Virginia Beach neighbors react to building proposal at golf course location

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The City of Virginia Beach's Dept. of Economic Development is looking to sell an area of land on Birdneck Road and City Council is expected to vote on their proposal for rezoning the land this Tuesday night.

The land was being used as a golf course and driving range but the city wants to build on the land as long as the lease holder complies with the building requirements of NAS Oceana and the Navy, as the land is very close to the base.

According to Warren Harris, the Director of Economic Development, the buyer is a battery storage facility that  stores energy used for many purposes. The facility would be an industrial area operating 24 hours a day.

The area is more than 60 acres of land but only 5000 square feet would be used for the facility and the city says building an industrialized area here would create approximately 1,100 jobs. Harris said jobs would employ Virginia Beach residents but also bring people from all over the nation into this area.

The average salary for a worker at the proposed plat is $74,000.

Harris said the city sold the land for more than what is was appraised at and though residents are concerned about their property value, the city said property value will not drop.

The Planning Commission approved the rezoning 10 to 0.

News 3 spoke to neighbors Monday. Many were not aware of the proposed build until a notice came in the mail just a few days before the rezoning vote.

A small sign is posted outside the property but residents said they did not notice it and many could not make the first planning meeting anyway because it was held at noon on November 8.

The city said they also held two meetings on two occasions in October and November.

The neighbors concerns are related to the increase in area traffic. They said they are hearing that the facility will be 24 hours and that is another concern for them as they do not want to hear the noise of traffic all hours of the day and night.

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the city has listed that area as a special economic development area. The next city meeting will be a vote to rezone the land as light industrial as it is currently zoned for residential but no homes can be built there because of the lands proximity to the base.

The vote for rezoning is December 5 but the vote to transfer the property to the Economic Development Authority is on December 12.

This potential future business owner was also considering this build in an area outside of Virginia so the city thinks this is a win for the state and city as it brings jobs here and creates revenue in the Commonwealth.

The Governor plans to make an announcement about the proposal tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.