Friday, November 5, 2021

November Newsletter and Events

 In this month's issue, we have:

  • Indian River Planning Area Study
    • Plan going for final approval at City Council on Tuesday, Deferred to Dec 21
  • Upcoming Events
    • Second Saturday Hike - Lake at Indian River Civic Campus - Saturday, Nov 13
    • Monthly Meeting - Guest Speaker City Council Member Susan Vitale - Thursday, Nov 18
  • Other News
    • Tree Planting on Indian River Road - Volunteers Needed - Early December
    • Chesapeake Recycles Day on Saturday, Nov 6
    • Treetopia at Mt. Trashmore on Saturday, Nov 6
    • Environmental Items on City Council Agenda for Nov 16
    • Audubon Society talk - "From Buck Trout Swamp to Suburbia" 
    • October Events Roundup
    • Leave the Leaves

Indian River Planning Area Study at City Council

Date: Deferred to 
Tuesday, Dec 21, 6:30 pm at City Hall

This is the final stage in approving the Indian River Planning Area Study and Redevelopment Strategy.  This Plan lays out a strong, interconnected combination of actions that, when implemented, should improve the quality of life of our community.  The Friends of Indian River have been working closely with the Planning Department throughout the development of the Plan and we wholeheartedly support the document as drafted. 

The Planning Department has been working closely with the community to gather input and incorporate feedback into the Plan.  

We are again asking citizens to speak out in support of the Plan at the City Council meeting on Nov 16.  We believe that showing up in person to support the plan will help get it across the finish line, so please join us at City Hall on the 16th!   You can also send you comments to

Visit for info and key points for submitting your comments. 

Key themes that we support throughout the Plan include:
- Redesign and revitalization of Indian River Road, including the Indian River Shopping Center, as our Main Street
- Preservation of the residential character of our community
- Interconnecting the community with parks, the civic campus, and open space
- Increasing the overall environmental quality of the community through increased tree canopy, natural areas and shorelines, and green infrastructure.

Second Saturday Hike  
@ Lake by Indian River Civic Campus

Date: Saturday, Nov 13, 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Location: Meet outside Indian River Community Center, 2250 Old Greenbrier Rd

Something different this month ... our hike will take us around the Lake between the Indian River Middle School and High School.  Originally a borrow pit, this 20 acre lake provides stormwater management, wildlife habitat, and a scenic backdrop for the local schools.  The Indian River Planning Area Study envisions transforming the area into a core public gathering space and connecting the schools, ballfields, community center and library to the surrounding community with multi-use trails and greenways.   We'll hike some of the existing trails and keep an eye out for birds on the lake and in the adjacent woods.

Please pre-register at

Monthly Meeting - Guest Speaker City Council Member Susan Vitale

Date: Thursday, Nov 18, 7 pm

Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive

We're going to be back at our normal meeting place this month, so we'd love to see you in person!   Our guest speaker will be City Council Member Susan Vitale to discuss updates on various City items affecting the Indian River area.

We'll also have the latest community news.

Other News

Tree Planting along Indian River Road at Oaklette Bridge 

Date: TBD, Early December

It has been a journey lining up the funding and finalizing the contract for the landscaping services, but it looks like we're finally moving forward with the big tree planting project along Indian River Road by the Oaklette Bridge!   The contractor should be preparing the site and planting the first 14 trees during the next month.  

We'll then need volunteers to support planting of  30 shrubs and 34 muhly and fountain grasses at the site.  We'll have Master Gardeners on hand to provide guidance.   The exact date is still TBD and we'll update folks once we set a date.  

Chesapeake Recycles Day - Saturday, Nov 6

Chesapeake Recycles Day returns on Saturday, Nov 6 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the TCC Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road, Chesapeake VA 23322.   Accepted items will include "blue bin" recyclables (bottles, cans, cardboard, paper), electronics, clothing, household items, household hazardous waste, and sensitive documents for offsite shredding.  Get all the details at
TreeTopia - Saturday, Nov 6

Virginia Beach and Lynnhaven River Now are hosting TreeTopia from 11 am to 3 pm at Mt. Trashmore.  This fun celebration will include 1000 free native tree saplings with planting instructions for attendees to take home to plant - first come first served, many tree minded exhibitors sharing information and fun activities, a 
climbing wall, music, food trucks, Coastal Nurseries selling trees and other native plants, and more.  More info at

Environmental Items on City Council Agenda for Nov 16

In addition to the Indian River Small Area Plan, two other environmental topics may be on the agenda: 
  • Re-establishing of the Wetlands Board and combining it with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) Board.  The Wetlands Board, which handles permitting of shoreline development, such as putting in bulkheads or rip-rap, was disbanded in Chesapeake about a decade ago due to budget constraints.  This permitting has been handled by the State's Virginia Marine Resource Commission since then.  These proposals would re-establish local control of this permitting process and also combine it with the existing CBPA Board.   There has been some concern about whether the City has sufficient expertise to manage this process.
  • The future of "Blue Bin" Recycling may be on the agenda.  There are questions about the cost and effectiveness of the current curbside recycling program and whether the City should institute a new Trash Fee.  Details are still TBD.
Audubon Society talk - "From Buck Trout Swamp to Suburbia" on Nov 17

The Friends cancelled our October meeting, but you have a second chance to catch Rogard Ross' presentation "From Buck Trout Swamp to Suburbia" at the Cape Henry Audubon Meeting on Wednesday, Nov 17, 7 pm at the New Life Metropolitan Community Church, 1000 Sunset Drive in Norfolk.  This talk looks at the development of our area from an untamed swamp that once covered the area from the Indian River to today's Great Bridge to today's suburbia and what steps can be taken to "re-wild" the area for the future.

October Events Roundup

It was a busy month for the events in October.  We had our monthly Second Saturday Hike on Oct 9.  On Wednesday the 13th, the Planning Commission reviewed and approved the Final Draft of the Indian River Planning Area Study.  On the following Sunday, the 17th, our members got an excellent tour of the Hermitage Museum and Gardens on our annual field trip.  On Friday the 22nd and Saturday the 23rd, we had back to back Adopt-A-Park events to get the Native Plant Garden at Indian River Park ready for the end of the season; on Friday we got a big boost by volunteers from Chapter 78 of Association of Aviation Ordinancemen (AAO) off the USS Gerald R. Ford.  A big accomplishment was digging the bed for a new rain garden at the park.  Throughout the month, volunteers have also been working to manage the invasive Linden Viburnums at Indian River Park that are fruiting right now.   Also on the 23rd, the Chesapeake Master Gardeners had their own volunteer event to plant 21 new trees at the Campostella and Cuffee Center area.   And behind the scenes, our board was working hard to finalize the plans - and financing - for the Indian River Road tree planting project.   Thank you to everyone involved in these efforts!

Leave the Leaves

Want to save time and work and help the environment?  Then skip the blowing, raking, and bagging and leave those leaves lay this fall!   Leaves are nature's mulch and provide food and shelter for butterflies, moths, bees, and other invertebrates over the winter.  Removing the leaves actually can wipe out the next generation of many moths and butterflies.  Learn more at

We always encourage you as an 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

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