apparatus

Archived Story

City lists legislative concerns

Published 10:53pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

The City Council on Wednesday approved its legislative agenda ahead of a dinner with legislators set for Nov. 7.

Items set for discussion with state lawmakers include a feasibility study on a joint-use library concept with Paul D. Camp Community College, enterprise zone designations, the Commonwealth Railway Mainline Safety Relocation, an amendment to an agreement restricting development on a North Suffolk site, transportation projects and more.

Transportation priorities include the widening of Holland Road, building a bridge parallel to the Godwin Bridge over the Nansemond River, raising the Kimberly Bridge and a portion of North Main Street to alleviate regular flooding there, improving rail facilities to increase rail capacity through the city, replacing the Kings Highway Bridge and continuing maintenance dredging of Bennett’s Creek.

In transportation and other areas, the city plans to mount opposition to unfunded and underfunded mandates, Intergovernmental Relations and Special Projects Manager Sherry Hunt said during Wednesday’s presentation.

The city also hopes to gain approval for a feasibility study that would allow the city and Paul D. Camp Community College to pool resources for a new library in the core downtown that would also incorporate college classrooms.

“We’re modeling our concept behind a very successful venture in one of the neighboring localities,” Hunt said, referring to a joint facility between the city of Virginia Beach and Tidewater Community College.

“We just want to explore the options for this particular facility.”

Also on the agenda is a move to change the criteria for having an enterprise zone designated by the state. Currently, the enterprise zones — special areas where cities can offer incentives for employers to set up shop — are given based on economic figures for the entire city.

Suffolk officials, however, want to change that designation to be based on census tracts instead, allowing distressed areas of the city to get the designation. An effort to do so met with opposition last year from localities that currently have enterprise zones and don’t want to lose them, but the city hopes to try again this year.

The city used to have an enterprise zone but lost it in 2009, Hunt said.

The city also hopes to continue what Hunt called “steady progress” on the Commonwealth Railway Mainline Safety Relocation effort. Last year’s legislative session saw a study proposed to investigate improvements to the railroad.

On the 55-acre site in North Suffolk owned by the Economic Development Authority, the city hopes to get legislators to agree that language in an agreement that restricts development on the site to defense technology uses in support of the U.S. Joint Forces Command is too restrictive — in particular, since that command no longer exists.

Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said the city wants to look not only at defense technology uses, but also at hospitality, medical and other uses.

“We’re just looking for flexibility as we develop that site in Northern Suffolk,” he said.

The city also hopes to be added to a list of localities in state code that are permitted to place liens on property for unpaid water and sewer costs.

Other items the city hopes to monitor include roadway maintenance funding, the move to repeal the Business, Professional and Occupational License tax and efforts to end the moratorium on uranium mining.

The city is opposed to uranium mining and opposed to the elimination of the BPOL tax unless another revenue source replaces it.

PrintFriendly
  • deany

    As I’ve stated before in other comments, education of the masses is not a priority in this city……because if it was we would be at every school board and city council meetings demanding more for our children and better pay for our teachers.

    Suggest Removal

  • dollyb12

    What is the Commonwealth Railway Mainline Safety Relocation? Hopefully, it has something to do with taking the current railway out of our front and back yards and relieving traffic congestion on our narrow main roads.

    Suggest Removal

  • Sea

    efforts to end the moratorium on uranium mining

    Does the above mean the city wants the uranium mining to happen or not to happen?

    Suggest Removal

  • MrJiggyFly

    “Also on the agenda is a move to change the criteria for having an enterprise zone designated by the state. Currently, the enterprise zones — special areas where cities can offer incentives for employers to set up shop — are given based on economic figures for the entire city.

    Suffolk officials, however, want to change that designation to be based on census tracts instead, allowing distressed areas of the city to get the designation. An effort to do so met with opposition last year from localities that currently have enterprise zones and don’t want to lose them, but the city hopes to try again this year.”

    If you want quality retailers, etc. to consider the downtown area, then you need to clean it up first. Get rid of the blight. Building apartment buildings and low-income housing thru-out the city IS NOT the answer. This line of thinking only taxes the infrastructure, especially the schools and with very little if any economic return.

    Suggest Removal

    • deany

      Where do you expect the “low-income” to go….how about building affordable housing that matches the actual income levels of the. masses and not just the higher eschelon of the city, school system, city council, and military retirees.,and contractors. Afterall,, everyone deserves a decent. place to live and a fair wage. Again, I

      Suggest Removal

      • MrJiggyFly

        Nobody “deserves” housing and a “fair wage”. You earn that thru education and hard, honest work.

        When you build a buttload of apartments and affordable housing, you put an unnecessary burden on city utilities, emergency services and most importantly the school system. The lower income segment tends to have more children with little economic contribution (except to Walmart, nail shops & check cashing centers) to the city. And viola, overcrowded schools, etc. What happens next? An excuse to expand government. And how do you pay for it? More taxes.

        Suggest Removal

      • blueberry

        Why not tell the people that need to affordable housing to get further educated or better jobs like the rest of us have and actually provide something for themselves instead of relying on others to just give them stuff.

        Suggest Removal

      • 7l

        The City of Suffolk has went out of it’s way to ensure that there will be plenty of low-income jobs in western Suffolk. With hundreds more to come with the completion of Center Point. These are working people, where will they live? Not too far from the development because they can’t afford the transportation with the wages tghey earn. Low income housing will have to be built to support the labor pool needed by the warehouses. Wonder what Suffolk will look like in 20 years?

        Suggest Removal

      • blueberry

        @71october we will start to look like Norfolk and Portsmouth if education is not pushed for

        Suggest Removal

  • blueberry

    I am glad to see that education is still a long distant thought of the City!

    Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks