Sandbridge Beach Civic League Newsletters

Letter from the President – April 2018

Happy spring!

The cherry blossoms are blooming, the daffodils are blossoming, and I am sneezing more each and every day. It must mean that spring has sprung! As we emerge from our winter slumber, we turn towards the warmth of the sun and prepare for our busiest time of year in Sandbridge. We’ll be opening our pools, cleaning our homes, landscaping our yards (thanks Jason for all the awesome gardening tips!) and gathering with our neighbors for various outdoor activities. By the time this newsletter comes out, we’ll have had our annual Easter Egg Hunt. We also have our upcoming Spring Clean-up, our bi-annual Community Yard Sale and our Memorial Day Parade in May. Though the Shamrock marathon was a bit chilly as it was still technically winter, it was also fun to attend and see all the runners compete.

While we have much to do this spring, we cannot forget that we still have the Short-term Rental Ordinance issue to contend with. Even though City Council has delayed action until May, this doesn’t mean that this issue is concluded. A heartfelt thanks goes out to all who attended the City Council meeting on March 6. It was wonderful to see so much activism from the community around this important issue for so many of us. Whether you were for or against the ordinance, it was great to see our democracy in action. The opportunity for our citizens to express their viewpoints in a public setting without condemnation is a right that we all have and share, just as we all have a right to live without fear of criminal acts. Which is why it is unfortunate for me to have to bring this up, but we had some vandalism take place against some of our neighbors. Some may view this as a politically-motivated act, and that just make it even more detestable. As a community, we must stand up against these acts of aggression, regardless of our political viewpoints, and demand that we maintain a civil venue for discussing our grievances. If anyone has any information about the mailbox bashing that took place in our quiet neighborhood, please contact Crime Solvers.

Spring is a wonderful time of rebirth and new growth, and I’m excited that our community will grow as well. We’ll be having more visitors and see more activity on our streets. Businesses will be opening their doors to welcome these guests. Homes will be rented to accommodate our visitors. Let us not forget that we live in such an awesome place that others are willing to travel here just to visit for a short while. For so many of us, this yearly cycle is essential to our financial wellbeing and we as a community should do all that we can to preserve that. We each have a social responsibility to each other to preserve and promote the environment that permits us to be successful in whatever venture we may pursue. There is no guarantee of success, but we can ensure that we are not rooting for failure. Nobody wins when some or all of us loses. Our success or failure as a community rests solely upon our shoulders. For me, I like to see success.

Let’s have an amazing spring and remember to greet each other and our guests with a smile and a wave!

Andrew
SBCL Newsletter 04-2018

Letter from the President – March 2018

Greetings Neighbors,

Mother Nature sure can be fickle when she pleases. From the big freeze, we turn right around into the big warmth. If this is any prelude, it’s going to be a hot summer and I’m not just referring to the weather. Some homeowners in Sandbridge are already sweating bullets over some upcoming actions from City Council. In case you haven’t heard, there is movement to regulate something that has been taking place in Sandbridge for about as long as this area was referred to as Sandbridge; specifically, the right to allow people to stay in your home for any specified period of time for a financial compensation. If you decide to allow people to stay in your home for 30 days or longer, then you need not worry. However, if you decide to allow people to stay in your home for less than 30 days, then you may want to pay attention.

It seems the City has decided that this idea of taking advantage of real estate location is a problem that needs to be addressed. For some reason, according to some people, the very idea of allowing nonhomeowners access to this splendid neighborhood is abhorrent and will only lead to the eventual decay of the neighborhood. Also suggested that if something isn’t done to curb this trend, then only blight will move into Sandbridge and the rest of the city. You see, because some people had a party once and made some noise, we should stop everyone from renting homes. There is this argument that there is specific crime in our neighborhoods that is only here because of short-term rentals, and the only way to deal with it is to regulate this real estate activity. People’s lives are at stake and something must be done.

That’s right. People’s lives are at stake. Homeowners who are dependent on getting their dream home through short-term rentals will lose their homes. Successful people who have built up enough money to invest will lose their investments. Property values will decline when almost half the homes in Sandbridge go up for sale and as some fall into foreclosure. Our beach will disappear because there is no money to replace it because homes haven’t been rented to fund the tax. As real crime settles in, anyone left eventually moves out until property values get so low that the City can somehow afford to use eminent domain to seize the land and revive it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But, if something isn’t done real soon, this prediction of mine might just become reality. Those of us who are active on this issue in Sandbridge cannot do it alone. If you believe it is your fundamental right as a homeowner to do as you please with your home or, if nothing else, at least rent it out for the summer then please get involved. We need your help. We’re not kidding about this. This is real.

March 6 – 6:00 p.m – City Council chambers
March 20 – same time and place

Andrew Roper
SBCL Newsletter 03-2018

Letter from the President – February 2018

Happy New Year!

Well, we are almost a month into the New Year. How are your resolutions holding up? I have to admit that I’m a little late even starting mine, and writing this letter has reminded me to get to it. I hope that everyone had a wonderful New Year celebration and an enjoyable holiday season spent with friends and family.

I was not able to attend our last meeting due to an out-of-state trip but I heard that the presentation of the Planning Commission’s 2040 Vision for Virginia Beach was a success with thoughtful questions and feedback. Our commissioners have spent a considerable amount of time on that comprehensive plan, and it was a special treat to get our very own screening of that work product. There are some exciting changes ahead for Virginia Beach. I’m also proud to announce that overall crime is down significantly. This just demonstrates how coordination between citizens and law enforcement can make a community safer.

Which brings me to the next hot topic item of the moment: Short Term Rentals and the proposed ordinances. While we have not yet adopted a position on the previously-offered proposals, several other civic leagues have already staked a position. I believe this is acting in haste as the Planning Commission still has to meet and they may craft an entirely new proposal for consideration. I believe it would be in our best interests to determine what we like and what we don’t like about what has already been proposed and bring that to Planning Commission and make a case to them. In the meantime, we should continue to be present at any public hearings, workshops and meetings until this whole matter is concluded.

Of course, living in Sandbridge isn’t all about rentals, properties and politics. It’s about enjoying this little slice of paradise and sharing our joy, happiness and zeal for our neighborhood with others as they come to visit and play. Though we are in the slow grind of the cold winter months, the warmth of the Sandbridge hearth will still be felt by all. Stay warm, stay safe, and remember to give a smile and a wave to everyone you meet.

Warmly,

Andrew
SBCL Newsletter 02-2018

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