- Board Members
- Sharon Plawin
- Blount Hunter
- Mike Spencer
- Paige Rose
- Allan Bull
- Kevin Halista
- Dennis Russell
- Jon Hanbury
- Susanne Williams
- Joe Maus
- BarBara Murphy
- Mason Andrews
Meeting called to order at 7. pm at Blair Middle School
October minutes will be circulated; no minutes were formally recorded in November or December.
The treasurer reported a balance of approximately $10,440 with accounts receivable of $1,950. Some of the debts are very old (3-4 years) and the board may elect to write them off.
Ghent Task Force
The Ghent Task Force met Jan. 11. The crime report cited an increase in larcenies from autos and two arrests for graffiti.
Ghent Business Association
The GBA’s new president is Jim Newsome of Old Point National Bank. Mike Spencer described a litany of new projects proposed or underway in Ghent, including city improvements to the sidewalks on 22nd Street near the new Palace Station complex and lighting improvements near Omohundro/21st Street. The city will study traffic patterns and parking needs in Ghent. The groundbreaking for 201 at 21 (Roseland Properties) could occur in June; signs with renderings have been installed on the property. Bristol Development has reportedly purchased the city block where Kin’s Wok and the Painted Lady are located; additional apartment construction is anticipated. The site of the former Norfolk Senior Center was the subject of an RFP for development (with Cooper Realty subsequently winning development approval for a complex of 100,000 square feet of offices and some small shops).
The GNL requested timely notification of crime incidents in the neighborhood. Officer Routon suggested that we submit an e-mail/calling list for immediate contact by NPD.
There was a visible police incident on Core Avenue involving a “field interview” of a suspicious person. A “Peeping Tom” in the neighborhood is being sought.
An increase in auto larcenies has prompted NPD to deploy extra officers at night.
There are 2-3 “tagging” teams active in the area. One group has been arrested. The GBA may attend the court trial to add support for a conviction.
NPD is still working on the problem of overnight sleeping in the neighborhood. All parks have posted signs with hours of operation. The park on Olney Road west of Botetourt has been a particular problem.
Office Routon’s new cell phone number is 390-0405. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org while on duty.
Block Security Program
The Block Security Program needs sector representatives to increase the coverage of the program. There was a discussion of distributing refrigerator magnets or a publication with contact information related to security; the key topic was whether to distribute the magnets or publication to all residents or just GNL members. Hunter made a motion (seconded by Murphy) to distribute the magnets or publication to all single family homes within GNL’s membership boundaries using a mailing list generated by the city. The motion was passed with one abstention (Williams).
Community Improvement Committee
There was no formal report. Hunter read e-mails between Dennis Russell and city officials describing the sole active code violation case as 527 Fairfax Avenue.
Board member BarBara Murphy discussed 616 and 623 Graydon Ave. code enforcement issues that have not been addressed despite several reports to the city.
Board member Susanne Williams asked if the city still required occupancy inspections between rentals in Ghent and suggested the board request a “code sweep” walk-through of the neighborhood with inspectors to cite violations. Member Williams also requested an updated comprehensive list of active code violations in the neighborhood.
Dues of $10 were due for membership on Jan. 1. A reminder e-mail was sent to members on Jan. 20 (although not all members have provided e-mail addresses). The use of PayPal on the website was discussed; the cost per transaction for this service would be 59 cents. Hunter made a motion (seconded by Bull) to authorize the Membership Committee chairman to investigate the details of adding PayPal as a member convenience on the GNL website. The vote was unanimous with one abstention (Williams).
The board requested visual depictions of the city’s proposed designs to “bump out” curbs/corners and create a speed-calming traffic circle on Colonial Avenue. Some concern has been expressed about whether the neighborhood’s distinctive granite curb stones can be used in the curb/corner “bump outs.”
The Guild House at Christ and St. Luke’s Church has been emptied of uses and sealed for asbestos abatement in anticipation of demolition/relocation of key architectural elements to an adjacent site. Jim Theuer, representing several constituents, has scheduled depositions in his legal challenge.
Sacred Heart Church has a proposed expansion that may include day care/school use. The expansion would be vertical (using land already owned by the church). A residential unit on Graydon Avenue may be converted to office use.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Submitted by Blount Hunter