Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League

August 2005

             Guest Speakers at this Month's Meeting: Asst. City Manager Nancy Johnson, Acting Director of the Neighborhood and Leisure Services, and Ms. Deborah Morten, Head of Recreation, Parks and Open Space Department

CIVIC LEAGUE MEETING, Monday, August 8, 2005, 7:00 pm, Stuart Center, 411 Virginia Avenue. Use cafeteria entrance at school parking lot.

NEXT BOARD MEETING will be August 15. 2005, at 7:00 pm.

DEADLINE for the September issue is Tuesday, August 23, 2005.

THIS MONTH'S MEETING AGENDA:   Monthly police report - Code enforcement update - Asst. City Manager Nancy Johnson, Acting Director of the Neighborhood and Leisure Services, and Ms. Deborah Morten, Head of Recreation, Parks and Open Space Department, as our guests. They plan to talk about the mission of Norfolk’s Neighborhood and Leisure Services and what services are available.

President’s Notes
Andy Wallach

What a great July “meeting”! Special thanks to Steve Earnhart and Ann Fitzgibbon for arranging for the food and servers, Kathy Kretz and Anne Leigh Austin for the Bike Rodeo, and Gary Chiaveroti for the bike helmets… and thanks to all those members who assisted in making it a fun evening for the young and those of us who are somewhat older but still young at heart.

I spoke on behalf of the Civic League at the July 21st meeting of Norfolk’s Board of Zoning Appeals. I voiced the Civic League’s position, taken at our June meeting, to oppose the granting of a variance to allow the building of a house on a lot of less than 5,000 square feet on Maryland Avenue. The lot owner contended his check of real estate records before he bought the property did not show any joint ownership with adjacent property since 1950 and, thus he thought the property was “grandfathered”. However when he went to Zoning, they determined that there was joint ownership; and then when he re-checked the real estate records, the records had been changed and now showed joint ownership with adjacent property. He claimed hardship since he now owned a piece of property on which he could not build. I stated that he had recourse; he could ask or, if necessary, sue the person from whom he bought the lot to get his money back. The Board did not grant him a variance and therefore he cannot build. He does have the right to appeal the decision within 30 days to the Circuit Court..

You can learn two lessons from this: If you need a variance, get it prior to buying the property…do not rely on your own informal research. And attend and speak at hearings on items that concern you. Your voice can make a difference.

The following is from the Board of Zoning Appeals application: “Note: Members of the Board are appointed by the Circuit Court and are empowered to grant appeals, only if the following conditions are found to exist:
(a) That the strict application of the ordinance would produce undue hardship that would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property when a property owner can show that the property was acquired in good faith and where by reason of the exceptional narrowness; shallowness; size or shape of a specific piece of property at the time of the effective date of the ordinance; or where by reason of exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary situation or condition of such piece of property, or of the condition situation or development of property immediately adjacent thereto, would produce undue hardship. The Board is not empowered to grant appeals sought by an applicant for SPECIAL PRIVILEGES OR CONVENIENCE.
(b) Property is found to be divided by zoning district boundary lines.
(c) Error or interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance by the Zoning Administrator.
(d) Uncertainty as to the exact location of zoning district boundaries.

Hope to see and talk to you at our August meeting.

City Parks & You
August Civic League Meeting

Steve Earnhart

Great cities need great parks. Public parks are not amenities designed around houses or decorations around developments but vital public spaces that, along with libraries and schools, require investment and attention by the citizens of the community. Whether you are a parent looking for a safe place to play with your kids among trees and grass, a young skateboarder tired of being run off of attractive cement slabs, a future tennis star looking for a good court or a concerned citizen worried about the lack of recreational programs for youngsters and senior citizens, your August CPRV Civic League meeting is the place to be.

We are very pleased to have Asst. City Manager Nancy Johnson, Acting Director of the Neighborhood and Leisure Services, and Ms. Deborah Morten, Head of Recreation, Parks and Open Space Department, as our guests. They plan to talk about the mission of Norfolk’s Neighborhood and Leisure Services and what services are available. There will be plenty of discussion about the current and future use of parks, the new Fitness & Wellness center (formerly the Jewish Community Center) and the state of our neighborhoods. Please bring your questions and suggestions for them.

