Public Comments for 01/23/2023 Appropriations - General Government and Capital Outlay Subcommittee
HB1618 - Revenue Stabilization Fund and Revenue Reserve Fund; required deposits.
HB1841 - Revenue Stabilization Fund and Revenue Reserve Fund; elimination of certain required deposits.
HB1843 - Capital outlay plan; updates the six-year capital outlay for projects to be funded.
Please vote NO to allow the AREC to be re-located. The proposed location is remote and undesirable. The current location is ideal and centrally located in the "urban" environment of Virginia Beach for all to the Hampton Roads and surrounding areas. *At stake is a mature garden laboratory of priceless perennials and majestic trees that may never be reproduced in an altogether different micro-climate in the fields of Pungo. *The current AREC setting also benefits from its access to major arteries which connect it to all of Hampton Roads and beyond. *Relocating AREC to accommodate big money commercial/residential development from contractors who hold sway over the city councils with dollar signs is reprehensible.
Please do not allow the AREC to be re-located to a remote location from it's more ideal central place in the "urban" environment of Virginia Beach. At stake is a mature garden laboratory of priceless perennials and majestic trees that may never be reproduced in an altogether different micro-climate in the fields of Pungo. The current AREC setting also benefits from its access to major arteries which connect it to all of Hampton Roads and beyond. Surely our region will benefit more from these cultivated grounds than from yet another commercial or residential development.
The present site of the Hampton Roads AREC is fine, providing education to citizens of various ages daily. The site is accessible for all, whether school age, college level, or the mature adult. The nature that is readily available for a mental break in a busy workday is phenomenal. This site has served many purposes through the years; leave it where it is now to continue education and respite. While volunteering here over the years, I have heard from so many visitors from the Southside and some from the Peninsula, "I didn't know what was here, it is open and informative and wonderful".
Vote no to funding a project that is presently working well for Tidewater citizens. Listen to the people familiar with the purpose of the project and how moving it to a completely different environment will be detrimental to it.
Please do not vote to move the Hampton Roads AREC from Diamond Springs Rd. This is a unique asset for the City Of VA Beach which cannot be duplicated on current farm soil. It is used by many civic organizations, has an arboretum that will take 100 years to replace and the research and display gardens are popular with residents and volunteer organizations. This is too valuable to be moved. Green spaces in VB are valued for their beauty and their ability to raise the air quality and quality of life of our residents.
Please do not vote to move our cherished AREC. This is not the time to remove $6,000,000. worth of trees from the Virginia Beach landscape. Trees cannot be moved to Pungo! If we are truly concerned about coastal flooding we certainly wouldn't dream of cutting 200 year old trees. Please leave our Research Station where it is established. We need our green space. The property on Diamond Springs Road is used by many civic groups and schools. It would take 100 years to replace the arboretum and grow the gardens that are on that property. The citizens of Virginia Beach don't need another big warehouse. We need our trees and our green space!
I adamantly oppose moving the Virginia Tech Cooperative Agricultural Extension Station from its current site on Diamond Springs Road to a remote site in the vicinity of Pungo. The current site meets all requirements for suburban agriculture/gardening and is a hub for citizen education and participation. Movement of the site to a remote location would cripple many of the AREC programs serving the local community.
I am opposed the the expenditure of any state monies to move the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station from its current site off Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach. The current site is centrally located, easy to access and is used by multiple groups from around the Hampton Roads Region. The research station sits on Va Beach city property and is leased (longterm) for this purpose. This site contains multiple heritage trees in the arboretum, mature gardens, and numerous ongoing - years long research projects that cannot be relocated to a new site. The expenditure of this money is not necessary. Please oppose 229 Virginia Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station Priority 1 Relocate Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center $75,000,001 to $100,000,000 HB 1843 SB 1068 Capital Outlay Plan Judy Kurtz
Re: in the Capital Outlay projects, #229- Relocation of VA Cooperative Extension and Agricultural research/experiment station on Diamond Springs Road, I oppose this relocation. It is not necessary and will cost $100 million- a waste of state funds. That property on Diamond Springs Road has many trees that mitigate the urban heat island effect, clean the air and water before it runs off into the Chesapeake Bay and the soil is unique. If you think a research center is needed closer to the coast in southern Virginia Beach, VA Tech could build a second facility for research into the impacts of salt water intrusion and sea level rise on crops. That would be very valuable: a second research center. Judy HInch
I am writing to express my strong opposition to funds for the relocation of the Virginia Tech site on Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach. This agricultural research and outreach facility is the only undeveloped “green” area in the northwestern portion of the city. It is convenient to large concentrations of suburban residents, many of who patronize the facility in conjunction with their gardening and plant growing activities. Please do not permit this unique resource to be moved. There are too many densely sited developments in the area. Removing the Virginia Tech facility will only serve to facilitate further concentrated overdevelopment in northwest Virginia Beach.
