Arguments Against Additional FUEL PUMPS At PUNGO

City Council of Virginia Beach April 24, 2012

An application before City Council seeks to secure permission to alter the zoning of a 5 ½ acre parcel in the southeastern quadrant of Pungo to allow for B2 development. Further, the Applicant seeks to receive approval for the addition of EIGHT Fuel pumps (with a minimum of 16 hoses (fueling spots)).

For numerous reasons, this paper argues that the approval for rezoning should be encouraged, but NOT for the inclusion of Fuel Pumps at Pungo... The primary reasons arguing against the pumps follow. Suffice it to state, however, that NO good reasons exist the inclusion of any more fuel pumps at Pungo.

The Pungo Plan (prepared by the Urban Land Institute): In May 2004, a mini-storage unit proposal for "downtown" Pungo came before the Planning Commission and subsequently before City Council. Opposition to the application was based upon the belief that light industrial zoning had no place in Pungo WITHOUT a clear-cut study and plan of this fragile community. The application passed, but the City responded afterwards to the citizens of Pungo that the the future of Pungo would have to be

determined by their own desires and merit. With assistance from the City's Planning Department, the citizens promptly formed an Association, established by-laws, elected officers and directors, and then registered the Pungo Village Landowners Association (PVLA) with the Commonwealth. The citizens and landowners of Pungo self-funded this endeavor. Immediately the group began formulating ideas for the improvement of the “village.” Since Pungo was deemed to be an important landmark and possible destination site within the City, all agreed (especially the City) that all stakeholders in Virginia Beach should be consulted. Council then agreed to fund a study by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to assist with the formulation of a Pungo Plan. The Association began meeting regularly, with ALL meetings held publicly and advertised in the newspaper. The Board of the Association met more frequently and divided into committees to address the segments of infrastructure, traffic, architectural design, and even the types of establishments the Association would like to attract to Pungo. The Association wanted to be prepared well for the arrival of the ULI study group. The effort was rewarded with a creative Pungo Plan by ULI in mid-2005. The Plan was accepted UNANIMOUSLY by the Planning Commission and was accepted as well by Council, with one dissenting vote. The Association's next goal was to have the Plan incorporated as a planning document for the City and inserted into the City's Comprehensive (5-year) Plan. Members of the PVLA attended ALL the Planning meetings throughout the City during the Comprehensive Plan sessions. They vocally participated and made themselves available to answer questions and concerns from the broader community. In essence, the PVLA wanted the plan to be woven into the City's total fabric, which thus far had been different from most other

communities and sub-communities within the City of Virginia Beach. The PVLA had inferred that they had the complete City support for their Plan and not just from the Back Bay/Pungo Civic League and the landowners of the “village.” The Plan was assumed by the Association to be a contract with all the stakeholders in Virginia Beach. The Association accomplished all (and more) of what the City requested. It should be noted that at no time did the current Applicant nor his representatives nor his family attend any of the open planning sessions, local Comprehensive Plan sessions, nor any of the Civic League functions that addressed the Pungo Plan. It was observed that the only civic/community meeting that the Applicant attended over the last two decades was last month's Civic League meeting. Pollution/Environmental Impact: With Phase I, the Applicant wishes to preserve and convert Munden's Store into both a market and a restaurant, which would be nice for the area. Part of this same phase, though, includes the request for 8 fuel pumps (with 16 car slots). This is the size of a Wa-Wa or the fuel pump stations at Sam's on Virginia Beach Blvd. and at other similar larger locations in the city. Since adequate parking for a quality restaurant is not available directly adjacent to Munden's, it is thought that a restaurant will not materialize and that the use for the building will equate to an over-sized equivalent of a Miller Mart. The applicant does NOT ask for water or sewer to handle any of the commercial space, but a separate filtration and septic-type