As always, I am interested in suggestions for future guest speakers/programs. Drop me an email: -

Jeanne Ullian

The famous black and white oval CPRV stickers will be available at the August meeting. Get one for each of the vehicles in your household--cars, bikes, trikes, and even wagons. Your entire donation of $2.50 per sticker goes into the CPRV treasury to help fund all the wonderful league activities throughout the year. If you can't make the meeting, order your stickers by mail. Better yet, get together and send in a group order with your neighbors. All you need to do is send a check, made payable to CPRV. Mail to: Jeanne Ullian, 4400 Mayflower Road, Norfolk, VA 23508.

Kristin Bourcier

The CPRV 6th Annual Front Porch Art Walk is scheduled for Sunday, October 9th, from 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. and we need YOUR HELP to get organized. For those of you who are new to the area, the Art Walk was conceived and organized by Sheila Robinson six years ago and has quickly become a community favorite. Resident artists and fine hand-crafters are invited to display and sell their works on their front porches. Each year has seen this event grow, both in terms of the number of artists participating, as well as the crowd of folks who enjoy strolling our streets and purchasing artwork.

We are in need of volunteers to assist with baking or donating cookies, helping post flyers, manning our map stations, and any of the other last-minute tasks that always seem to arise! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kristin Bourcier at or 622-5324.

Artist registrations will be mailed out in August to those people who participated in last year's event. Registrations will also be available at Bernstein's Art Store on Colley Ave, as well as the Riverview Coffee Parlor on Granby Street. We look forward to another wonderful afternoon of community art, and hope you will be able to join us!. -

What’s up at:
Jeanne Ullian

New Ice Cream Social and Bike Rodeo photos are up as promised. If you smiled when Jeremy Bailey pointed his camera, you just might be up on our website. Check out the “brain helmets” as well as the cute kids and happy adults who participated in this cool event. If boats are more your style, a series of photos documenting the launching of two small boats into the Lafayette River is also up for your enjoyment. Jeremy’s fast camera captured Spartina in mid-air as she slid off the bulkhead and into the water. Use the “Around the Neighborhood 2005” link to see this series.

Kathy Stark

“Norfolk should end its political blackout.” That was the headline in the Pilot February 8, 2005. Since then, $100,000 has been set aside in the 2006 budget year (that began in July) to televise 12 of council’s 96 meetings (formal and informal). That’s 12% of all scheduled yearly meetings. And, it’s rumored that these 12 meetings may not be broadcast live, further delaying the public’s right to be informed as decisions occur. Why is televising all meetings especially important for Norfolk residents? 75% of all council meetings are held during the day, when most residents are working to pay their taxes. Council schedules one night meeting a month.

Council has yet to discuss when and how they want to implement televised meetings. They hold their annual retreat the middle of September. Contact your City Council and your council-member in particular and let them know you support televising ALL public meetings involving City Council and that you want it as an agenda item during their retreat this September.

It’s time for our City leaders to join our sister cities in Hampton Roads and afford Norfolk citizens the opportunity to view policy decisions affecting each of us. Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, and Portsmouth currently televise their City Council meetings and have done so for many years

Televising both formal and informal sessions of Council meetings as well as other meetings involving the welfare of Norfolk citizens give us the opportunity to become better citizens. Televising City Council meetings will enable us, the constituents of our elected officials, to become and remain more informed on the issues facing our City government and our neighborhoods and to understand how our elected officials make decisions.

Suspicious Activity Alert
Joe Rivas

If you are a member of the CPRV Community Email List many of you may have noticed a lengthy discussion thread regarding suspicious activity in the neighborhood. According to residents, there has been a young woman sometimes with friends, other times alone, who knocks on doors and requests permission to use your phone in order to call AAA for her broken-down vehicle. Residents please be alert and don’t allow strangers into your home. Call the police (911 or non-emergency: 441-5610) if you suspect something is not quite right.

Up From the Soil
Jim Hoffmaster, Tanner’s Creek Garden Center

“Is it hot enough for ya?” How many times can you hear that before it gets old? Such is life in the Hampton Roads garden and personally, I would not trade it for anything. It could be so much worse. However, our plants don’t have the same reasoning. As they use their internal resources to stay alive, they need your help to keep their heads up. Be mindful of watering as needed, especially your container plants. One super-hot day and a bone-dry pot is all your plants need to say goodbye for this season! Another issue we need to address is the mosquito problem. With the late afternoon thunderstorms and downpours and the high humidity, we now have the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and the possibility of spreading West Nile and other viruses.

