Tuesday, May 18, 2021

May Newsletter and Events

In this month's issue, we have:

  • Upcoming Events
    • Indian River Planning Area Study Public Feedback - thru Sun, May 23
    • May Monthly Meeting - Living Shorelines - Thurs, May 20, 7 pm
    • Clean The Bay Day @ Indian River Park - Sat, June 5, 9 am
    • Moth Night @ Indian River Park - Sat, June 12, 9 pm
    • June Monthly Meeting - Nansemond River Preservation Alliance - Thurs, June 17, 7 pm
  • Other News
    • Action Alert: Proposed zoning change for Used Car Dealership
    • Chesapeake City Budget
    • Adopt-A-Park Update

Indian River Planning Area Study Public Feedback

Date: Monday, May 3 thru Sunday May 23
Location: Online

The Indian River Planning Area Study is a proposed strategic plan for our community to  achieve the vision of being a place known for its well-connected communities and vibrant commercial areas, to identify ways to enhance overall quality of life in the area, and to accommodate a broad range of future mobility options.  It looks to embrace the City’s Comprehensive Plan and its three cornerstones: responsible growth, infrastructure, and quality of life.

We've been working with the City's Planning Department for over a year to develop the draft plan.  The Planning Department will be taking feedback on the proposal through May 23.  To see the draft plan, the associated presentation, and to submit comments, visit https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Planning-Department/Planning-Library/Indian-River-Military-Highway-Corridor-Study.htm

Also, we at the Friends would love to hear your thoughts as we finalize our response.  One area we're going to be focusing on is tightening up the Implementation section at the end of the document so that we all have clear understanding of when we can expect these plan's goals to happen.   Send us your thoughts at info@friendsofindianriver.org

May Monthly Meeting - Living Shorelines
Date: Thursday, May 20, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Our guest speaker will be Joe Rieger from the Elizabeth River Project discussing the latest advances in Living Shoreline design.

We'll have updates on the latest community news and take some time to discuss the Indian River Planning Area Study.

Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL. https://forms.gle/GqimXTU48K5fGGrb6.

Clean The Bay Day/Adopt-A-Park @ Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, June 5, 9 am to Noon
Location: Indian River Park entrance
at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

The Friends of Indian River's will be hosting a cleanup at Indian River Park.  This will help to spruce up the area, collect trash that will otherwise get washed into the river and impact wildlife. The city will provide garbage bags. 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.   There is also trash to be collected from the flood plain of the creek, which is wet; bring rubber boots if you can help in this area.  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. 

We will be following all recommended Covid-19 safety precautions in place at the time of this event.  Please wear a mask if you have not yet been fully vaccinated. 

To speed up registration and improve social distancing at the start of the cleanup, please review and complete the online safety release form at least one day before the event.

Moth Night @ Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, June 12, 9 PM to 10:30 PM
Location: Indian River Park entrance
at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

We're working with the Butterfly Society and Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to host a Moth Night at Indian River Park.  At the event we'll attract, identify, and document moths, like the tuliptree silkmoth pictured here. 

This will be after dark, so please bring a flashlight.

We will be following all recommended Covid-19 safety precautions in place at the time of this event.  Because we will be gathering together, masks will be required for all attendees.

Event is limited to 25 persons.  Please pre-register at https://forms.gle/QENiGRchbJ4z6kcd8.

June Monthly Meeting - Nansemond River Preservation Alliance
Date: Thursday, June 17, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Our guest speaker will be Elizabeth Taraski with Nansemond River Preservation Alliance.  It will be a chance to hear what this like-minded organization is doing in Suffolk and gets some ideas for ways to improve our programs here in Chesapeake.

We'll have updates on the latest community news.

Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL. https://forms.gle/v2GaewWM1ER5ZKh29

Other News.

Zoning Change for Used Car Dealership - 
Based on the recommendation of the Planning Staff - and the comments you all submitted last month - the Planning Commission voted 9-0 to Deny the proposed zoning for another Used Car Dealership at the corner of Indian River Road and Elder Ave.  Thank you to everyone who submitted comments.  But the City Council has the final say on the application and will review the proposed request at one of its May meetings.   As soon as it is scheduled, we'll put out another Action Alert and request folks to send comments to the City Council.

One key goal of the Indian River Planning Area Study is to revitalize the business district along Indian River Road, re-establish it as our "Main Street", and make it a much more walkable, bikeable, and attractive destination for the more than 30,000 residents who live nearby.  Another Used Car Dealership is not consistent with this goal.  We are advocating for land uses that support the revitalization of the local community as recommended in the draft plan, which is why we have been opposed to this zoning change.

The Chesapeake City Budget is being reviewed by the City Council right now and they will be holding another public hearing on it on May 11.  Some highlights in the  Capitol Improvement Budget that affect our area:
  • Blue Heron Landing Park and Canoe Launch - continues funding development of new park, totaling $906K thru 2023.
  • Open Space and Recreation Program - funds playground throughout City; includes call-out for Splash Park to be installed at Cuffee Center.  
  • Norfolk Highlands Elevated Tank Rehabilitation - $1.5M slated for 2026
  • Sewer: Gracie Road Force Main Relocation - $1.28M slated for 2026
  • Water Renewals: Waterline Upgrades - Phase II - citywide including North Indian River
  • Broadlawn Apartments (Stormwater) Outfall Improvements (Campostella) - $1.82M for 2022
  • Citywide Trails and Open Space Connectivity Plan (Citywide) - $375K
  • Norfolk Highlands Drainage Improvements - $1.2M for 2022-2023
  • Oaklette Bridge (Indian River Road) - Replacement/Repairs - $3.446M for 2022     https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Public-Works-Department/Active-Public-Works-Projects/active-transportation-street-projects/Oaklette-Bridge-Rehabilitation.htm
  • Residential Traffic Calming Program (Citywide) - $100K for 2022 
Also the Operating Budget finally provides funding for developing and adopting an Urban Forest  Management Plan and filling a new Urban Forester position on staff.  We've been advocating for this for some time.

Thank you to the nine volunteers who came out for our Adopt-A-Park event in April to work on the Native Plant Garden.  We cleared the winter weeds from the garden area and made ready the area for the summer.  Black-eyed Susans, Bee Balm, Coneflowers, Yarrow, and Irises and more are starting to come up.

We always encourage you as individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/

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