Last Publish on 4/27/2011 1:49:33 PM
City Of Hampton, VA
22 Lincoln Street
Hampton, Va 23669
NOTICE OF ACTION
City Council - Public Comment Period
Council Chambers, 8th Floor, City Hall
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Ross A. Kearney, II, Angela Lee Leary, Will Moffett, Christopher G. Stuart, Donnie R. Tuck, George E. Wallace, Molly Joseph Ward, Mayor
Mary Bunting, City Manager
Cynthia Hudson, City Attorney
Katherine K. Glass, CMC, Clerk of Council
Call to Order / Roll Call
Mayor Ward welcomed everyone to the Public Comment period and thanked them for their patience. She announced that in the afternoon meeting Council agreed to have a special meeting regarding the White Marsh area, the Grandview property issue and the trespassing issue there.
Mayor Ward continued Councilman Stuart initially requested this topic be discussed under the new business portion of the meeting due to all of the email and concerns received; however, this is an issue involving so many citizens and property rights of individuals, and traditionally individuals are not allowed to speak under the new business portion of the meeting; therefore, Council felt it would be best to have a special meeting in order to give proper notice of the meeting and a public hearing could be held giving opportunity to those who wished to speak to do so. She announced the special meeting would be held Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. and invited everyone to come to the meeting. She noted there would be staff presentations and a public hearing on this issue only.
Mayor Ward explained anyone present could speak on that issue this evening; however, there wouldn’t be a lengthy discussion on the issue this evening; instead, the discussion would occur on April 26th.
Councilwoman Leary asked the Mayor to confirm whether or not she was denying Councilman Stuart the opportunity to bring the issue up under new business and whether or not she was just announcing the public meeting on the 26th.
Mayor Ward explained Councilman Stuart was permitted to discuss any topic under new business; however, Council decided instead of having a lengthy discussion under new business today and possibly taking a vote and advising staff on the issue, there would be a full vetting of the issue with presentations from staff and comments from the public on April 26th in order to give full notification to the public and to give them the opportunity to be present to speak.
Councilwoman Leary clarified that she was not disagreeing; instead, she wanted to be certain Councilman Stuart was not going to bring it up under new business because she intended to if he didn’t.
Mayor Ward clarified her intent was to discuss it under the Mayor’s Comments portion of the meeting and anyone that wanted to comment on it at that point was welcome to do so.
Councilman Stuart thanked Mayor Ward for her leadership. He concurred that a briefing would be wholly inadequate for a subject such as this which is this in depth and requires the amount of feedback from the population that it does (as shown by the number of people in attendance). He said in his opinion, the special meeting gives time to regroup, gives citizens an opportunity to check with legal representation and to do other preparation and allows Council to take action and entertain motions and put the workings of City government if they chose into effect. He thanked the Mayor for the proposal (of having a special meeting) and noted he would bring up the topic under the new business portion of the meeting to request brief summaries from the City Manager and the City Attorney so that the topic is covered. He welcomed citizens to stay through the entire antennary, but reiterated that the portion on this topic under new business would be very brief.
Mayor Ward noted she had consulted with Councilman Stuart prior to coming to this conclusion and reiterated she would bring the topic up under the Mayor’s Comment portion at the beginning of the meeting for the convenience of the citizens.
Mayor Ward announced that a special City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. specifically to receive a staff briefing and to hear from the public on the access issue in the Grandview / White Marsh area of the city. She shared that citizens present to speak on that issue during the public comment period would be allowed to speak but she wanted everyone to be aware of the special meeting which will provide a better time to receive and share information. She additionally indicated that Councilman Stuart had requested this item be discussed during the New Business portion of the evening meeting but instead, as a courtesy to those present, she will take the item up under Mayor's Comments.
