Guest Speaker, Michael Fitzgibbon, Charette Coordinator
NEXT BOARD MEETING will be February 17, 2003, at 7:00 pm.
DEADLINE for the March issue is Tuesday, February 25, 2003.
THIS MONTH'S MEETING AGENDA:   Monthly police report - Code enforcement update - Michael Fitzgibbon, Charette Coordinator, will speak - Discussion and vote on application to close portion of right of way in Riverview.
As I write this article, January is ending and I know we all hope the snow ends with it as well. Due to all the snow and bad weather we have had, the re-opening of Delaware Avenue has been postponed until February 15, 2003. This is a two-week delay I know we could all have done without. February is almost here, a month when we celebrate Black History, our Community Charette, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. As I talk about our Charette, keep in mind that the deadline for our newsletter has me writing about an event that hasn’t happened yet and will be over when you read this article. This creates a bit of a challenge to keep everyone current, though try I must!
First, let me THANK all of the people that jumped in and provided their Time, Talents, and Tenacity to make the Charette an event that we will all benefit from. A lot of people put a lot of energy into this event and I know it is going to pay off in both the short run and the long haul. Thank you to all the people that took their time to attend this event - everybody can make a difference if you will just participate. Thank you, Michael Fitzgibbon for heading this effort, assembling the teams of volunteers and keeping everyone focused on the immediate tasks at hand. Then, in addition to the volunteers and attendees, the event owes much to the many businesses that provided funding and products for this endeavor. In the next newsletter we will make sure that you know all the businesses that participated so that you can thank them! The best way to thank them is by doing business with their establishments.
Our February meeting will feature our own Michael Fitzgibbon as our Guest Speaker. Michael will provide us with a presentation of the information learned and major details covered at the Charette. We will also be voting on the agenda item that was postponed last month. The agenda item is a vote for whether our Civic League will support or oppose closing a 12.5 foot portion of land on the East side of 40th Street that runs from Holly Avenue to Beach Avenue. Maps and drawing of the area in question will be available at our meeting. (See separate article on page 3) Please plan to be at our meeting so that you can vote on this item.
And finally, the vacancy in the Treasurer’s position is still there, so call me if you are interested. See you at our next meeting!
2002-2003 has inflicted upon us a cold, dark winter, but hopefully the holiday wreaths that adorned Riverview Village added a little brightness to your drive through the commercial district. I need to let you in on a little secret: it is not “the City” that hangs 65 wreaths using a bucket truck. The procedure is a bit more hands-on. The ladies at Mary Barnett’s ready the wreaths with beautiful bows, I put the word out to a few kind-hearted individuals to “bring your own ladder and wire cutters,” and the weatherman routinely provides us with a cold, blustery day. The traditional wreaths were hung and removed by Riverview businesses and residents. Many thanks to Mary Barnett, Richard Levin, Fouad Mohit, Officer Jim Prentice, Davenport’s Service Station, Superior Tire, Jim Akers, Bill Nusbaum and Pete Zemanian for their hard work. The wreaths were up just in time for the November 23 Norfolk Grand Illumination Parade and removed and stored immediately following “Little Christmas.”
This spring Riverview Village will have several “brick” crosswalks stamped into the pavement. This will assist pedestrians crossing Granby Street and may help slow traffic to the designated speed limit. Five more trashcans will soon be in place. Winter is not the time we traditionally consider a visit the Zoo, but for many of the animals it is their most active season. The Siberian tigers, of course, love a good cold spell. Most African animals are also accustomed to cold temperatures and are likely to be very active. The reptile and nocturnal house is a good spot for human visitors to warm up.
The Zoo’s new entry complex is now in use and the Kugel ball at the entry plaza is operating. This sphere is nearly 6 feet in diameter and is made of New Belfast black granite, with an engraved world map. The ball weighs 17,500 pounds and the base weighs 28,000 pounds. The Kugel spins on the polar axis when the water is on and visitors are invited to stop the ball and turn it in another direction. Eventually, however, it returns to the polar spin. The Kugel ball was handcrafted in Germany, sent on a container ship, and set in place by a gigantic crane.
The Zoo’s new gift shop is beautiful and is a great place to shop for birthday party gifts (you are welcome to come by just to shop if you don’t have time to visit the zoo). After-school and weekend education programs are conducted in the building. Be sure to check out the new courses. Best of all, the Zoo is part of our neighborhood so you will be able to meet your New Year’s resolution to shop the neighborhood first!
At the February Civic League meeting we will discuss and vote on whether to support or oppose Mr. Gary Emerson’s September 24, 2002, application to the City to close a portion of the East 40th Street right of way that runs in front of his house at 309 East 40th Street and along the side of Mr. George Maihafer’s property at 3920 Holly Avenue in Riverview. The Civic League’s President, Craig Reilly, formed a committee to research the issue. At the meeting, the committee will provide background data, the pros, and the cons. Following the presentation, individuals will be afforded the opportunity to present their views and ask questions prior to a vote.
