“The City of Virginia Beach has gone above and beyond to develop a plan that serves both our community and the federal regulations.”
The good news: Virginia Beach has created a successful solution to a challenging set of circumstances by adopting a program that meets and exceeds the terms of the BRAC Commission’s decision.
Our city staff, our citizens, our business leaders, our state and federal representatives and our City Council have accepted the challenge of ensuring that the emerging land use development that threatens the viability of Oceana’s mission is stopped and that unprecedented measures are taken to roll back encroaching development in a manner that is fair, balanced and based upon sound planning and land use principles.
The numbers along the vertical line to the left represent the number of acres in the identified APZ-1 areas. The BRAC Commission gave a tough assignment – but it also – in highlighting condemnation – ignored powerful tools that the city has. By using its power to change zoning laws, the city immediately prevented any future incompatible development in all of the 1600+ acres in APZ-1. It would take many decades to gain the same control through condemnation only.
The purple dotted line running across the top shows the anticipated pattern if we follow the condemnation-only approach. It shows the level of incompatible development. It demonstrates that with $15 million spent annually combined with the escalation of property values, we can NEVER achieve the intent of the BRAC order to change the population and property profiles in the APZ-1 areas. Also, we will be forced to buy people out of their homes and businesses indiscriminately.
The orange line running straight across the chart represents the drop in incompatible use land when the City Council adopted the APZ-1 ordinance on Dec. 20, 2005.
The lower dotted red line shows the decrease of incompatible properties anticipated by the city’s plan. Rather than spending $15 million per year for decades, to achieve almost no rollback, the city can leverage this money and spend it wisely to encourage compatible development to come in and incompatible development to voluntarily relocate to areas outside of APZ-1. It shows that, starting on Dec. 20, the city began meeting the terms of the BRAC order. The Virginia Beach plan implements the full intent of the BRAC order by more quickly and efficiently reducing the number of incompatible properties in APZ-1.
The City's Plan
The city’s strategy is to use the $15 million per year to acquire property AND at the same time offer zoning and financial incentives to redevelop nonconforming properties into conforming ones. Unlike a condemnation-only program, this plan halts all future development that does not conform to acceptable uses and rolls back existing incompatible development.
In this win-win scenario, Virginia Beach ensures that there will be no new incompatible development within APZ-1. This program goes beyond the BRAC order. A key component of the city’s strategy is that we offer innovative incentive programs and other resources to encourage nonconforming properties to convert to compatible uses. We use the money to entice others to spend private development dollars on rolling back development – a more efficient method than forcing out incompatible uses. Condemnation is costly and slow. Financial incentives and zoning controls are immediate and efficient.
We have already begun to realize these goals: when the city adopted the new APZ-1 ordinance on Dec. 20, 2005, it instantly achieved the equivalent of acquiring restrictive easements over about 1,600 acres of privately owned property in APZ-1. In the city’s plan, using smart zoning tools, leveraging its investment and enticing the cooperation of its citizens, existing development will be efficiently converted into conforming uses, and people will not be forced out of their homes.
The Virginia Beach program enhances the effectiveness, cost efficiency and public acceptance of rolling back the encroachment by nonconforming uses in the APZ-1 and Clear Zones. The Virginia Beach plan also provides for controlling and rolling back incompatible development in the land beneath the flight path between Oceana and Fentress. The city’s added commitment to make the entire program work includes the Oceana Land Use Conformity Program:
- Provisions for faster development approvals
- Waivers of development fees and utility hookup fees
- Tax incentives
- Economic development incentives
- Facilitating the purchase, exchange and lease of property
Virginia Beach does not want to just roll back incompatible development in APZ-1:
We want to ensure that the rollback, and any ensuing redevelopment in these areas, is achieved using sound planning and land use principles and that the new development is of a significantly higher quality than is there now.
And, while the city plan reverses and halts encroachment - meeting the BRAC order intent - the city took these additional steps:
- Adopted the provisions of Joint Land Use Study completed in the Spring of 2005
- Enacted provisions to require sound attenuation provisions in almost all structures within the Air Installation Compatible Use Zones surrounding Oceana
- Enacted an ordinance that prohibits rezonings or conditional use permits for incompatible uses in the 70 decibel level or higher noise zones surrounding Oceana
- Amended our comprehensive Plan and development regulations to restrict residential development in noise zones of 65 decibels and above in the Interfactility Traffic Area between Oceana and Fentress
- Started the program in this same area to purchase as much property as possible on a voluntary basis, and to keep it development-free
- Prohibited all new development in the APZ-1 and clear Zones that the Navy considers to be incompatible
- In the APZ-1 and Clear Zones, we have instituted a Use and Acquisition Plan to purchase properties that have been rendered without a reasonable use as a result of the APZ-1 ordinance
Virginia Beach has a rich and successful history serving as home to tens of thousands of Navy families. We are proud of our traditions and successes together. We expect to continue this tradition well into the future. The people who work at Oceana and their families are part of the fabric of this city. We are proud that they are here.