July 20, 2009
Blair Middle School
Board Members Present: Joan McEnery, Henry Conde, Paige Rose, Irene Blake, Harry Worley, Brian Douglas Smith, Barbara Murphy, and Susanne Williams
Absent: Ted Warren, Jon Hanbury, and Michael Spencer
EVMS Project Proposal Presentation – Presenters Mr Steve Wright, Principal of Hanbury, Evans, Wright, and Viattas, and Mr Mark Babashanian, EVMS Vice President for Administration and Finance came to discuss the EVMS Medical Educational and Research Building to be built along Colley Ave. This project is scheduled to start in September 2009 and completed in August of 2011. The building will be white trim and red brick. This new facility will provide much needed classroom and research space for EVMS. This project is part of the city’s master plan. They will be loosing 130 parking spaces from this lot. Additional parking levels were added to the “under construction” parking garage in expectation of building this facility which should make-up for the lost parking spaces. The building will lie along Colley Ave in order to create a more pedestrian environment. There will be a green space on the other side of the building. They will not be breaking the medium along Colley Ave forcing trucks to head south and make right hand turns into the facility. The trucks will be smaller “urban/town” shipping trucks vs. the larger shipping trucks. Larger trucks will go to a shipping facility off Brambleton Ave. The facility will employe 50-60 additional staff and 200 students over a 5 years growth projection. The majority of the students live in the Ghent area.
Q: What type of research will be at the facility?
A: It will be basic research and, in response to a follow-up question, animals will be used.
Q: How green will the building be?
A: It will achieve a “silver” rating.
Q: How will you address the increased traffic this will bring to the area?
A: The way the building will face will encourage people to travel less along Colley Ave and it is believed that truck traffic will decrease.
Concern – Pedestrian crossing at the building will need more attention due to the increase foot traffic this building will bring.
Q: Will parking for the new staff and students bring additional parking issues to the residential streets?
A: It is believed that the addition of two levels to the parking lot under construction will alleviate this problem.
Q: How will the building be vented to help reduce noise pollution from the mechanical equipment?
A: It will be vented out the roof and screening will be added to help reduce the noise.
Future Plans for Light Rail and Could It Come Through Ghent? – Mr James Toscano, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications with HRT came to answer talk about what the next phase of Light Rail will be and how we might be effected. Mr Toscano reported that the city is currently constructing the Light Rail at a cost more efficiently per mile than any other city. Regarding the future of Light Rail, HRT is paying attention how best to service the military facilities, especially the Naval Station in Norfolk, our regions largest employer. A study would have to be done and currently there are no funds available to implement one. HRT is unsure when funds will be allocated for this study. When the study does start, the public will be informed in order to get input from residents of the areas effected. As of right now HRT does not have any plans as to what route Light Rail would follow in order to connect lines to the Naval Station Norfolk.
Q: A study was done 15 years ago on light rail for the area, why not use this study?
A: They will be required to gather new data during that time laps and renders it unusable.
Comment: Board member Murphy commented that the current vision statement of Norfolk shows Light Rail going through Norfolk. It was felt that if the vision statement shows this then maybe discussion with the residents needs to be implemented soon in order to get a good and early perspective of the the thoughts and views of the residents of Ghent.
Update: Zoning and code enforcement issues:
1207 Colonial Ave – There have been concerns expressed about the noise and large amount of parking this residence is experiencing on a weekly basis, specifically Sunday. Through research it was discovered that the home is being used as a place of worship. The Big House Church, as it is being called, is holding weekly worships at the residence in the evenings on Sundays. Sometimes they are also holding concerts on week nights. This is drawing a large amount of vehicles that are taking up valuable space in this already parking limited residential areas. It has also been reported that the noise, on Sunday’s, can travel quite far, across the street and lasts into the night. The city representative reported that the city is looking into re-addressing the current zoning regarding religious institutions.
Action – Invite the city to the August or September GNL meeting.
