Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Newsletter

Fall is in the air and the nights are getting downright chilly.  November is when we invite a member of the City Council to be the guest speaker at our monthly meeting.  So Council Member Roland Davis will be at our meeting on the 16th and we'll be discussing Aqua Virginia, the planned canoe/kayak launch, and other local issues.  Also this month's volunteer need will be to support a cleanup along Indian River Road on the 18th.

And mark your calendars .... Thursday, December 21st is our big Annual Holiday Party. This is our end of year celebration to recognize volunteers and accomplishments, and socialize. Please bring a desert to share and join the festivities. We'll have a silent auction, so you can finish some Christmas shopping too.

Sincerely,
Rogard Ross
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator



Election Day

Date: Tuesday, November 7, 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Time to go vote for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Delegate, City Clerk of the Court, and other local officers. For more information on the election and who is on the ballot, visit https://www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-outreach/upcoming-elections.html


Monthly Meeting - Guest City Council Member Roland Davis

Date: Thursday, November 16th, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Our guest this evening will be City Council Member Roland Davis.   This meeting with City Council Members is a great way to learn about how our city functions and ask questions about items of concern.

Please also consider bringing a donation of non-perishable food items for the Oaklette United Methodist Church food pantry to the meeting this evening.

There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.


Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road /Community Cleanup

Date: Saturday, November 18th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am
Starting Location: Irwin's, 4300 Indian River Road

We need your help for our quarterly cleanup.   Join us for a few hours to clean up the mile of Indian River Road from the city limits at Wingfield Avenue all the way to MacDonald Road. We are also asking all business owners along Indian River Road - and everywhere really - to make sure they sweep up in front of their storefronts as part of the effort.   And if you can't make it out for our organized cleanup please take 15 minutes and cleanup the street and ditches in front of your home; pass the word to your neighbors!

For our main cleanup on Indian River Road, the city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests. We'll have water and snacks available. Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.


Catch the King Tide

Date: Sunday, November 5th
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

The King Tide is one of the highest astronomical tides (not counting weather affects) of the year and folks will be out to map the high tide mark on that day and collect data related to flooding events using a downloaded phone app.  The main registration for helping with the King Tide has past, but if you want more information or still want to help out, respond back to this e-mail.  


Other News
  • Our Adopt-A-Park work day brought out 13 energetic volunteers 13 volunteers to prune, weed, and mulch the entrance area and native plant garden at Indian River Park.  There efforts are greatly appreciated and the entrance area is looking great.  Stop by and visit the garden and the park; the trailhead is at 2001 Rokeby Avenue. 
  • From the Norfolk Highlands Civic League, the latest news was that Aqua Virginia was reviewing the city's proposed service contract. This would enable a connection between the City and Aqua for the City to provide water for emergencies and for flushing of the Aqua water pipes. The City would also be able to provide water to the Indian River Shopping Center for fire suppression which would enable redevelopment at the site. Aqua would install fire hydrants across the western side of their service area and then upgrade the piping in the eastern side over the next several years.   
  • Clean Water Alert: Scoop That Dog Poop!  Even in your backyard.  We had a status meeting on the Eastern Branch Restoration efforts and the Indian River is still getting a failing grade on its water quality due to excessive nitrogen and phosphorous (from fertilizer) and high bacteria levels. The Elizabeth River Project and Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) have been doing studies to identify the sources of the bacteria and 85% to 90% of the samples indicate they are from dogs.  Dog owners, if you want Clean Water, we need you to do your part. Take the Scoop the Poop Pledge: http://askhrgreen.org/scoop-the-poop-pledge/
  • You can now also become a member of the Friends of Indian River, renew your membership, or make a donation online at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/membership.html

Striving to improve the quality of life for all the residents of the Indian River neighborhoods of Chesapeake, Virginia, by promoting and preserving a healthy and clean river, shorelines, parks, and green spaces connected to the surrounding community.

Website: http://friendsofindianriver.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIndianRiver
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indianriverpage

If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please reply back to info@friendsofindianriver.org with Unsubscribe in the subject line.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October Newsletter

Lots of news this month, including an update on the Aqua Virginia negotiations that affect the Indian River Shopping Center.  We've had many meetings with our partner organizations and the City and the Friends sent a letter to the City Council outlining our long term planning priorities.   At the lasted implementation meeting for the Eastern Branch Restoration Plan, we got new evidence that dog poop is one of our major water pollutants.   See Other News below for more details on these and other items.