Mr. Peter O’Shaughnessy, 15 Bonita Drive, greeted the Mayor and the members of Council and asked everyone in the audience in support of his comments regarding the Grand View issue to stand so that Council could be aware of the people representing the issue. He said he appreciated Councils interest in resolving the right of way issue on Grand View Beach and believes the inaction on the part of the City has contributed to the escalation of this issue and the City is passively complicit in allowing the issue to grow to undesirable consequences and we need City engagement on this issue now. He continued there have been many instances of unnecessary involvement by the Hampton Police Department over frivolous trespassing charges; subsequently vandalism has occurred at Mr. Plazenskis resident at 11 Riley’s Way. He said this issue has escalated further this past weekend with vandalism to "No Trespassing" signs Mr. Plazenski placed on the beach by his property (apparently someone sprayed black spray paint over them). He continued Mr. Plazenski, resident of 11 Riley’s Way, purchased property at 9037 State Park Drive and has called the Police many times on many City residents to charge them with trespassing regardless of whether they own property further south on the beach. Peter O’Shaughnessy, Joyce E. Robertson, Carl O. Helvie, Don Burcher, Bob Teravainen, Larry Curtis, George Burbanck, Nita Ripple, Doris Byrne and Gregg Ellis spoke on Grandview Beach access.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy continued, the residents of Grand View respect his property rights but failure on the part of the City to identify the right of way has caused unnecessary disputes on the beach. The City website appears to indicate the location of the 20 foot unimproved extension of State Park Drive is actually closer to the dunes and the western edge of the beach as it crosses his properties although he maintains that it’s in the water. He (Mr. Plucinski) states the right of way is near the shoreline and in many cases they are in the water during high tide. The Grand View residents, some of whom own property further south of Mr. Plucinski’s property understand the privilege of having access to the beach; in fact, we used to conduct annual beach cleanups until these trespassing charges began.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy continued we want to resolve this matter in a mutually acceptable manner. We respect his property rights, but we need the City to identify the right of way once and for all so we can legally cross his property without fear of reprisal. Mr. O’Shaughnessy concluded by stating we appreciate Council’s engagement on this issue and hope for a quick resolution as the summer months are fast approaching. He stated we don’t need to waste the Hampton Police and the courts valuable time with trivial trespassing charges.
Mr. George Fiscella, 29 Lighthouse Way, Newport News, Virginia, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Mayor, the City Council members and the City staff for the sometimes thankless time and energy they put into help making this great community called the Virginia Peninsula a wonderful place to live. He distributed to Council the Peninsula U19 Rugby League information packet which includes a DVD highlighting some of their programs, players and administrators, waiver forms, membership forms, a small photo album, rugby history and rugby resource websites, programs financial statement, contact list of league administrators and the spring schedule. He invited everyone to come out to support a U19 rugby team this spring. He noted that the seasons schedule is found on the adult team’s website newportnewsrugby.com.
Mr. Fiscella concluded by announcing Hampton’s Parks and Recreation Department is currently reviewing their request of the use of one of the fields at Jones Magnet Middle School. Presently all of their games are held between 9-11 (HE DIDN’T SPECIFY AM OR PM) at Dozier Middle School in Newport News and they would love to have the opportunity to have a home field for the Kecoughtan and Bethel U19 rugby teams.
