Public Comments for 02/08/2021 Counties Cities and Towns
SB1120 - County executive form of government; local budgets.
SB1128 - Norfolk, City of; amending charter, general updates.
SB1141 - Hampton Roads area refuse collection authority; financial planning.
SB1152 - Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc.
SB1207 - Solar and energy storage projects; siting agreements throughout the Commonwealth.
SB1208 - Continuity of government; extends period of time that locality may provide after disaster, etc.
SB1216 - Crewe, Town of; amending charter, changes to charter including town council, elections and powers.
SB1267 - Covington, City of; amending charter, consolidated school division, salaries.
SB1285 - Vacant buildings; registration.
The Virginia First Cities Coalition is very supportive of SB 1285 and all the legislation this year that deals with issues of blight and derelict buildings. Our 16 older, core Virginia cities have varying degrees of issues with blight and unattended buildings. However, we are united in the belief that, when we hear from our citizens year after year about spot blight in some of our neighborhoods, we should have the ability to responsibly remediate the situation for the greater good. We are grateful to the General Assembly for providing us all possible tools to deal with these issues and raise up our neighborhoods and ask for your support of HB 1285.
SB1298 - Tourism improvement districts; authorizes any locality to create.
SB 1298 has had no statewide public hearings nor statewide referendum before its passage by the Virginia Senate. This bill, like HB 2043, appears to be another attempt to legitimize past actions that were taken without authority. The authority given by the people to their duly elected Officials is to represent the people. Those elected Officials cannot delegate or otherwise 'pass on' the authority granted to them by the people to another non-elected private or public entity in an effort to shelter themselves from liability for breaking their Oaths of Office. The bill states some publicity operations, but the language that is similar to HB 2043 still remains. The intent to control and acquire private property for commercial tourism in residential neighborhoods without approval by the people through referendum violates private property owner rights of Article I and VII of the Virginia Constitution. Failure to lawfully obtain the consent of the people makes all of these bills fruit of the poisonous tree. To paraphrase the Clearfield Doctrine, a government is not a government when it behaves like a corporation. Corporations cannot avoid liability.
SB1309 - Local stormwater assistance; flood mitigation and protection.
We support Senate Bill 1309 that could help residents like us receive financial help to manage property flooding that threatens our homes in Alexandria from intense rain events. My wife and I have lived in Central Alexandria on W Taylor Run Parkway for 24 years and nearby Taylor Run has never flooded. Prior to 2020, we have experienced three floods (due to significant weather events) which completely cover WTR as well as Janneys Lane shutting down traffic and emergency vehicle access. But last year, we had three such events in July, August and September. Our issues include overtopping from the Francis Hammond @ Janneys culvert as well as storm water volume running down the hill from our neighbors above us on Skyhill Dr. We've shared video and photos of these "biblical" rain events. It is clearly here to stay and happening far more frequently than at any time in the last twenty years. BTW, the new FEMA flood map does not include list many of our homes despite experiencing water volume both in front and behind us from overtopping and simple storm water runoff from neighbors. Downspouts pointed at us from uphill give one an unsettled feeling these days. As home owners seeking to mitigate the uphill water run off we need financial help to develop ways to control this storm water.
Our area of Old Town Alexandria has experienced severe flooding from drastic rain storms three times within 18 no our buildings garage was flooded. We lost cars had elevator damage and required extensive clean up as well as electrical and drainage systems repairs. We had over 150K dollars in damages not counting the costs of personal property. We are currently pursuing flood mitigation construction to include a flood barrier. Alexandria City is proposing increases in water taxes to make additional improvements but these improvements are not expected to protect our property. Our building was constructed in 1999 an it is clearly in a flood plain. City licenses allowed construction of our garage below street level. We feel the government has a responsibility to aid us in providing the flood mitigation that is now necessary. Please pass S Bill 1309 to provide grant assistance for residential property built with government approved licenses. Thank you
My name is Rose Esber and I am writing on behalf of the Upper King Street Coalition in support of SB1309, authorizing localities to use grants from a local Stormwater Management Fund for flood mitigation and protection. The businesses, organizations, hotels, and residences around the King Street Metro in Alexandria, VA suffered three catastrophic floods in 18 months. Over 115 cars were destroyed in underground garages and on inundated streets. Elevators were decommissioned for months. The health of the elderly and the infirm are endangered by non-working elevators flooded by stormwater. Electrical panels and pumping systems had to be repeatedly repaired at great cost and extended inconvenience during power outages and repairs. The flooding caused businesses to be shut down for weeks because of repairs and expensive cleanup costs for the city and personal property losses were extensive. The City of Alexandria’s capital repairs will take time and the residents and businesses need immediate flood mitigation relief to protect our properties. We live in constant fear of the next flood. We urge you to support SB 1309 and all comprehensive flood mitigation and environmental efforts to minimize the effects of climate change.
The James River Association appreciates the opportunity to register our support for SB1309. a bill authorizing localities to use grants from a local Stormwater Management Fund for flood mitigation and protection measures that are part of a comprehensive flood mitigation and protection plan. We appreciate that, where practicable, these grants will prioritize projects that include nature-based practices, which can deliver multiple co-benefits for communities. We urge the Committee to support this bill.
