Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Action Alert: Indian River Planning Area Study

The City is accepting comments on the Indian River Planning Area Study through Sunday, May 23.  The Indian River Planning Area Study is a proposed strategic plan for our community, mapping out actions to improve our community in the coming years.  The Plan provides a strong, interconnected combination of actions that, if well implemented, will improve the quality of life of the community.  

You can submit comments at https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Planning-Department/Planning-Library/Indian-River-Military-Highway-Corridor-Study/virtualcommunitymeeting.htm

Tell the City that you support a plan that revitalizes Indian River Road, including the Indian River Shopping Center, and redesigns the road as our "Main Street", preserves and rehabilitates the residential character of our community, provides connections between our neighborhoods, parks, the river, and a new civic campus, and increases the overall environmental quality of the community through increased tree canopy, natural areas and shorelines, and green infrastructure.

Also ask that they improve the implementation section of the document to set a specific target timeframe for each individual action of the plan.

Key elements that should be included in the plan are actions to:

    "Main Street"
  • Redesign Indian River Road to be our “Main Street” including features such as buffered bicycle lanes and  streetscape enhancements to reduce speeding, improve safety, and spur economic activity.
  • Pursue the addition of shopping and restaurant tenants to enhance the “main street” feel of the corridor.  Look at redeveloping Hazel Ct. with a mix of uses that complement its waterfront location
  • Establishing tax-increment financing and/or other incentives to encourage redevelopment of business corridor
  • Work toward redevelopment of the Indian River Shopping Center and possibly surrounding commercial properties into higher density mixed-use development
    Neighborhoods
  • Implement a strong set of actions to encourage and enable the preservation and rehabilitation of the area’s existing residential housing
  • Develop a residential pattern book to provide guidance on the recommended look and design for new development
  • Ensure that infrastructure for water, sewer, and stormwater are sufficient to accommodate any infill development
  • Install signage to identify historic areas such as Oaklette, Queen City, Norfolk Highlands, Seminole Park, and Foundation Park
    Community and Environment
  • Incentivize tree preservation and planting
  • Preserve, restore, and expand riparian/shoreline buffer vegetation 
  • Reach out to homeowners about restoration and flood mitigation funding such as Virginia Conservation Assistance Fund, Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, the Elizabeth River River Star Program, and other such programs.  
  • Educate homeowners on the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area
  • Install “wayfinding” signage along Military Highway to show direction to local destinations such as Community Center, Library, Rokeby Center, Indian River Park, Conference Center, etc.
  • Identify bus stops that need improvement and increase bus frequency to at least once every 30 minutes during rush hour
    Open Space and Greenways
  • Create a “civic campus” including the Indian River High School, Community Center, Middle School, Chesapeake Center for Student Success, and Library with the lake at its center
  • Complete Blue Heron Landing Park, develop a trail management plan and add amenities at Indian River Park, and create an overlook at Plymouth Park
  • Establish a network of “greenways” along  Indian River neighborhoods streets including sidewalks, bikeways and green stormwater infrastructure
  • Create a bike route along Lilac Ave. and crosswalk at Lilac Ave. and Indian River Road to provide link from Indian River Road bike paths and Blue Heron Park to Rokeby Ave. and Indian River Park
  • Provide a safe pedestrian and bicycle crossing at Rokeby Ave. and Military Highway to connect to Indian River Park

And you can see our series of Facebook posts on highlights of the draft plan at

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