Ms. Lateaka Vinson, P.O. Box 7825, read the following statement to the members of City Council on behalf of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Gamma Upsilon Omega Chapter:
"Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated are pleased to participate in the democratic process by visiting with the Hampton City Council to address our local and State issues and concerns. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) is an international service organization of approximately 260,000 African American college-educated women which was founded in 1908 in Washington, D.C. Our organization is involved in the global community through advocacy service and the promotion of peace. Of our 260,000 international members, we have approximately fifty chapters throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Members of our chapter (Gamma Upsilon Omega from Hampton, Virginia) are visiting with you today to briefly discuss one of our political policy priorities commonly referred to as redistricting. A fundamental principle of our democracy is that citizens are able to select leaders who will represent their interests in State legislatures and Congress. The configuration and composition of voting districts is very important. It is inappropriate to redefine districts to specifically maximize the advantage of the groups that are redefining them. Census data has been submitted this year and Congressional Districts, State Senatorial and House Districts will be or are currently being redrawn. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. understands that the effects of redistricting on the democratic process is monumental. The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 imposes specific requirements to prohibit the adoption of a redistricting plan that would have the effect of denying, abridging or reducing the opportunity of minorities to fully participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice. As civic minded members of the Hampton Roads community, the Gamma Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. requests that any redistricting legislation that is introduced within the General Assembly please consider the following factors when/while crafting a redistricting plan: Factor 1. The United States Constitution federal requirement of the "one person, one vote" principle. Factor 2. The Virginia Constitution requirement of representation in proportion to population. Factor 3. The Virginia Constitution requirement that every electoral district be "contiguous and compact." Factor 4. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requirement which prohibits the adoption of a plan that “denies, abridges or reduces” the opportunity of minorities to fully participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice. And finally, Factor 5. That the Committees on Privileges and Elections in the Virginia House of Delegates and/or Senate of Virginia include the requirement of only single-member represented districts and the preservation of communities of interest. Hampton City Councilman members, we appreciate your time and thank you for allowing us to voice our concerns."
Ms. Joyce Robertson, 106 Lighthouse Drive, stated she has been before Council many times before and she appreciates them listening to her comments. She said she has been a resident of Grand View since 1985. Her family moved there because of the quietness, serenity and animal life. She explained they have always enjoyed the beach; however, recently it has become hard to enjoy it, and almost every member of her family has been approached and fussed at (herself before she even got on the beach..she was on the hard pavement and was told she could not go on "his" beach). She said it is a shame that people cannot enjoy any type of fun and take their children there without being photographed or videotaped. She continued, there have been at least two instances where he (she did not reference a name, but Mr. Plucinski assumed topic) has video taped minor children and the Police were called on him. She said she hates to think what could happen if a parent is there when that happens. She said in all the years she has lived there, there has never been such uproar of anybody or anything (the turkey’s were a big thing, and we have had road issues, but we got through that) and this has upset the whole community. She said he must not have time to work because he constantly patrols the beach and surrounding areas chasing people down the road to Lighthouse Drive telling them they can’t go there or walk there dog, etc. She continued she has spoken with individuals who run the Parks and Recreation and found out that as long as your dog is under control, you can go there. She said the people he likes can go on through. She said she hopes Council can come to a conclusion about it. She added she feels bad for him because he must not have friends and perhaps needs a hug. She said in her opinion, the root of this is that he is upset about the White Marsh issue where the community came together because they were worried about storms and because of that, this is his attack on the community.
Mr. David Yancey, 423 Pin Oak Road, Newport News, greeted the Mayor, Vice Mayor Wallace, the members of Council and staff. He thanked Councilman Stuart for the invitation to come before Council to speak. He said he is a representative and coach of the Peninsula High School Rugby League with clubs on the Peninsula in the cities of Newport News, Poquoson, York County and Hampton (at Kecoughtan and Bethel High Schools). He thanked Bethel’s rugby mom, Ms. Patricia Taylor, for coming out in support of Bethel High School.
Mr. Yancey continued 2011 represents the third year of high school rugby on the Peninsula and we are taking it upon ourselves to let the community know about the sport of rugby and what it is doing to enhance the lives of students who are playing the sport and the opportunities it has presented to them to advance their futures (whether they go to college or professional or pursue a career in the military). He said at Bethel and Kecoughtan high schools, there are numerous success stories about the players before they were exposed to rugby and after they were exposed to rugby from coaches who learned about it in college and the military or living overseas and how it has inspired students to become better than what they were and to want to go to college and do something special with their lives.