According to Virginia law, any reduction in a street’s right of way is a “street closure”; however, in the case of Mr. Emerson’s request, approval would not affect the paved area of the road but the unpaved area next to the road. Normally when a developer subdivides a parcel of land he/she provides public rights of way to afford people access to their homes and for the installation of services such as water, sewer, electricity, and gas. Title to these rights of way can either be retained by the developer or transferred to the city. If an adjacent landowner desires to “annex” a portion of the right of way, he/she must first ask the City to determine if there is a present or future need of the land for the provision of public services. If the City does not require the land, the owner needs a title search to determine who has title to the right of way. He then must negotiate with the “owner” to obtain the land. ” According to the city, there have not been any “street closures” in Riverview and the City does not know who holds title to the rights of way.
Riverview was plotted in 1900. At that time the developer laid out the streets and lots. The developer provided 72-foot rights of way for the numbered streets and 50 feet for Holly and Beach Avenues. The normal street rights of way in Norfolk residential areas are 50 feet; the numbered street rights of way are 22 feet wider than normal. The actual paved width of the numbered streets in Riverview is approximately 24 feet and Holly Avenue is 30 feet. In Riverview (and in Colonial Place) not all the rights of way as originally platted contain streets. A platted, uninstalled street is called a “paper street”.
There are unpaved portions of the rights of way adjacent to all of our properties. These unpaved portions contain sidewalks and telephone poles. For some of us, the rights of way extend into what we may consider as part of our yard. Along most of the property bordering Riverview’s numbered streets, the rights of way extend approximately 24 feet from the edge of the pavement. There is approximately 16.5 feet between the pavement and the sidewalk, 5 feet of sidewalk, and then an additional approximately 2.5 feet of right of way between the sidewalk and the property lines. For properties along Holly, there is approximately 10 feet of right of way along each side of the pavement; for those with sidewalks there is approximately 4 feet of grass, 4 feet of sidewalk, and an additional 2 feet between the sidewalk and the properties.
While the property owner adjacent to a right of way is expected to maintain the property, he/she is not allowed to encumber public access, i.e.,install a fence.
There is no sidewalk along 40th Street next to the Emerson/Maihafer properties. There is a sidewalk that runs part of the way on the other side of 40th Street from their property. The ends of the other numbered streets are similar; there is no sidewalk along the south side of 39th Street, the north side of 42nd Street, or either side of the end of 41st Street (which is in fact a “paper street”. There are also other properties in Riverview without sidewalks where there is a wide right of way between the pavement and the property line. Currently a wall, erected by a previous owner, encumbers the public’s right of way along the side of Mr. Maihafer’s property.
The City has determined in the case of the Emerson/Maihafer request that the 12.5 feet of right of way is not required for the provision of services. However, the 12.5 feet of right of way would be required if it ever were desired to install a sidewalk that aligned with the rest of the sidewalk along 40th Street. Normally the City encourages street closures where feasible to provide owners with the necessary land to add on to their structures. The City zoning requires a 25-foot setback of structures from the front of a piece of property and a 10-foot setback from the sides. For corner lots, the narrower side is considered the front irrespective of how the structure faces. Since 40th Street is the side of Mr. Emerson’s property, the addition of 12.5 feet to his property potentially allows a 15-foot addition/garage next to the house along 40th Street.
The City and Mr. Emerson agreed to let the Civic League discuss the request and provide its input prior to the City Planning Commission holding of a public hearing. The Planning Commission forwards a recommendation to the City Council, which in turn approves or disapproves the request at a public hearing.
One of the great pleasures of serving on the Civic League Board is approving Civic League involvement in grass root projects within Colonial Place and Riverview. Successful recent projects have included the Knitting Mill Creek Community Garden, the Art Walk, and the Dog Park. In these projects the League acts as an umbrella organization- providing stability to one-person or small group endeavors. Our primary role in these projects is to provide credibility to the community-at-large, a means of communication, and an audited account for the transfer of monies. Our recent Community Charette falls into this same category.
At the July 15, 2002, Civic League Board Meeting, Michael Fitzgibbon, a Colonial Place resident, approached the Board and received support to coordinate a neighborhood Charette. From there he and his group worked independently to organize, promote, and hold the Charette. All monies for the Charette have come from outside funding, none from the current League treasury. The Charette expects to break even or possibly end with a very small surplus. Agendas and minutes of all the Charette meetings have been posted on the CPRV web site www.cprv.org as well as reported in the newsletter. Details concerning budgets and donations have also been posted.
All donations have been made out to the Civic League and deposited in our account. The CPRV treasurer, upon receipt of proper documentation and approval by the Charette coordinator Michael Fitzgibbon, will make disbursement of these funds, expected to total close to $2000. In accordance with standard Civic League by-laws two League Officers will sign all checks over $100. Approval for reimbursements will be brought before the Civic League Membership only if disbursements exceed donations.
As of press time, the Charette has ended. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what a success yesterday was for our communities. We had more than 175 people attending, which included local residents, local business owners, guests and city officials. We had good food and door prizes from local restaurants and businesses. (Next month’s issue will give credit to all of them).
I would also like to thank all the members of the “Charette” team for all their hard work and determination.
Under their direction, the day ran smoothly and I believe everybody had a good time.
As noted earlier, Michael Fitzgibbon is our featured speaker at the civic league meeting Monday night. He will be giving a summary of the days events. Please plan to attend.
As of January 15, 2003, all renewal notices for membership have been mailed. If you did not receive a notice, please use the form included with your Community News.
At this time I am enjoying a lengthy vacation, so I will not be able to return your new membership cards until late March. Nevertheless, I ask that you return them promptly.
The Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League
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Norfolk, VA 23508
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