Virginia Beach residents can voice opinions soon on light rail, new office tower

Posted at 8:07 PM, Sep 12, 2012

Between an upcoming referendum on light rail and a proposal for a new building in Town Center, people in Virginia Beach have a lot to consider and weigh in on over the next few weeks.

Both of those issues were brought up at Tuesday night's city council meeting.  Council members were briefed on what would be a third office tower in Town Center.  The city council also decided to move ahead with a city-funded information campaign about light rail to prepare people for the referendum.

Both are big projects that have people talking.


Long road ahead to bring light rail to Virginia Beach

City council approves light rail referendum 10-1

Residents sound off about plans for tower at Town Center

For Melissa Ward, bringing light rail to Town Center, and possibly all the way to the Oceanfront, is a no-brainer.

"I think the light rail is a great idea. I think it would really help my husband get to work.  He works in MacArthur Center at Apple, and to be able to just drive right here [Town Center], because we live in a neighborhood just down the street, to be able to drive here and then take light rail in would be amazing," said Ward.

Carl Boone agreed, especially since he'd like to see some new developments around Town Center.

"We need more stores, more businesses to create more revenue," said Boone. 

For those to be a success, Boone said the city needs better transportation.  "You need light rail to bring in people, people bring in money, so in the long run, if you don't have it, you're just hurting yourself."

Is that how most other Beach residents feel though?

The city council is holding a referendum in November to find out.

With it quickly approaching, the council decided Tuesday to move forward with a city-funded information campaign.  It will cost a little over $22,600.

That money will be used for brochures and posters, answering questions about light rail and the referendum itself.

Not everyone on city council supports the plan. Councilman Bill DeSteph told NewsChannel 3 it will appear the city is supporting light rail.

Ward said she supports the use of city money for the information campaign, though. "I think people need to know about it, and how else would they do that but have that information given to them?"

The public will have a chance to voice their opinions on both projects in the coming weeks.

Public comment about the proposed office tower will be heard at the city council meeting on Sept. 18.  The referendum for light rail is Nov. 6.