property causing damage to property on the other side of the property line. The general rule in Virginia is that you may trim any portion of a neighbor's tree that crosses the property line onto your property. But what about roots that are damaging your driveway or limbs that are very high and threaten to cause serious damage if they fall due to their nearly dead condition? Fortunately, last month the Virginia Supreme Court came out with a new decision with a new rule about damage to neighboring property by tree roots and limbs. Below is a summary of the case for your reading pleasure, but the bottom line is that the court says that encroaching trees and plants can be regarded as a nuisance when they caused actual harm or posed an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property. In those cases, the owner of the tree or plant not only could be held responsible for harm caused to adjoining property, but he could be required to cut back the encroaching branches or roots that constituted a nuisance. In other words, an injunction was an available remedy. In fact, the Supreme Court noted that requiring the owner to cut off the invading roots and branches, with an award of damages, might not afford an adequate and permanent remedy, so that requiring complete removal of the tree could be required. Fancher v. Fagella, Virginia Supreme Court, Sept 14, 2007 – Encroaching trees can be found to be a legal nuisance, and their owners can be required to cut back branches and roots and pay damages where they have failed to do so causing harm to the neighboring property. The Supreme Court had before it two neighbors, who owned adjacent townhomes in Fairfax County. A sweet gum tree grew on Fagella's property, about two feet from a retaining wall that divided the properties. Fancher filed suit against Fagella in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, alleging that the tree was a noxious nuisance, that its root system had damaged and displaced the retaining wall between the properties, displaced the pavers on Fancher’s patio, caused blockage of his sewer and water pipes, and impaired the foundation of his house. Fancher also complained that the tree's branches hung over his roof and deposited leaves and gumballs onto his roof and gutters. He claimed that he had tried to repair the damage to the retaining wall and the rear foundation of his house and to cut back the overhanging branches, but these steps were ineffectual because the tree and its root system continued to expand. Fancher sought an injunction requiring Fagella to remove the tree and its invading root system entirely. He also sought an
award of damages to cover the cost of restoring the property to its former condition. Based on a 1939 Virginia Supreme Court case, Smith v. Holt, 174 Va. 213, 5 S.E.2d 492 (1939), Judge Keith in the Circuit Court determined that equitable relief was not available. Consequently, he struck Fancher's count seeking an injunction, but he retained for further decision the claim for damages. The Virginia Supreme Court, relying on an infrequentlyutilized provision of law, allowed Fancher an immediate appeal of this ruling, without his having to wait until the case was fully decided by the Circuit Court. On appeal, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the Circuit Court correctly applied the 1939 case, but it decided that it was time to revisit the old rule. The Supreme Court reviewed four basic approaches that various courts had taken when dealing with similar cases. The Court analyzed the reasoning behind the four approaches and decided, at least when dealing with neighbors in non-agricultural areas, that the Hawaii Rule was appropriate. The Supreme Court held that encroaching trees and plants were not nuisances just because they cast shade, dropped leaves, flowers, or fruit, or happened to encroach upon adjoining property. However, encroaching trees and plants could be regarded as a nuisance when they caused actual harm or posed an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property. In those cases, the owner of the tree or plant not only could be held responsible for harm caused to adjoining property, but he could be required to cut back the encroaching branches or roots that constituted a nuisance. In other words, an injunction was an available remedy. In fact, the Supreme Court noted that requiring the owner to cut off the invading roots and branches, with an award of damages, might not afford an adequate and permanent remedy, so that requiring complete removal of the tree could be required. The Supreme Court carefully qualified its holding by clarifying that in some cases no duty existed on the owner's part to protect his neighbor’s land from damage caused by the tree. For example, the Court stated that it clearly was unreasonable to impose such a duty on the owner of historically forested or agricultural land. In the case before it, however, where the parties lived on adjoining residential lots, the duty existed. The case was sent back to the Circuit Court for further proceedings.
VBCCO Committees in Action Does your neighborhood have a civic league? Is it active? Is it meeting its potential? Did You Know? VBCCO has representatives serving on the following City of Virginia Beach Committees.
Blue Ribbon Tax, Fee and Spending Taskforce The Local Tax and Fee Structure (Revenues) Subcommittee shall comprehensively analyze the impact of the City's revenue sources and taxing structure and identify alternative tax and fee funding sources designed specifically to reduce the City's dependency on real estate tax revenues. The Local Spending Subcommittee (Expenditures) shall develop spending policies and strategies supported and defined by spending ratios and measures that guide and/or control spending within sustainable levels.
