I hope this email finds you well. I want to share three important items recently discussed by Norfolk City Council at either a council meeting or during our retreat in early October.
As I was walking door to door in the Park Place neighborhood in 2018 leading up to my election, it was very evident the city owned many vacant lots that were buildable on which we were not collecting any tax revenue. These lots ultimately could lead to additional real estate tax revenues and increased neighborhood vitality. I shared this with city administration and after a “bit” of nudging on my part, the city is going to introduce an auction process in early 2022 for individuals, builders etc. to bid on these lots to purchase and then build private homes. The former process to dispose of vacant parcels was very convoluted and lacked transparency. A moratorium on the sale of these lots was put in place until the process could be improved. The auction process will allow for transparency (winning bid, winning bidder and acquired parcel); more frequent sales (quarterly); faster time to construction due to a guarantee that the buildable parcels have clean titles; and potentially future parcels could sell above assessed value as neighborhoods improve with initial sales. FYI: There are 208 buildable lots in just Ward 2 alone and 773 in Norfolk as a whole.
At our October City Council Retreat at the beautiful new Tucker Library on the southside, city administration outlined their proposal for spending the nearly $154M in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government. These funds must be encumbered by December 31, 2024 and spent by December 31, 2026. This is once in a life-time money. This will allow us to complete projects faster and without incurring debt to fund them. We will engage the public in November and discuss changes during our work sessions in November and then vote in December. I encourage you to click on the link and read the recommendations. https://www.norfolk.gov/5129/American-Rescue-Plan-Act-ARPA
Safety for residents and businesses is of utmost concern to me. I want all to feel like where they live, work and play – anywhere in the city – is a safe environment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Again, at my urging, the city is putting into place a Business Compliance Unit (BCU) that will make sure that businesses and entities are compliant with their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) granted by the city. CUPs regulate business behaviors in specific circumstances; ensure parties are acting as good neighbors; allow for a level playing field; and can serve as a compliance mechanism. CUPs are granted and revoked by Norfolk City Council. The BCU will focus on CUPs related to nightclubs, short term rentals and marijuana legislation. This will require additional enforcement resources, which are sorely needed. We received an initial presentation on the BCU in late October and anticipate more detail in the coming month.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Perry Glass Art Collection now open. Stunning.
Ribbon cutting for Howard Hanna downtown office renovation. Beautiful!
Lamberts Point National Night Out