My name is Jessica Lassetter and I work for the City of Alexandria in stormwater management. I have personally heard the stories of dozens and dozens of our residents and businesses that have experienced an enormous amount of property damage due to intense storms over the past year and a half. Much of the damage incurred might have been mitigated with flood proofing measures on personal property. As the City works around the clock on expensive upgrades to our infrastructure our community remains faced with the reality that we might never be able to shore up our storm sewer system fast enough nor create a system large enough to handle over 3 inches of rain in under 30 minutes. It is critical that our residents and business owners protect their personal property and the City is willing and waiting to step in and contribute to this solution before the rains come again. We live in collective fear of the next major rain event and protecting our community starts with protecting personal property. Thank you for supporting SB1309.
On behalf of Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and our 150 conservation partner members across the Commonwealth, we respectfully ask for your support of SB 1309. Localities are dealing with recurrent flooding, erosion, and deteriorating stormwater management facilities. These issues are anticipated to worsen because of increased precipitation in the mid-Atlantic region. SB 1309 provides the authority to local governments to establish a local Stormwater Management Fund consisting of appropriated local moneys for the purpose of granting funds to a private property owner or a common interest community for stormwater management and erosion prevention. Grants from such local fund may be used only for (i) the construction, improvement, or repair of a stormwater management facility; (ii)erosion and sediment control; or (iii) flood mitigation and protection measures that are part of a comprehensive flood mitigation and protection plan adopted by the locality. Grants made pursuant to clause (iii) must, where practicable, prioritize projects that include nature-based practices. These nature-based solutions, such as reconnecting rivers to their floodplains or expanding wetlands, can provide water quality benefits as well as recreational opportunities and economic benefits to surrounding communities. Runoff from roofs, sidewalks, and roads is a major source of toxins and other pollutants to our waterways. This stormwater pollution has only been marginally reduced as the amount of land covered by development continues to grow. Many neighborhoods and localities were built out before we understood how to design projects to minimize runoff. As a result, most urban waterways have been significantly degraded, converted from wildlife-filled buffers that naturally take up pollution, into scoured, desolate drainage canals that channel large loads of pollution directly into our streams with every heavy rain. Even small areas of impervious surface can substantially degrade water quality. For instance, according to updated science from the Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool (CAST), Virginia’s impervious area represents only about 3% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed; however, stormwater is responsible for nearly 25% of phosphorus pollution to the Bay. We hope that you will SUPPORT SB 1309 as proposed.
The City of Alexandria is asking you to support SB 1309. This bill provides localities the authority to use monies in their own Local Stormwater Management Fund for grants for flood mitigation measures, including nature-based flood mitigation projects, on private property. The grant program for these uses must be part of a comprehensive flood mitigation and protection plan adopted by the locality and cannot be implemented in lieu of a comprehensive flood mitigation program. While over the long term, localities must address stormwater management to address changes in flooding patterns, in many cases, targeted assistance on private properties is a very efficient and cost effective way to reduce the risk of flooding, reduce downstream environmental impacts from these flood waters, and protect life and property. Currently, localities can use their own, locally appropriated, Local Stormwater Management Fund monies for the purpose of granting funds to an owner of private property or a common interest community for stormwater management and erosion prevention on previously developed lands. However, they are only allowed to use these grants for the construction, improvement, or repair of a stormwater management facility or erosion and sediment control. The City of Alexandria, and localities across the Commonwealth, are working to identify and implement short and long term flood mitigation measures to reduce and resolve the impacts of flooding in our communities. In Alexandria, our residents are looking to us to do everything we possibly can to deal with the recurring flooding that’s impacting our community. We are working on a Flood Mitgation Action Plan which includes more than $150 million in infrastructure investments in our community which will take ten years to complete. Ten years during which the flooding rains won’t stop. The ability to use our Local Stormwater Management Fund monies on short-range solutions in particularly impacted neighborhoods will allow us to provide immediate assistance to residents and businesses dealing with recurring flooding while planning for and implementing long-term infrastructure and other flood mitigation projects. This legislation does not require localities to provide funding for flood mitigation purposes; it only enables localities that are facing challenges due to flooding in their community additional flexibility in how they are able to use their own Local Stormwater Management Fund monies as part of their comprehensive flood mitigation plans. Finally, I would note that this Fund is not the same as the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF). The Local Stormwater Management Fund is a Fund set up by a locality and funded entirely through local appropriations. There is no fiscal impact to the State with this bill and no state funding, such as SLAF money, can be used to finance a Local Stormwater Management Fund. We hope that you will support SB 1309. Sarah Taylor Legislative Director, City of Alexandria
SB1385 - Underground utility facilities; Fairfax County.
Verizon respectively request adoption of the amendments being offered by Delegate Heretick. These amendments are to be considered as clarifying amendments and mean no harm to the bill. Verizon is not a regulated rate of return company. We are a competitive company and as such, we can not afford to accept as compensation anything less than the full costs for any such traffic corridors. The cost that is to be compensated must be complete otherwise we must pass the costs along to our customers and in a competitive company such as ours places us at a competitive disadvantage. There can not be any negotiation over compensation for our cost for participating in any traffic improvement corridor.