Mr. Yancey explained many of the players come from different backgrounds and through rugby are taught many valuable life lessons (whether dealing with pier pressure, acting out in aggression or proper manners). Through their partnership with the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence and their appreciation to Mr. Bobby Kipper, they provide an outlet for students to be a part of something special and to stay out of gangs. He continued a unique experience of rugby, unlike any other sport, it’s a tradition of the home team hosting the visiting team their coaches, fans and parents at the field at a post match party with camaraderie and not the rivalry is cultivated. Our focus to keep these students away from gangs where they would rise to become leaders to the detriment of our community rather by helping to foster the growth of young people to become leaders to the betterment of our community. We are proud of the young men of Bethel and Kecoughtan High Schools who have made the all-star rugby league club and will be able to represent Hampton in National tournaments where selectors from the United States National Rugby team will be in attendance. He said it is their goal to expand the sport towards other high schools in Hampton and it is their vision to have matches which are currently played in Newport News in the City of Hampton. He concluded they hope to work with City staff to make that vision a reality and they want Council to know that they have a group of young people who are dedicated to being the very best for themselves, their community, and are proud to represent their families and schools on and off the field. He encouraged everyone to come to Dozier Middle School for matches on Saturdays to visit with these young men to see what rugby has done for the betterment of their lives and the community.
Mr. Carl Helvie, 9 Riley’s Way, greeted the Mayor, the members of Council, the City Attorney and the City Manager and stated he is a retired ODU Professor of Nursing and currently a radio host, author, national consultant on holistic health and cancer. He said at age 78, he is in excellent health which shows he practices what he preaches and believes he is healthy mainly because of his lifestyle which includes, up until recently, a morning walk on the beach (exercise is important in maintaining ones health). He continued, he moved to Grand View because it allowed him the opportunity to implement his healthy lifestyle and until recently, he has been able to do that; however, he was recently told he could no longer walk on the beach even as a guest of one of the lot owners; and there was a threat of arrest and possible jail. He said he supports providing a new easement or right of way in place of the current one that is said to be under water which could solve the issue for him and others who have walked on the beach for 50 or 60 years. He thanked Councilman Stuart for bringing the issue to the attention of the Council. He thanked Councilwoman Leary, Councilman Tuck and City Attorney Ms. Cynthia Hudson for their assistance in working on this and related issues over the past few weeks. He continued without a resolution and because people moved to Grand View for beach access, he believes property values will decrease with a loss of revenue for the City; the situation may escalate and have serious consequences; the Police will continue to come daily to Grand View and be spread so thin that they will be unable to meet their other obligations. He said he also believes his health might suffer; therefore, he hopes Council will consider and pass a resolution to move the right of way or the easement out of the water to resolve the issue.
Ms. Michele Woods-Jones, 1 Sutton Place, stated she has lived at 1 Sutton Place for almost 20 years and lives in Hampton by choice and is the place where she wishes to grow old. She thanked the members of Council and stated she is appreciative of each of them for giving their time and talent to the running of our City. She said we may have varied views on how to achieve goals; most of us share in the desire of wanting this City to be the best City it can be.
Ms. Woods-Jones asked Council when determining the budget that allocates resources to support activities and services of this City, to keep in mind that citizens have a vision of what a successful community entails based on values and the way we determine how best to actualize our vision. Our vision paves the way for setting goals and determining how best to meet them.
Ms. Woods-Jones addressed the vision, the values and the goal. She explained the vision of this City is articulated in the community plan and sets forth the ideas, expectations and desires of a wide section of citizens who took the time to volunteer to help create it. It is not a document in stone and will evolve based upon our new needs and expectations, but those decisions will be made based upon values. She stated she represents the values of the people of this City who are proud of this City, who love it, enjoy living in it, want to be engaged in all facets of it and to be a part of its future as partners (not criticizing and threatening to move when we don’t get our way) willing to step up to the plate and share what we have (even additional resources) to assure that the quality of life is maintained. We believe our community is not solely about essential services; although, essential services are crucial; it is about the quality of life. The quality of life drives the quality of people who chose to remain here and be actively involved.