Mosquitoes only need a tablespoonful of water to breed. With that in mind, about twice a week, check your property for standing water of any kind. Planter trays, tarps, tires, trash, pet dishes, birdbaths, anything that has standing water in it MUST be emptied as soon as you see it. Situate the items so that it can no longer collect water and your job will be easier the next time you check. Also, keep your grass cut regularly. Mosquitoes love tall damp grass and weeds. If you use a rain barrel to collect rainwater and water your plants (extra gardening points for you!), make sure the top of the barrel has some kind of cover or screen so that mosquitoes can not lay eggs in there.

If you have a pond with fish, you should not be worried with mosquito larva since the fish will feed on the larva as they hatch. If you do not have fish or if you have a water fountain without constantly running water, used “mosquito dunks,” (available at most garden centers including Tanners Creek!). These dunks are good for about 60 days and even if the water evaporates and the dunk dries out, once it is wet again, it is reactivated!

If you would like more information on mosquito control, we have an informative print-out at Tanners Creek Garden Center that we would love to share with you or you can call your local extension office in Norfolk. Stay cool, feed your plants and empty that standing water and enjoy the rest of this summer in beautiful Hampton Roads, VA. If you have any questions, feel free to come up to the Garden Center or drop me an e-mail at:

Steve Earnhart

Hopefully, you and your family were able to attend the July CPRV Civic League Weiner Roast, Ice Cream Social & Bike Rodeo Extravaganza. If so, you saw a great example of the “social capital” of the CPRV community at work – the power everyday people have to make positive things happen if they step up and extend themselves.

We were assisted by so many other volunteers during the evening: Ronnie Vignault (State Farm Agent, Seldon Arcade), Debi Jarrett, Jeremy Bailey, Sandy Laudenslager, John Laudenslager, Tripp Kretz, Matt Riethmiller, Amy Fant, Ian Maize and many others who just pitched in when needed. I would also like to thank the custodial staff of Stuart Center for being very flexible and Mr. Green for helping us out in a pinch. If I didn’t mention you in this article, I apologize and I will buy you an ice cream cone next July. If you were not able to attend, check out the website for pictures of the event. If you want to help me with the next big CPRV social event (the December Holiday party), please get in touch. Drop me an email:

Sheila Janes

One of the most beautiful thing about living in Colonial Place is the huge old trees that we have. I dislike the neighborhoods where they come in and plow over all the trees, leaving the neighborhood treeless or with little seedlings that will take decades to look nice. In order to keep the trees in our neighborhood, neighbors must keep an eye on the enemy - IVY! Ivy will kill your trees. Cut it off at the bottom of the tree and watch your trees flourish! English ivy is still the most prevalent and harmful.

Take a few minutes this weekend to walk your property and see if Ivy is in fact invading your trees.  As I walk the neighborhood, I see many trees at risk from Ivy.

Sheila Janes

This past year, CPRV civic organization has raised 3,000 oysters. They grew in a float hanging from the public pier on Knitting Mill Creek. The kids on my street enjoyed tracking their growth over a year and learning about how these oysters filter pollutants out of the water, thus helping to clean up the bay. This past weekend, my kids and I set out for an oyster round-out adventure. We went on the Chesapeake Bay's boat and headed out to the oyster reef and helped dump our 3,000 mature oysters (plus tens of thousands of other oysters that were rounded-up throughout Hampton Roads) onto the reef. Quite an incredible experience!

There is an informative article in the Virginian Pilot about how the number of crabs have declined 84% in the Chesapeake Bay. A big reason for this decline is poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. This is quite a problem for our area that is only getting worse as the years go on. Waterfront property will not be so exciting when the water is void of life. The DEAD ZONE is a real threat to our overall quality of life. There are many things that you can do, but here are just a few: Be aware of what types of fertilizers you are using. This is especially important for our neighborhood where everyone's homes are so close to water. When it rains, whatever you have used on your lawn runs off into the street and down the road to dump right into either Haven Creek or Knitting Mill Creek. Chemicals used to promote growth in the yard are detrimental when they hit the waterways.