Planning Commission Items
Tap House – Would like to redesign the current building to allow a residence to be added onto the second floor for the owner of the property. This require also changing the current appearance of the traditional Spanish style building with additions.
Design Review Items – none
Other – none
Police Report – Officer Klein reported that since the last meeting there had been 13 incidents. There was one robbery to an individual. Their backpack was taken containing $575 in Money Orders. It was believed that this person follows a regular pattern and the criminals knew this. There were three residential burglaries, one was while an apartment was being shown, at another home while the victim was on vacation and the last incident involved copper pipes being taken. There were two larcenies at buildings, one was a concrete saw and another a lawn mower. The four auto larcenies involved 2 GPS’s, tools, and a purse/wallet. Two bikes were stolen, one while it sat at the Colley Ave 7-11 while the owner ran in, the other was taken from a building hallway. Finally there was one larceny from auto which involved a stereo system being stolen. For more details please see Norfolk’s Crime Reports on the cities website. Please remember that people are watching for unlocked bikes and items left in cars.
Pending Request/Issues Reported to City Resolved;
Westover Ave – Shed has been removed.
Graydon Ave noise issues – appears to be resolved
Pending Previous Months Issues
The Yellow House – City informed owner that use of the west side of parking lot was not approved in permit and to remove driveway and to stop using the lowered handicap curb on the corner as a driveway entrance. The owner has not removed shed or wood garbage. Secretary Blake will call inspector again about those final issues.
1207 Colonial Ave – see above
Colonial Ave Bus Shelter – HRT has recommended the removal of the shelter after input form the city. The city decided that they would like input from the Ghent Task Force. It was discovered that the route ends at 7pm so no one should be using the shelter afterwards and it was asked to report any use after service to the police. The city will be also looking into the ridership data for this route.
Graydon Ave Drainage – Pending public works. City representative will check up on this issue.
832 Brandon Ave – Glendale Apartments – Tenants went to court regarding building code violations. The judge found the building habitable and that the violations are not enough to render the apartments inhabitable.
Current Month Issues
Holland House large vinyl banner – Susanna Winstead will be is getting back to us regarding if the banner is allowed.
COA: Pembrook Ave – Board members will attend meeting.
COA: Yarmouth Ave – Home owners have replaced windows, added trim,
changed the roof over a bay window, introduced new roofing material over bay window and on roof as a whole, used unapproved vinyl siding to replace cedar siding. GNL board unanimously voted to support Design Reviews position to not approve the COA and directed the President or designee to write a letter stating such and testify at the hearing. A board member inquired if the new owners received info that they lived in a historical district.
1215 Colonial Ave – Loitering
Treasure’s – none
Ghent Task Force – none
Ghent Business Association – none
Block Security Program – none
Historic and Architectural Preservation Committee – Paige Rose will be added as a Board Designated Representative.
Elizabeth River Crossing – none
Online Outreach and Website Update Working Group – Group presented updated site to board and those in attendance. It was asked to enlarge the logo and tag line. Also to move as much info over from the current website and update it. It was also recommended to consolidate and clean up the categories. The group will meet again and present to the board at the next meeting.
Membership Working Group – none
Committee Chair Appointments
Newsletter – Irene Blake
Community Improvement – Paige Rose & Henry Conde
Sector Representatives – Harry Worley
Membership – Jon Hanbury
Publicity/Social Events – Brian Douglas Smith
Communications – pending appointment
Program – Barbara Murphy
Approval of June Minutes – Approved by 7 of 8 members present. Board Member Williams abstained.
Audit Committee – Finishing up and should have final report at August meeting.
Meeting Site – Decided to stay in current location.
Cox Funeral Home – Concerned about use of site, GNL will draft a letter addressing these concerns.
New Business –
Items for August Agenda – Website, Core Ave Stop Signs, Maury High School Forum*, and Code Enforcement
Former board member Sharron Palwin brought forward a proposal to create a forum with Maury High School. It was suggested to invite the principal to the next meeting. The forum would involve the school, parents and the GNL.