September 24, 2008

City Won’t Take Business After All

PORTSMOUTH | The city has given up plans to acquire Johnson's Crab House. The City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to rescind an ordinance it passed in May 2007 to take the waterfront property and family-owned business in Park View.

At that time, the council authorized the acquisition of the property by eminent domain to create a public park. The site was run down and littered with rusted industrial equipment, according to the resolution then.

Since then, the property owners have made improvements - and city leaders decided that the $610,000 allocated to acquire the property should be used for other needs.

Several Park View residents faulted the council for not sticking to plans for a park. They said the issue had created a divide among neighbors.

John M. Johnson, a spokesman for the family that owns the business, said, "You'll never see the Crab House in that condition again."

- Jen McCaffery


council OKs plan to end homelessness

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a 10-year plan to end homelessness .

The city and volunteer organizations hope to combat homelessness by collecting better data , preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, expanding the availability of permanent housing and using resources that already are available.

The plan will enable the city to continue receiving about $730,000 per year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

- Jen McCaffery


it's official: sailboat is icon

Ahoy! The sailboat became Portsmouth's official icon Tuesday night when the City Council unanimously approved it.

The effort dates to 2004, when business owners led by Barbara Vincent Hester and residents commissioned an artist to create a prototype, according to the city's director of marketing, Mary Murray.

Some sailboats were manufactured and decorated by artists, according to Murray. In 2005, the Portsmouth Partnership donated a prototype to Mayor James Holley . That boat is located in the lobby of City Hall.

- Jen McCaffery

Virginia Beach

city makes way for operation smile HQ

The City Council on Tuesday authorized an agreement that would move Operation Smile's headquarters from Norfolk to Virginia Beach.

The council unanimously agreed to provide $3.5 million for site improvements, including utilities, sidewalks and parking that will be environment ally friendly. The headquarters will be near the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center along Princess Anne Road.

To provide enough room for Operation Smile and neighboring Tidewater Community College's Health Professions Building , two organizations agreed to give the city land in the Princess Anne Commons area. Old Dominion University will provide 2.8 acres from its Beach campus. The Southeastern Public Service Authority, or SPSA, has agreed give up 11 acres it leases from the city.

If SPSA doesn't need the rest of the land it leases, ODU and Operation Smile will have options to buy it.

- Deirdre Fernandes

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