Show support for state & federal money to go towards money for agricultural conservation practices is also a big strategy for reducing nitrogen levels and phosphorus levels from running off into our bay. This program needs your vote of support. Funding sewage plant upgrades is another goal for the CBF as that is the leading source of nitrogen pollution in the Commonwealth. Again, another issue needing citizen support.

Supporting the Open Space coalition, a CBF spearheaded program that has helped save open space and promote land conservation. An event the CBF is planning is a big "Lobby Day"on which they bus Virginians to Richmond to gather and show support for the Chesapeake Bay Foundations programs. Politicians respond to numbers and the goal of this day is to show up in record numbers letting legislators know that cleaning up the bay is important to us! This is going to be held on MLK day, January 16th, 2006. Go ahead and put it on your calendar.

Help start your own oyster garden to raise oysters. Our neighborhood has access to many floats that are not currently being used. Your family can "adopt" 1,000 oysters, check on them throughout the year, and then be a part of bringing the oysters to the reef out in the Chesapeake Bay. You need not live on the waterfront to adopt oysters. There are spots around the neighborhood where you can tie up your floats.

This is a great project for a family to do and doesn't take up much time at all. The experience was great for us this past year. I kept them at the dock next to O'Sullivans and about once a month during the fall the kids and I went down to the dock and pulled up the float to make sure there weren't any stowaways trying to eat our oysters. The kids would squeal if there was a little crab or little fish and we would use a stick to flip him out. We would note if they looked any bigger than last visit, and I educated the kids and their friends about how the oysters help clean up the river. We picked up checking on them again in the spring. It was an easy-going responsibility that we could plan to do or do on the spur of the moment if we had an extra 15 minutes. Twice during the year I pulled the oyster bag out and sprayed it off with the hose that was there. The kids really loved doing that. Nova became such a pro with the oysters that she helped teach her girl-scout friends about them, and they got some oysters to care for also. This is something your family can easily do. For further research on these topics visit the

Please e-mail me directly at: or call me at: 469-3531, if you would like to adopt 1,000 oysters to raise in our neighborhood’s waterways.


Friday, August 5th, 2005
6:30-9:30 p.m. - Band of Oz - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Sunday, August 7th, 2005
6:00-8:00 p.m. - The Royal Atlantic Brass Band - Town Point Park (Free)
7:00-9:00 p.m. - Dick Crist & The Sounds of Swing - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Monday, August 8th, 2005
7:00 p.m. - Civic League Meeting - Stuart Center
Friday, August 12th, 2005
6:30-9:30 p.m. - FAB - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Sunday, August 14th, 2005
6:00-8:00 p.m. - The Hampton Roads Metro Band - Town Point Park (Free)
7:00-9:00 p.m. - Don Case & Satin Sound Orchestra - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Friday, August 19th, 2005
6:30-9:30 p.m. - The Embers - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Saturday, August 20th, 2005
4:00-11:00p.m. - 5th Annual Cingular Norfolk Latino Festival - Town Point Park (Call: 441-2345 for admission price information)
Sunday, August 21st, 2005
6:00-8:00 p.m. - The Khedive Shrine Band - Town Point Park (Free)
7:00-9:00 p.m. - Buddy Clark & the Spirit of America Orchestra - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Monday, August 22nd, 2005
6:30 p.m. - Crime Watch Meeting - Stuart Center
Friday, August 26th, 2005
6:30-9:30 p.m. - Bill Deal’s Rhondels - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)
Sunday, August 28th, 2005
6:00-8:00 p.m. - The Royal Atlantic Brass Band - Town Point Park (Free)
7:00-9:00 p.m. - The Continentals - Ocean View Beach Park (Free)

(Dates and Times subject to change without notice) Consult your local periodicals for additional information, admission costs and updates)

COMMUNITY NEWS is produced by:

              The Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League
              P.O. Box 6130
              Norfolk, VA 23508

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              WEB PAGE:

Community News Editor:   Joe Rivas, Phone 277-2822
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Advertising:   Joe Rivas, Phone 277-2822

Please deliver typewritten newsletter items to:

              Joe Rivas
              Phone: 277-2822

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