Ms. Woods- Jones closed by asking Council to consider that there is not one point of view that suggests that there be no more taxes, no more involvement, no more effort, but there are people who would like to see the community plan flourish.
Councilwoman Leary concurred with Ms. Woods-Jones and stated she agrees with community planning. She asked Ms. Woods-Jones if a member of Council (she) suggested three people from each one of the ten community groups stay involved over a five year period to keep this process updated, if she be willing to be one of those individuals willing to serve.
Ms. Woods-Jones stated absolutely.
Mr. Don Burcher, 14 Constant Road, stated he has been a resident of Grand View Island since 1985 and has enjoyed the beach. He thanked Council for taking on this issue and stated he supports the comments previously made by his neighbors concerning the access to the beach. He said as a resident and beach goer, he supports the preservation of the land and dunes and maintaining a family lifestyle. He noted the importance of policing the area particularly clean ups and making sure children behave. He thanked Council for addressing this issue.
Mr. James Rudisill, homeless, greeted the Mayor and members of Council and said he wanted to speak on behalf of the homeless people. He said as he heard the citizens speak about their concern about their right to walk on the beach, he thought about the homeless. He expressed concern for the homeless people in Hampton and stated they (homeless) do not have one square inch anywhere where they are allowed to walk; therefore, they have the same issues and fears these residents face regarding the police and threats of jail, harassment and lawsuits and they are constant with the homeless. He continued there are approximately 100 people in Hampton that stayed in Nights Welcome at New Covenant Church on Big Bethel Road until the middle of April, but the last batch of people were dropped off downtown with nowhere to go. He explained they sleep under bushes and in alley ways and the City has passed laws, ordinances and park regulations which state homeless people are not allowed to be anywhere in this City. He said in his opinion, that is not an accident and it has never been that way in the history of the world. He said he considered coming in his bathing suit to show we are bare chested and do not have fur and were not designed to live outside. He said people suggest homeless go live in the woods like the Indians, and after he thought about it, he realized Indians had huts, teepees, igloos and caves, but human beings can not survive outside. He said currently approximately 1/3 of homeless people have drug and alcohol addictions (they may have picked it up in Viet Nam), approximately 1/3 are mentally ill and approximately 1/3 have had economic disasters which could swell to be thousands in the downturn of the economy. He suggested the City adopt an emergency plan (such as putting up tents and portable potties) in the event we have thousands of homeless because there is a realistic possibility (according to his colleges at the Kennedy School at Harvard) that there is a large swelling of people that are only one paycheck away from being homeless due to the deportation of jobs and gas prices. He asked Council to consider rewriting the ordinance (they are not cast in stone) and come up with an emergency plan for the homeless.
Mayor Ward noted that Mr. Sebastian Plucinski had signed up to speak; however, left the meeting early.
Mr. Bob Teravainen, 31 Adriatic Avenue, greeted the members of Council and stated he has lived in Grand View for 26 years and when he moved there, there was no Riley’s Way and no development and it was nice. He continued, there has been a lot of development since then (he noted he is not against development and is in the real estate business himself), but there is no reason people should not be able to walk on the waters edge to get to their lot or lots where people give them permission to go to. He said the issue he (Mr. Plucinski) had is the liability; however, he (Mr. Plucinski) placed stakes in the ground which is a liability if a child runs around and hits the stake. He said he (Mr. Plucinski) claims people steal his belongings, but unless you own the entire beach, people are going to steal things. Mr. Teravainen stated there is no reason we all cannot enjoy the beach and have access to other lots there. He expressed he (Mr. Plucinski) could have his own lot, but everyone just needs to get through it.
