Raze the Apartments

October 5, 2009

Revonna Bieber of Monticello Village writes in with the following:

According to the NRHA Fall 2009 issue of “Neighborhood Patterns [PDF]” On Wednesday morning, April 15, a blighted 16-unit apartment building at 9430 First View Street was razed.   In its place, three single family homes will be built, bringing about a much needed change according to local residents and West Ocean View Civic League members.  NRHA purchased the property in July 2008 when 13 of the 16 units were occupied.

The property will be divided into three lots for homes ranging from 1,600 to 1,800 square feet with projected  price ranges of $175,000 to $250,000.   Construction is expected to be complete for all three units by spring 2010.

So why aren’t these improvements being made in our neighborhoods?  Blight is quite apparent, especially in the apartment complexes, in the areas of Denby Park, Monticello Village, and Oakdale Farms.  Why can the city buy and raize apartment buildings in Ocean View, Lamberts Point,on Hampton Boulevard, and Broad Creek but not in Wards Corner?


Denby Park, Monticello Village, Oakdale Farms Special District programs generate tremendous community interest

February 8, 2009

The following article appeared in the Compass section of the Sunday edition of the Virginian-Pilot




  By Lia Russell


   The Virginian-Pilot

  Lia Russell, 222-5829, lia.russell@pilotonline.com

     More than 130 people – nearly double the expected number – attended a recent Wards Corner Residential Renovation and Remodeling Services meeting at the Workforce Development Center.


   The program, sponsored by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, offers qualifying homeowners in Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village loans and grants to make interior and exterior home improvements.


   In September, city officials, working with NRHA, approved a plan that offers $1 million in revitalization assistance for more than 1,200 residential properties in the three neighborhoods.


   “The city has indicated that it will consider additional funding in the next fiscal year,” Judy Haller, NRHA director of residential rehabilitation, said. “Interest like this from homeowners hopefully will help to generate more   funds.”


   Information was mailed to property owners last fall and the effort garnered 80 phone calls and 25 applications that have been pre-qualified, Haller said.


   The recent meeting, on Jan. 29, was the first public meeting on the program held by NRHA with homeowners.        “In my 30 years in the rehabilitation department, this turnout was a first for me,” said Haller, impressed with the amount of interest.


   “There’s just a different feel among this group. There’s not a lot of apprehension. These people really want to improve their neighborhoods.”


   Greg and Teresa Fortner, who have lived in their circa 1942 Oakdale Farms home for seven years, attended. They hope to get assistance to replace their roof and antiquated heating system and repair their chimney – critical improvements they say they can’t afford to make otherwise.


   “It’s nice to see that the city is finally looking at the central part of Norfolk – not just at Ocean View and downtown,” said Greg Fortner, who works at the Norfolk Navy Exchange.


   Property owners may apply for one of three types of improvements – structural, aesthetic or home expansion.


   To qualify, applicants must be up-to-date on property taxes, mortgage payments and   homeowners’ insurance and meet specific income criteria.


   Andrea Sutton, a single mother who purchased her 1940s Monticello Village home in September, is familar with NRHA programs.


   “I received a $30,000 grant through NRHA’s HomeNet program,” Sutton said. “I never thought I’d be able to own a home.”


   Now Sutton, a Chesapeake parole officer, hopes to qualify for a “Home Appeal” grant   to spruce up the exterior of her residence.


   “NRHA is really great to work with,” Sutton said. “But my advice to anyone interested in these programs is ‘have patience.’ The process takes time.”


   With only a 10-member staff to process applications, oversee construction and coordinate financing, Haller concurs.


   “With the amount of interest we’re seeing, we won’t be able to zip through the process,” she said.


   “But we’re going to do our best to get things done in a timely manner. ”

NRHA residential and remodeling services meeting scheduled for Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village residents

January 8, 2009

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority has scheduled a Renovation and Remodeling Services Meeting for Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village residents at the Norfolk Workforce Development Center, 201 E. Little Creek Road on Thursday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. Several loan and grant programs will be discussed. One program will provide up to $35,000 for improvements to your home. Attached NRHA Available Programs for Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village  wards_corner_double_flyer5



Denby Park, Oakdale Farms, Monticello Village – Request for Programs

October 9, 2008

NRHA will be mailing a “Request for Programs” to residents in the Denby Park, Oakdale Farms, and Monticello Village neighborhoods.  Residents who are interested in the programs that are now available to the Special Services District are asked to review the document and indicate which program they are interested in and return the request to Joni Stahl by mail, fax, or email.

Joni Stahl
Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority
201 Granby Street, 9th Floor
Norfolk, VA  23510.

Fax: 314-1302
Email: jstahl@nrha.us

Here is the “Request for Programs” (PDF).

Help for Denby Park, Monticello Village and Oakdale Farms hits a snag

September 29, 2008

Pilot Online Reports that The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and The City of Norfolk has not decided how they will administer  $1,000,000  in grants to Denby Park, Monticello Village and Oakdale Farms homeowners. Also they don’t know when the money will become available.