Turning to the weather, sometimes it seems like we haven't seen a low tide in weeks.   Which brings us to a timely discussion with Wetlands Watch about sea level rise and persistent flooding in our community.  Join the discussion  at our monthly meeting on October 19th and learn how you can participate in an effort to map the flooding.    

We'll also be doing a volunteer event to spruce up the entrance area to Indian River Park on Saturday, the 21st.  And on the following Saturday, the 28th, we'll have a guided hike of the park.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the history of this century old park and its importance as critical wildlife habitat.  Join our events and learn more about your community.

Sincerely,
Rogard Ross
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator


Monthly Meeting - Wetlands Watch

Date: Thursday, October 19th, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Skip Stiles will talk with us about Wetlands Watch's work to help communities plan for and adapt to sea level rise and persistent flooding events. We'll also learn more about the King Tide monitoring effort in November and get all the latest community news. 

There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.


Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day

Date: Saturday, October 21st, 9:30 am to Noon
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

We'll be doing work around the park entrance, trailhead, and along the trails including some trail work, pruning, weeding, and cleanup.

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. If you can, bring shovels, rakes, pruners, saws and other gardening tools. We will have water and lots of snacks. (We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles).   Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.


Indian River Park Nature Trail guided walk

Date: Saturday, October 28th, 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

Join us for a hike along the nature trail and through the park.  Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations.    



Catch the King Tide

Date: Sunday, November 5th
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

We are forming a local team to "Catch the King Tide". The King Tide is one of the highest astronomical tides (not counting weather affects) of the year and folks will be out to map the high tide mark on that day and collect data related to flooding events using a downloaded phone app.  If you are on the river, you can do this right in your backyard.  Respond back to this e-mail if you are interested in participating!  Learn more at https://pilotonline.com/catch-the-king-flier/pdf_9ec7479f-f2f1-5aa0-a35a-40f66f714f57.html 



Other News
  • Last month, the City Council held a strategic planning retreat and the Friends of Indian sent them a letter with our input on long term planning.  We urged the council to find a better balance between new development and revitalization efforts in our existing neighborhoods. Key topics addressed in our letter included the need to:
  1. Budget to Support Incremental/Infill Development
  2. Create Safe and Welcoming Streets
  3. Address the Infrastructure Maintenance Backlog
  4. Develop a plan to respond to a changing retail landscape
  5. Establish a new balance between Revitalization vs. New Development
  6. Re-focus on our Sustainability Plan
            • See our full letter to the City Council at
              http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/2017/09/input-on-long-term-planning-for-city-of.html
            • Aqua Virginia negotiations with the City are progressing.  Aqua has been presented with a City-approved service contract that would enable enable a connection between the City and Aqua for the City to provide water for emergencies and for flushing of the Aqua water pipes.   The City would also be able to provide water to the Indian River Shopping Center for fire suppression which would enable redevelopment at the site.  Aqua is now reviewing the contract.  We hope to have updates in time for our October meeting.
            • Voter Registration Deadline is almost here.  Register by Monday, October 16th to vote in November's Election for our Governor and State Legislature.  https://www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/index.html
            • Clean Water Alert: Scoop That Dog Poop!  Even in your backyard.  We had a status meeting on the Eastern Branch Restoration efforts and the Indian River is still getting a failing grade on its water quality due to excessive nitrogen and phosphorous (from fertilizer) and high bacteria levels. The Elizabeth River Project and HRSD have been doing studies to identify the sources of the bacteria and 85% to 90% of the samples indicate they are from dogs.  Dog owners, if you want Clean Water, we need you to do your part. Take the Scoop the Poop Pledge: http://askhrgreen.org/scoop-the-poop-pledge/
            • Thank you to the seven volunteers who came out for our Adopt-A-Road Cleanup on Saturday! There diligence helped us remove 10 bags worth of trash from along our "Main Street" and ultimately keep that trash out of our waterways too.
            • You can now also become a member of the Friends of Indian River, renew your membership, or make a donation online at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/membership.html

            Wednesday, September 13, 2017

            Input on Long Term Planning for the City of Chesapeake to the City Council

            To: Mayor Krasnoff and Members of the City Council
            Cc: City Manager James Baker and Director of Planning Jaleh Shea
            Date: 9/12/2017

            As you hold your Retreat to look at long term planning for our wonderful city, the Friends of Indian River would like to share some thoughts about the future of our city.  As you look at our city’s priorities and policies we urge you to find a better balance between new development and revitalization efforts in our existing neighborhoods.  