Mr. Edwin Boone, 48 Snow Street, gave the following statement:
Good evening, Council et al. My name is Edwin Boone, and I reside at 48 Snow Street. My subject tonight is "bringing jobs to Hampton". With the 2010 census showing Hampton losing over 10,000 residents, I wondered how we could stop the flow of people leaving the City. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. People live where there are jobs. Hampton awarded what turned out to be a nearly $100 million contract to a company in South Carolina to build two new schools. This company contracted its own workers and $100 million went across the State border. We are told that the Dillon Rule has a regulation that says localities cannot stipulate in a contract that a percentage of workers must be local. So, what can we do to reverse this? Hampton has a State Lobbyist on the pay role. We need to have the lobbyist propose a change to the State regulation. We need to emphasize this in our legislative package. We need to send this message to our State representatives. If we don’t, we will see more of our tax dollars go to out-of-State contractors and more of our residents who are seeking jobs across the border to get them. It has already happened. That’s 10,000 people leaving Hampton or an average of 1,000 a year. We need to let Richmond know that this regulation is no longer acceptable. If this is not done, then the Hampton voters need to join together and vote in people who will work to make this change. Now I will turn my attention to Business Property Tax. I have owned my equipment nearly 8 years. But for some reason this equipment value never depreciates. I have been told as long as I own it; the tax will remain the same. I have brought this subject up at four meetings and the City Manager has yet to respond. I am asking for an explanation through the Freedom of Information Act. This also affects jobs. So, folks, make your vote count. Keep the jobs in Hampton. Be informed about what the future candidates will or will not do to keep jobs in Hampton. If you don’t like what they are saying, don’t vote for them. If you do like what they are saying, give them your support. If you don’t vote, then you have given up your right to complain. I hope to see 100 percent of registered voters at the polls in 2012. We can make a difference. I request this be placed in the minutes in its entirety.
Mr. Larry Curtis, 122 Grand View Drive, greeted the Mayor and the members of Council and thanked them for the opportunity to speak. He stated he has lived at 122 Grand View Drive for eight years and can see the beach from his living room window. He said people are harassed and bothered by one property owner, and in his opinion it is ridiculous and some action on the part of the City Council has to take place before somebody gets hurt.
Mr. James Quigley, 24 McDonald Road, Chairman of the Peninsula Libertarian Party, said he had questions regarding the Resolution Accepting Appropriation of Donation Funds from Undesignated Fund Balance to Hampton Fire and Rescue Budget and the restitution funds because it is not clear how much the funds are.
Mr. Quigley continued his topic of interest changed when he noticed the number of people in attendance. He mentioned the local governments (any government) job is administration, not activism and not getting involved in real estate and development like the City has, instead it is administration. He said we are seeing that the administration has not been done correctly because we have private and public use issues. He continued this is a history with this City. We have had parts of Buckroe Beach developed upon and given out for private homes when parts of those were ? (plugged?) property. Despite citizens coming together last year doing a huge successful petition, the City went around that and build condos at Buckroe Beach. He said the people didn’t mention that because they are polite, but he isn’t and what he sees is that this is going to be a continuance of several issues: mixing public property with private property. He continued, people will be purchasing condos worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and anytime there is a festival at the beach, those people will complain because they spent that much money for that property. He said Council is making decisions, ignoring the population and this is causing strife between people in the population when there should not be strife at all to begin with. Mr. Quigley concluded by stating he will address the issue again and again and again because it keeps coming up again and again.
Mr. Calvin Poole, 448 Rockwell Road, greeted the representatives of the City and stated he is a member of the City’s Animal Advisory Committee. He thanked Council for Resolution #7 on the evening agenda regarding trapping, neutering and releasing cats. He said he had a conversation with the Chairman of the Committee and found out this is not what he thought it was. He continued it is a grant to trap and neuter some cats, but it is not clear what happens after the animals are neutered. He explained the "trap, neutering and return" concept means a cat is trapped, checked to determine whether or not it is healthy, spade or neuter the animal if it is healthy and return it to where it was found (because it would not be healthy and in good condition if somebody was not looking out for it). He said for approximately two years, he has tried to get the City to implement a small area of the City as a test place to trap, neuter and return these animals as opposed to trapping and killing kittens every spring. He noted he belongs to the Alley Cat Allies (a National Committee) and they claim it is more economical to trap, neuter and return animals because they will no longer reproduce; therefore this is an effective program. He asked Council not to be misdirected when they come to this item because this is money that can be used to spade and neuter animals; however, the item needs to have a clear definition of the return part. He asked Council to work out the trap, neuter and return concept.