I am writing to vehemently oppose the possibility of moving the Research Center from Virginia Beach to Pungo. The current location is ideally suited to do the urban research it is intended to do—to study how the urban environment affects the different types of grasses and plants and how those plants can in turn affect the environment. It has been at that location for years. There seems to be no valid reason for moving it except the rumor that some company wants the land to build a warehouse on. There is plenty of land near this location that could be used for a warehouse. In fact there are some huge warehouse type buildings on Baker Road that appear empty. The amount of money being proposed to make the move is outrageous. A portion of that money could be used to refurbish and add to the existing location and the rest could be used for more valuable things like teacher salaries or police salaries or police training or homeless shelters. Finally the existing location has memorial plantings for people who dedicated volunteer service to the location. I am familiar with at least one of those memorials. It will be a disgrace to see those bulldozed down for concrete and asphalt!!! Carolyn Mize Sent from my iPhone
Green space and sea level rise are two major issues in Hampton Roads. The idea that developers are targeting a 100 year old facility that has provided benefit ( in both those areas) to the Tidewater area, has historical value, and cannot be replaced (or moved) is just beyond belief. Virginia Beach funded a study which raised many concerns such as the inadequacy of the possible new location. How do you move a multitude of old trees many more than 200 years old. The current location is centrally located and makes it much more usable for public access where many events, classes, and groups meet. This is a ridiculous proposal and a waste of valuable tax dollars . If the Legislature wants to fund 100,000,000 facility , consider that that estimate is in current dollars with no consideration for cost increases or inflation. Personally I think these dollars can be spent on better ideas and let’s protect our valuable (but diminishing) green spaces. Dana Parker
Last year the General Assembly appropriated $500,000 for a study for the feasibility of moving the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research Experimental Center from its present location in Virginia Beach to the community of Pungo, also in Virginia Beach. The mission of the Center now is to serve the Green Industry in fields of Urban Horticulture. The Study cites several negatives to the making the move. The most serious is “…the soil conditions (at the alternate sites) would be harmful to the types of research plants (currently) grown at HRAREC. “ The soils at the suggested Pungo sites “have water near or at the surface year-round and as such are classified as poorly drained.” The report also cites “potential wetland jurisdictional questions. “ The Center is currently 25 ft above sea level. The proposed sites are about 16 ft. lower & likely to be under water in the not-too-distant future. In addition, the City of Virginia Beach would have to partially fund this move at great cost. The Center, as it stands now serves the public & Green Industry with research, Learning Gardens, $6 million worth of established trees, valuable turf plots for a transition zone. The $100 million the GA has proposed for this move would be much better spent providing a newer greenhouse and equipment for the existing site. It’s not “broke” the way it is. There is no need for this particular “fix.” I would urge all representatives to read this report before voting yes to Section 229 to move the Center. Respectfully, Linda Pinkham B.S. Horticulture, VT M.S. Plant Protection, VT Former VT Extension Agent Former Garden Center/Landscape Business owner
HB2036 - Veterans care center; DVS to establish in the eastern portion of the Northern Va. region, report.
The Northern Virginia Veterans Association (NOVA Veterans) specifically and comprehensive supports our elderly, disabled and underserved veteran population. From 2021 to 2022 we have doubled the number of veteran cases we supported in and around Prince William County. The majority of those cases were for transportation, housing assistance, and benefits. Elderly Veterans cannot afford to leave their homes that are paid for, even though many should when their health starts to deteriorate and they’re sick and dying. The ones we help have multiple accommodation requirements,, they have mobility needs, cognitive memory needs, vision and hearing challenges. They truly need to be in a facility where they are taken care of. Many elderly veterans live in subsidized apartments and cannot afford in-home care or assisted living. This is what we see on a weekly basis. These veterans have very little income, most with only their home as an asset, but don’t make a little enough for government assistance. Our aging veterans are not getting any younger. Their health is deteriorating and they need services and care that they currently are not receiving. They are marginalized and forgotten because they don’t have the capacity to keep reaching out and asking for help and care - what they deserve. So NOVA Veterans asks for them. Look at the number of aging Veterans in Northern Virginia. Look at the number of veteran suicides and notice the highest rate belongs to the elderly population. I’m asking you to make this step in helping our veterans, your dad, your mom, your sister, Your brother. or friend, and possibly yourself one day. Thank you for serving our veterans like they have served us. Vote for House bill 2036.