            1.    Budget to Support Incremental/Infill Development. The older sections of the city, such as Indian River and South Norfolk are seeing incremental/infill development. This infill reflects a healthy renewal of our housing stock and a traditional, pre-suburbia, development pattern.  It increases the wealth and tax base of our city.[1]  But without the corresponding upgrades and maintenance of our infrastructure – streets, schools, parks, water and sanitary sewer systems, etc. - the increased housing density strains the fabric of our community
             
            2.    Create Safe and Welcoming Streets. Our communities need safe streets that improve the quality of life in our communities rather than just serve as roadways engineered to speed traffic past our communities.[2]
            ·        Our streets need to be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists and encourage patrons to frequent local businesses.  
            ·        This includes reducing speed limits and adding bike lanes on streets like Indian River Road, especially when they pass through residential area and shopping areas.
            ·        We also need to allow experiments with traffic calming measures to make side streets safer.[3]
            ·        Architectural guidelines (like the Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines) should be established across the city.  Better code enforcement on signage and landscaping will also help improve the visual appeal and quality of life in our communities.[4] 

            3.    Address the Infrastructure Maintenance Backlog.
            ·        The older sections of the city suffer from a multi-year maintenance backlog for our aging infrastructure, including street pavement, storm sewers and ditches, water systems, sanitary sewers, and pump stations.
            ·        The city must also address the on-going quality and safety issues related to the Aqua Virginia system in the Indian River area. 
            ·        To assure the continued health and vitality of our existing neighborhoods, the resource allocation for this upkeep must be considered before allocating resources for further expansion, particularly when the new expansion will ultimately add to the maintenance backlog.   
            ·        For Capital Projects, the funding to upkeep existing facilities should generally be given precedence, particularly over the expensive roadway expansion.[5][6]

            4.    Develop a plan to respond to a changing retail landscape.  The retail world is rapidly transforming due to the explosive growth on online commerce.  
            ·        The coming decade will likely see more store closings and vacancies in our strip shopping centers, big box storefronts, and malls.[7][8]  
            ·        Old strip shopping centers, like Indian River Shopping Center, are already failing and becoming a blight on their community.
            ·        The city needs to look at repurposing these lands, perhaps rezoning them for mixed used redevelopment that combines apartments, condos, and businesses on a single site, as was typical in traditional cities.  This would bring residents and business together and encourage new service oriented business such as markets, cafes, and restaurants.[9]

            5.    Establish a new balance between Revitalization vs. New Development.  While new residential development in south Chesapeake frustrates the local residents and consumes cherished agricultural lands, it also has real costs, both short term and long term for the older sections of the city.  
            ·        Expanding infrastructure has immediate costs (even if initially underwritten by the developer) and becomes a long term maintenance liability for the city.
            ·        The lower the density and the farther from the “urban overlay” of the city, the higher the infrastructure cost per household and the more likely that these costs exceed the tax revenue collected.
            ·        When reviewing new development projects, the city should carefully consider these long term costs.  Proposed projects that indicate a negative fiscal outcome during their first decade should be looked at with particular concern.  
            These costs mean the loss of money and opportunity to support the ongoing needs of existing sections of the city.[10]

            6.    Re-focus on our Sustainability Plan[11] including
            ·        improving water quality through efforts such as the Eastern Branch Restoration Plan[12]
            ·        adequately funding our Urban Forestry Plan to increase the city tree canopy[13]
            ·        supporting efforts to switch to Renewable Energy - both at the residential and utility scale - and improving energy efficiency across the city.[14] 
            ·        revitalizing city parks and protecting green spaces, and
            ·        protecting and fostering our city's wetlands for the vital services they provide in water quality and flood protection.[16]

            We know that balancing the needs of the community as a whole with local public opinions is a daunting challenge.  There are many conflicting voices and demands as groups focus on local interests. But we do believe the long term vitality of the city will require a new balance and will require a cultural change to avoid unproductive development patterns that ultimately degrade the city’s quality of life and the city’s financial stability.


            References
            2.    Slower Cars = Safer More Economically Productive Streets https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/6/12/slower-cars-safer-more-economically-productive-streets
            3.    St. Louis Plan4Health Traffic Calming Demonstrations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9rT9GOAWjY
            6.    What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse https://www.wired.com/2014/06/wuwt-traffic-induced-demand/
            9.    The Strip Center Apartments on O.S.T. http://swamplot.com/the-strip-center-apartments-on-ost/2007-10-25/
            12. Eastern Branch Restoration Plan http://www.elizabethriver.org/eastern-branch-restoration
            15. Wetlands stopped $625 million in property damage during Hurricane Sandy http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/wetlands-stopped-650-million-property-damage-hurricane-sandy-can-help-houston/