Green Ribbon Committee The Committee makes recommendations on how the city can improve water quality with a focus that includes: • Means of developing property; and • Supporting infrastructure that: • Minimize the use of natural resources; • Reduce harmful effects on water quality; and • Create healthier environments. The Committee will advise the City Council on regulatory and other methods of improving water quality in the City’s waterways by: • Reducing the impact and extent of site impervious cover — surfaces like asphalt, cement and roofing that prevent infiltration of rainfall into the soil, thereby disrupting the water cycle and affecting the quality of our water resources; • Preserving and enhancing existing
If you answered "no" to any of those questions, come talk with others and discover solutions at VBCCO’s
CIVIC REVITALIZATION WORKSHOP DATE: Saturday, February 23, 2008 TIME: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. PLACE: Kempsville Public Library 832 Kempsville Road Topics Include: Communication, Newsletters and Generational Considerations Basics of Holding a Meeting Event Planning Member Recruitment Welcoming Committee Neighborhood Watch Refreshments will be provided Participation by reservation only Call by February 16 Thelma Carroll 420-5055
VBCCO Committees in Action 2008/2009 VBCCO Banquet
By Daniel Baxter, VBCCO Banquet Committee Chairperson
As the Chair for the 2008/2009 Banquet Committee, I wish to express my appreciation for the hard work and coordination that contributed to making this year's event a success. All who attended enjoyed the event.
Congratulations to all who were nominated by their civic leagues for awards. As is the tradition with each passing event, we evaluate what has been successful and areas where we can improve our events. The 2007 committee has submitted the following items for consideration... Please review and offer your comments: •
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Hold the 2009 event at the same location, and consider reserving the date and venue for the next two to three years, to simplify the planning process. Pick a date now for the 2009 and 2010 events. Begin accepting credit cards for payment. Reduce confusion by creating a separate, single address for all banquet payments and reservations. Set a firmer deadline for award submissions and offer an early-bird discount to encourage early reservations. Continue selling tables which was highly successful. Charge a surcharge for anyone who pays at the door. Establish a timetable for each step of the banquet process. Create a post-event feedback survey. Sponsors were very happy with the event; recommend expanding this for future events. Expand VIP invitation list and include anyone who has done a presentation to VBCCO Modify award criteria so that VBCCO officers and directors are not eligible for a citywide award. Hire a professional Master of Ceremonies for future events. Have greater continuity of committee members from year to year.
CONGRATULATIONS Chandler Scarborough receives the Environmental Catalyst Award The Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission presented the Environmental Catalyst Award to Chandler Scarborough on November 2, 2007 at the Environmental Service Recognition Breakfast.
Henry Ryto receives perfect attendance award from the Resort Advisory Commission Henry was recognized as the only Commissioner with a perfect attendance record for 2007.
Did You Know? continued natural resources; • Integrating stormwater management to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of the overall system; and • Utilizing such other means as are effective and practicable.
Health Needs Assessment The Health Needs Assessment VBCCO representative met with the City and over 200 citizens to assist the City in determining the needs of the citizens regarding health issues, such as hospitals, insurance and clinics. More information coming soon.
Resort Advisory Commission The general purpose of the Resort Advisory Commission is to review and make recommendations to City Council regarding projects and issues associated with the Oceanfront Resort Area, and such other resort and/or tourismrelated projects and issues as the Council may refer to the Commission. The Commission's goal is to support the City Council's efforts to realize its vision of Virginia Beach as a quality resort destination. The Resort Advisory Commission meets on the first Thursday of the month at 3:00 P.M.; the usual meeting location is the Virginia Beach Convention Center at 1000 19th Street.
School Board Building Utilization Committee The School Board Building Utilization Committee meets to review school districts and school buildings usage.
Hampton Roads Transit Pending Resolution
by Henry Ryto, VBCCO Executive Committee Member and Resort Advisory Commission Representative
Below is the Hampton Roads Transit Pending Resolution on Bus Service in Virginia Beach to be voted on at the February 13, 2008 VBCCO General Meeting. Whereas current mass transit service in Virginia Beach is woefully inadequate,
Whereas HRT would leave the seasonal service untouched or reduce it as a measure of last resort. Whereas HRT has a draft plan that would increase current service by twenty percent.
Whereas some City Council members have noted the number of residents who have urged them to increase service,
Therefore be it resolved that we, the civic league representatives of the residents of Virginia Beach, do hereby petition the City Council to eliminate the proposed cuts;
Whereas in a January 9 meeting City Staff asked Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) to cut current service by $1.2 million in the next fiscal year,
If any cuts must be made, the seasonal service should be reduced in at least as large a proportion as the year-round routes;
Whereas such funds only amount to onequarter of one cent on the Property Tax rate,
Finally, that HRT's plan for a twenty percent increase in service be implemented as quickly as possible.
Whereas such a large cut would mean possibly eliminating entire bus routes and/or weekend service,
Clean Community Update
By Daniel Baxter, VBCCO First Vice President
Civic leagues that have supported the event in past years are invited to join over 2200 of our neighbors in Virginia Beach and help to clean neighborhoods and waterways through out the city. Clean the Bay Day is truly a Virginia Beach event.
Clean the Bay Day 20th Anniversary Clean the Bay Day which was begun by several local boaters (Some of whom were also civic leaders) is scheduled for June will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary on Saturday, June 7, 2008. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be hosting a combative reception on the afternoon of June 7 2008 at Mount Trashmore Park. The site was chosen from many through out Hampton Roads for the event Mount Trashmore was chosen to since Virginia Beach was the starting point for the event.