system would manage the effluent, combined with a "french" drain system whereby run-off is "drained" directly into the ground. No preliminary DEQ or EPA or environmental impact studies have been undertaken on the property by the applicant, so it is impossible to pass positive judgment on this part of the petition. The negative environmental impact of pumps cannot be underestimated. Normal spills and run-offs would seep eventually into the ground, and given that this area is not served by water or sewer systems, such a pollution possibility could threaten the livelihood and health of all the people and animals in the vicinity. A french drainage system, even with filters, is not sufficient to protect the property rights of all nearby landowners. Besides, the pumps will not even be monitored by an outside individual, so the speed of shut-downs will be curtailed in case of an accident. Currently, the EPA requires an immediate shut-down and reporting for all spills beyond one gallon of gasoline. Munden's occupies the highest elevation in the area, so such seepage naturally would be distributed to all properties with a lower elevation. With 16 automobile slots and no outside attendant, one questions whether the EPA requirement of a complete shut-down in case of just a one gallon spill can be accomplished promptly. No filtration systems on the market at present have proven adequate to capture and remove petroleum run-off (which is toxic and carcinogenic) with a French drain system. Fuel Pumps = not a necessity at Pungo: Fuel pumps are not necessary in Pungo, since two exist already at the 7-11 in Pungo, and three at Red Barn (which is immediately across Princess Anne Rd. from Munden's. Additional fuel pumps purposely were omitted from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) study of Pungo and judged as

not suitable for the type of community need or ambiance desired by the landowners within Pungo, the City, and the general populace of Virginia Beach. The ULI held numerous public and private discussions with all sectors of the Beach, since Pungo was deemed by the City to be a part of the larger fabric of what makes Virginia Beach great. Fuel pumps exist south of the City already to serve the needs of the southern agricultural area at Monk's Corner, and a plethora of fuel choices exist just two miles north in the Red Mill Commons and General Booth corridors. The Red Barn and the 7-11 already have proven to be good corporate contributors to the Village of Pungo. One would hate to see their demise. Traffic Issues and Congestion: The Applicant will provide for an extra left turn lane (east) to south-bound drivers at the Pungo stoplight. The Applicant also will pay to coordinate the timing of the Pungo stoplight. However the Traffic Engineer testified at the Planning Commission that the expected additional traffic load on the intersection would be severe and that these minor changes proffered by the Applicant would not be sufficient to alleviate the problem. Guttering and curbing on the Princess Anne Rd. side will cause additional traffic back-ups, according to the Engineer, since only one lane will be available for those north-bound cars, and those wishing to make an east-bound turn at the light will wait much longer... NO additional lanes will be provided for any other turning or the movement of traffic through the intersection. One Planning Commissioner perversely quipped during the non-public discussion following the presentation to the Commission that he thought the additional traffic problems would be good, since the City would be forced finally to deal with the already congested

traffic in the afternoon at the intersection. Ironically, this same Commissioner bragged during the session that he was the first developer to bring Wa-Wa's to Virginia Beach. He did not excuse himself from the voting, despite of his admitted biases and conflicts. Planning Commission Comments and Voting: After lengthy debate, Commissioner Horsely mentioned that he thought eight fuel pumps at Pungo would never be approved, so he moved that the Commission accept only four pumps. Another friend of the Applicant seconded the motion. Even with the Chairman voicing complete disapproval, the vote passed for ONLY FOUR PUMPS... The application before Council now arrogantly ignores the wishes of the Planning Commission. Further, the Commission consulted with the City Attorney about the lack of detail in the application, since NOTHING but a footprint for Phase II was provided. The City Attorney noted that most applications have to be more complete, but that their action was advisory only anyway, and that the Applicant could and should proffer that he will bring any further additions or changes to Planning. No additional proffers to this matter are provided with the application to Council. One legitimately can argue that without more substance for Council that this application lacks sufficient information to even be heard. Further, Council is voting for a different application that what was approved by the Planning Commission. Summary: The application for Fuel Pumps at Pungo should be denied. The pumps are not desired by the greater community, they violate the tenets of understanding of what Pungo should and could become – or in essence, they detract considerably from the vision of Pungo. No marketing research ever was undertaken for the use

of more pumps, which means that any future pumps will prey upon the existing merchants, or if unsuccessful, monies likely would not be available to remove them so that more harm would not be caused to the environment. The environmental impact has not been gauged. A gas station will diminish the value of all nearby properties: Light pollution from the fuel canopy alone will cause neighboring property not to be developed to its potential in residential needs for a village... Lastly, by allowing more pumps on the least desirable property for them at Pungo, the City well could incite more undesirable commercial utilization, especially north of the Services Line, that would jeopardize everyone's desires for an eclectic village enclave, surrounded by a verdant agricultural community. Kindly protect the Village of Pungo.

Gene Hansen; 4/12