The grants at a glance
Norfolk’s proposed help for three Wards Corner neighborhoods is tentatively planned to include three types of grants and loan programs:
Home Rehabilitation Grants $400,000 to help eight homeowners
Residential Facade and Improvement $125,000 for five multifamily buildings; $300,000 for 20 homeowners Home Addition Program $100,000 for four homeowners
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority will recieve $75,000 of the money for administering the funds. The authority, which can be reached at (757) 623-1111, is working out the details and is not accepting applications for the program at this time.

Denby Park, Monticello Village and Oakdale Farms designated as a Special Service District

September 12, 2008

A Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Norfolk and Norfolk’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority was signed yesterday making Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village a Special Service District. These neighborhoods will now be eligible for grants that will help uplift these neighborhoods.

Pilot Online reports

On Thursday, city officials took a huge step toward ending that perception, and, they say, the deterioration. The Denby Park, Monticello Village and Oakdale Farms neighborhoods are now part of a community revitalization program. The effort will allow the city’s housing authority to offer grants and loans to homeowners to enlarge and repair their homes.

Norfolk has set aside $1 million for the project through June.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the members of the Mayors Wards Corner Task Force and especially to the City Council members and A.C.M. Marcus Jones for their persistance in designating these deserving neighborhoods.

January Civic Connection Updates

January 22, 2008

The Civic Connection is produced by the City of Norfolk on a monthly basis. Below are some highlights from January’s edition.

Recent Action by City Council

  • Approved the concept of a memorandum of understanding between the City and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and authorized the City Manager to negotiate the agreement. It will establish a program to help the City address blighted areas through NRHA. Council also designated the first neighborhoods to be included in the program: Denby Park, Monticello Village, and Oakdale Farms.
  • Approved an ordinance for the possible future use of surveillance cameras in Project Focus neighborhoods (currently Denby Park, Olde Huntersville and Pleasant Avenue in East Ocean View. The ordinance Council outlines the process by which neighborhoods or the police chief can request the installation of cameras and where the cameras would be placed. The purposes of the cameras would be to deter crime, assist in the apprehension of known suspects, and to reduce public fear in perceived higher-crime areas. The next step is the issuance of a Request for Proposal for a contractor to help the City investigate technology and issues regarding the placement of cameras. Council would hold a public hearing prior to implementing any program in a neighborhood.
  • Established “rental inspection districts” for each of the three Project Focus areas (Denby Park, Olde Huntersville, and the Pleasant Avenue area of East Ocean View). The Department of Neighborhood Preservation is in charge of implementing the rental inspection program and notifying renters and owners.
    The program allows the City to inspect all of the units in a property with fewer than 10 units. For a multiple family (10 or more units) complex in the initial and periodic inspections the codes compliance office shall inspect only a sampling of the total dwelling units of not less than two and not more than ten percent of the dwelling units However If the codes compliance office determines upon inspection of the sampling of dwelling units that there are violations of the building code that affect the safe decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants of such multiple family complex the codes compliance office may inspect as many dwelling units as necessary to enforce the building code. Once a property is found in compliance, it cannot be re-inspected for four years except at the request of a tenant.

Contracts – Notice to Proceed
Wards Corner Signal / ADA Improvements
Contractor: Highway Electric, Inc.
NTP Date: December 3, 2007

CBRE proposes NRHA headquarters in Central Business Park

December 26, 2007

CB Richard Ellis Commercial Real Estate Firm has pitched Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority on relocating from Downtown Norfolk to Central Business Park next to the Walmart on Tidewater Drive. This move could be a boon to the redevelopment plan known as the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

The Hampton Roads Business Journal, “Inside Business” wrote:

CBRE made the pitch last week after learning that the housing authority is exploring options for its headquarters, which is now in Downtown Norfolk at 201 Granby St.

The three-story, 53,815-square-foot building, constructed less than two years ago, is located in Central Business Park, which is close to Tidewater Drive, Norfolk International Airport and Interstate 64. The housing authority originally developed the park for the city.

“This is a perfect opportunity for NRHA to stand behind one of the properties they were instrumental in developing and promoting,” said Jeff Parker, a vice president with CBRE who is marketing the property.

A CBRE flyer advertises a sale price of $6.6 million or rental rates of $10 per square foot, full service, with lease terms of either 5 or 10 years.

“The owners will be open to negotiations as to the rents or the sales price,” Parker said.

Norfolk Central Development LLC, a partnership between Pete Singh and Lennie Weaver of Dumfries, owns the property.

Parker said tenant improvements can be done in 60 to 90 days.

“The facilities committee has requested that staff look at the market and determine if there are existing properties that are cheaper to buy or lease,” said housing authority spokesperson Ed Ware.

NRHA is also considering a location in Broad Creek. Hopefully the Wards Corner area will get the attention that it deserves by a relocation of NRHA to Central Business Park.

Another land assembly plan needs to be considered

December 13, 2007

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in it’s winter 2008 journal has presented an interesting alternative to eminent domain. Since eminent domain is pretty much off the table for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority to use as a tool to spur redevelopment of Denby Park and property along Ashlawn Drive, they need to consider other strategies of land assembly. I am including the article for your review.

Sharing vs. Eminent Domain

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