Mayor Ward informed Mr. Poole that his speaking time had expired and asked him to finish.
Mr. Poole requested Council to test this plan in a small section of the City and prove whether it is right or wrong in saving money.
Councilwoman Leary requested (as a result of Mr. Poole’s inquiry) to pull item #7 from the consent agenda. Mayor Ward recommended waiting to do that until the evening meeting when that item comes up.
Mr. George Burbanck, 1705 Beach Road, stated he has been in the area since 1981, his wife has been here all of her life and he teaches at Hampton University. He continued he has visited beaches on the east coast, on the west coast, in Canada and in Mexico and studies and teaches courses on beach motions. He gave a scientific approach to the problem explaining beaches are always in motion and the current property lines are static (in opposition to each other and the beach is going to continue to move). Some of the property lines contain subaqueous (under water) land, and we should not be able to privately own land that is under water; instead, it should be the property of the government, cities or States. Access to all subaerial land (land we can walk on) that is intertidal should be allowed. The easy way to determine it is if the water covers it part of the day, it is intertidal, public land. The land above that should not be owned up to the berm (the high point of the beach, or when the beach gets to the top and you start going down the other side, you are no longer on the beach) because that could be an access right of way. He said if we had the intertidal land owned by the City, a right of way that went from the top of the intertidal to the berm, then all of the beach would be accessible to all of us and to those who own property on the beach. Currently there is a right of way, but it is partially or completely under water (either salt water or lake water); therefore they really aren’t right of ways and cannot be used. He said if we re-establish the right of ways as was attempted by property and lines that would move with the beach, we would have to keep re-defining it because it would be there. He recommended making the intertidal property of the City, that we allow access from the mean high tide line to the berm and this should solve the problem.
Mr. Burbanck continued people go to the beach to enjoy it with their children, to let thoughts out, to look at waves and to see the beach moving and they sometimes end up with sand in their food or getting hit by frisbees; this is all a part of being at the beach and enjoying the beach. He concluded by stating if we cannot do these things on our beach, there is not much point in having the beach. He expressed his concern and hopes that Council listens to the residents.
Mr. Robert Brooks, 5285 Shelton Road, greeted the Mayor and the members of Council. Mr. Brooks referenced Ms. Jones comments regarding essential services in the City and stated his main issue is with Pentran/Hampton Roads Transit. He said initially when the merger took place; a letter from the Director went out regarding the changes and how the system would improve for the citizens of Hampton and everyone else. He continued it did not change that much. He explained there are signs at the bus stop which display a telephone number and a route number; however, it does not state where the bus is going. He continued there are also no schedules there and sometimes on the weekend people may stand at the bus stop from 45 minutes to an hour waiting for the bus. He gave an example of someone who may want to take the bus to work to the Norfolk Naval Station and explained it takes 3 hours or if a person wants to go from the Transportation Center in Hampton to the airport, it takes 2 hours. If a person takes the bus on Friday evening from (for example) the Hampton Transportation Center to the Patrick Henry Mall or near Fort Eustis, sometimes the buses are an hour late. He expressed another concern about locked bathrooms in the Transportation Centers. He explained even patrons riding the bus could not use the restroom facilities in the Transportation Center (even though they had a security guard) because they are locked in order to keep the homeless people out. He said another issue is the Teen Center which is located away from most citizens and teenagers in Hampton. He suggested the City negotiate with Pentran (in the budget process) a ride on pass program for Hamptons youth. He said the City of Newport News has a year round program which allows kids to ride the bus at no cost (once the parents sign the children up and they meet the requirements). Mr. Brooks commented regarding rugby and stated it is a ruffian’s game played by gentleman.