Helping Hands/ Saturday Yard Make-over \
This program is designed to connect our senior citizens and disabled neighbors with volunteers who work to clean yards of debris and remove obstructions to vision that keep property entrances visible from the street. The program uses volunteer labor and equipment with the support of the Landscape Services Division of the Parks and Landscape Services Department.
Storm Drain Marker Program Did you know that Virginia Beach has over 50,000 storm drains? Most all of these storm drains empty into waterways with others draining into the 400 storm water retention ponds that are in nearly every neighborhood in Virginia Beach. VBClean has:
Targeted Clean Up/ Adopt-A-Programs Got an area of your neighborhood that could use a clean up? VBClean has a series of programs and events that are set up to coordinate resources with needs in neighborhoods. From one time targeted events to restore a neighborhood resource to adoption opportunities, VBClean can link civic leagues with the resources available to make your community cleaner and more beautiful.
Attention VBCCO Members and Friends: Are you receiving the newsletter in your preferred method?
Do you want it mailed to you? Do you want it emailed to you? To your home? To your place of employment? To a P O Box? Please let us know your preferred method of delivery by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any CCO member-in-good-standing may reprint any article from the CCO newsletter or website provided that no changes are made to the article and that CCO is cited as the original source. Non-members may request permission to reprint CCO articles.
VBCCO Member Civic Organizations Aeries on the Bay* Alanton* Alexandria Aragona Village* Avalon Hills* Avalon Terrace/Woods of Avalon* Back Bay / Pungo* Bay Breeze Villas* Baycliff* Baylake Pines* Bayville Park Bellamy Plantation* Bellamy Woods* Bellwood Estates* Birchwood* Birdneck Lake Homes* Birdneck Point* Blackwater* Brigadoon* Brighton on the Bay* Broad Bay Island Broad Bay Pt. Gr. Cambridge Courts* Cape Henry Shores* Cape Story By The Sea* Carolanne Farm* Cavalier Park/Bay Colony* Chancellor Walk Charlestowne Lakes S. Charlestowne Woods* Chelsea-Green Hill Fms-Mead.* Chesapeake Beach* Cheshire* Chesopeian Colony* Columbus Station* Croatan* Cypress Point* Deerwood Trace Diamond Lake Estates Fairfield* Glenwood* Great Neck Estates* Great Neck Point Green Run* Groveland Park Hidden Oaks Holland Pines Homestead* Hunt Club Forest* Inlynnview Kempsville Greens* Kingâ€™s Grant* Kingâ€™s Point Lago Mar Lake Edward Lake Holly North Lake Shores* Lake Smith*
Lakeview Park* Lakeville Estates* Lamplight Manor* Larkspur* Laurel Cove* Level Green* Linkhorn Cove* Linlier* Little Haven* Little Neck Cove* Lynbrook Landing Lynnhaven Colony* Lynnhaven Woods Manchester Village* Mediterranean Avenue S.* New Light* Newcastle - Princeton* North Alanton* North Virginia Beach* Ocean Park* Oceana Gardens* Park Place* Pembroke Manor* Pine Meadows Princess Anne Crossing* Princess Anne Plaza* Red Mill Farms Ridglea* River Haven* Riverton on the Elizabeth Rudee Heights* Salt Marsh Point* Salem Woods* Sandbridge Beach* Scarborough Square* Sea Breeze Farm* Seagate Colony Seatack* Shadowlawn* Sherry Park* Shore Acres* Southall Quarter* Stratford Chase Thalia* The Villages* Thoroughgood Colony* Three Oaks* Trantwood Lake* Washington Square Wellington Woods* Witchduck* Wolfsnare Plantation* *Denotes members in Woodhurst good standing with Woodstock* 2007 dues paid.
VBCCO MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
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4604 Williamsburg Court Virginia Beach, VA 23462-2241 Return Service Requested For all except “Temporarily Away”
What’s Inside This Issue: 2008 Program Schedule
Blue Ribbon Taskforce Report Goes to City Council
Share Your Light Night
Clean Community Update
Trees Outgrowing the Yard?
VBCCO Committees in Action Community Empowerment
Did You Know?
VBCCO Committees in Action 2008/2009 VBCCO Banquet
Congratulations to Award Recipients
Clean Community Update
The Case for Light Rail
2008 Officers and Directors
Sam Reid President (757) 284-1067
Robert Heard Director email@example.com
Chandler Scarborough Immediate Past President firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Kerr Director email@example.com
Dan Baxter First Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry Ryto Director email@example.com
Jermaine Hannah Second Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Nuszkiewicz Recording Secretary email@example.com Kim Rizzo Correspondence Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Joe Yurso Treasurer email@example.com
Todd Solomon Director firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Wiemken Director email@example.com Membership Committee Gene Moore firstname.lastname@example.org