Business owner says he can't get into his parking lot, upset over work on Laskin Road

Posted at 11:04 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 20:06:53-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A business owner is upset over work being done on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach.

Local attorney Richard Doummar told News 3 he showed up to his office Tuesday morning and was not able to get into the parking lot due to work being done by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VDOT sent out a press release on Nov. 5, which stated as part of the Laskin Road Bridge Replacement and Widening Project, motorists should expect a portion of Fremac Drive to close to traffic for approximately four months, beginning as early as Monday, Nov. 15.

They said this closure will allow crews to safely perform utility work, which will begin as early as 8 a.m. VDOT said this work is weather-dependent, and the schedule is subject to change.

Doummar said he supports the overall project.

"It's a good thing to do... less accidents, less confusion. I’m all about it, but don’t block my property off and just ignore me. That’s not right."

He said he came to work Tuesday morning and realized all 30 of his parking spots have been blocked off as crews worked on that section of the road.

He has 20 spots on Fremac Drive, which is shut down for four months, and 10 spots in the front of the building, which are also blocked off by crews working.

“It’s a very powerful move to be able to block somebody from their property. If you or I tried to do it, we would get arrested," said Doummar.

He is currently in pending litigation with VDOT over the project impacting his property. The lawsuit was filed several years ago.

Doummar said he wants the closed road sign moved so they can get to some of the parking spots, and he would like a sign put up to notify his clients where alternative parking is located.

Doummar said he was told by a VDOT official that he was sent emails about the roadwork, but he said he never received any emails.

He feels like he was not treated with respect or care and fears what is happening to others in the community who don't understand the law.

"This is outrageous, and that’s the way I feel. That’s the way you would feel, and if VDOT was on the other side of this shoe, it’s how they would feel," said Doummar.

VDOT would not answer specific questions regarding Doummar's property due to the pending lawsuit, but did offer the following statement regarding the project:

The Laskin Road Widening and Bridge Replacement Project includes improvements starting at Republic Road, through the First Colonial Road intersection, and ending with a bridge replacement near Red Robin Road. The primary purpose of this project is to improve capacity and enhance safety through the widening and improvements of Laskin Road and First Colonial Road, as well as replacing the bridge over Linkhorn Bay in the City of Virginia Beach.

The work specifically on Fremac Drive relates to utility work and upgrades, and the closure of a portion of that road was implemented Nov. 15. It is scheduled to be in place for approximately four months. 

VDOT makes every effort to notify the traveling public and affected property owners and businesses regarding upcoming construction-related activities. Traffic alerts and project updates are shared on the project website, via social media (to include Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor), via email to project subscribers and individually with project stakeholders. 

Due to ongoing litigation, VDOT is unable to provide additional details regarding the property at 1397 Laskin Road. 

Regarding your questions about project visuals, a project map can be found here and an image of the typical roadway section can be found here.

VDOT said Linkhorn Circle will remain open at all times.

They said a signed detour will be in place, directing motorists to utilize Reynard Drive and Winwood Drive to access Laskin Road.

VDOT says this utility work is not expected to directly affect through traffic on Laskin Road.