Ms. Doris Byrne, 2 Adriatic Drive, greeted the Mayor and the members of Council and stated she walks with Ms. Ripple every day and they are confused and aren’t sure if they should walk in the high tide or low tide and if they walk at all, they have to walk in the water. She said it is also depressing to see all of the no trespassing signs. She noted she and her husband bought their house in 1979 and she has been living here and walking on the beach ever since. She said she is more than upset, and one of her concerns is when her grandchildren visit for the summer and ask if they can fly a kite on the beach, she will have to tell them no and explain that she did her best and spoke to City Council asking them to keep the beach for the people.
Mr. Hugh Bassette, 117 Rip Rap Road, agreed with the people of Grand View regarding the fact that the beach belongs to us all. He said he doesn’t live anywhere near the beach, but if he wants to go, he should be able to go and enjoy it because the beach does not belong to one or two people, it belongs to us all.
Mr. Bassette expressed his opinion about the budget and said you can either raise revenue or cut spending in order to balance the budget. He said he is against raising revenue. He said the City is taxing his house, car, dog (dog license); therefore he feels everything he owns is being taxed and the City is getting him coming and going. He suggested the following ways to save money: 1. Not filling the vacant Assistant City Manager position. He said a City with 130,000 citizens does not need three City Managers. 2. Nobody should be driving City cars home except for possibly the Police Chief and Fire Chief. He said other than that, all of the other vehicles could be sold. He said he worked at many jobs and no one ever paid him to ride from place to place; it was simply a part of the job. 3. Consultants. The City often consults on too many things. He gave an example most recently of the King Street Master Plan where someone was paid to design an intersection and in his opinion, Mr. Terry O’Neill , Community Development Department Director, could do that in his sleep, but the City paid someone else to do it. He continued he lives in Old Northampton and the people are against a lot of the King Street Master Plans. 4. City Salaries. He said nobody in the City should make more than $100,000. We live in a City where the average salary is $50,000-$60,000 per year, yet we pay people all of this money and he does not buy the argument that we are paying to get qualified people. 5. Staff bonuses. He said staff bonuses are the salaries they are getting and the people are lucky to have jobs, much less being paid a staff bonus. 6. Get rid of the firing range (that keeps him up in the morning and at night). He said he was in the army and learned how to fire 40 years ago and he could shoot right now and all of the practice is just recreation. 7. When you are in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging. He said we are in a deficit, yet the City is planning to build a $30 million courthouse that his grandchildren will end up paying for which is in his opinion not needed. He said if the City wants to raise revenue, they should put in a boat tax, a RV tax and reassessment. Mr. Bassette concluded by stating he went to the Hampton Museum which is paid by Hampton tax payers and they are selling caps with the confederate flag on it and he finds that highly offensive. He said if people on Beach Road want to fly that flag on their property, that is their property and they can do it, but he does not think the City of Hampton should be selling material with a confederate flag on it. He said it is highly offensive to be selling this item in a City which is 50 percent black. Mr. Bassette gave a hat to the City Manager.
Mr. Gregg Ellis, 9 Adriatic Avenue, greeted the Mayor, the Vice Mayor, the City Manager, the City Attorney and the members of Council and stated he has lived at 9 Adriatic Avenue for the last four years and has been a resident of Hampton for the last 44 years. He thanked the Mayor for looking into the White Marsh situation and said he would save most of his comments for the April 26th meeting. He asked the members of Council (if they haven’t been to Grand View Island) to visit Grand View to see what the residents are dealing with and to get a better understanding of what is going on prior to the meeting on April 26th.
Mayor Ward stated all of the citizens that signed up to speak had spoken. Mr. Ottofaro requested to speak and Mayor Ward explained to him that it was past 7:00 pm and all of the citizens signed up to speak had done so and he was out of order by speaking. She announced a 10 minute break would be given and the evening meeting would begin after the break.