Lake Whitehurst West Civic League Unanimously Votes to Oppose Salvation Thrift

From Eric Hause, President
Lake Whitehurst West Civic League

Tonight, the Lake Whitehurst West Civic League unanimously voted to oppose a special exception permit being considered for Salvation Army to operate a thrift store in the Roosevelt Gardens Shopping Center. The request concerns the currently vacant location at the corner of Halprin and E. Little Creek Rd. once occupied by Fabric Hut. The vote was taken at our monthly membership meeting following a spirited discussion expressing concern about the condition and future of E. Little Creek Rd.

Tonight’s vote comes 10 days before the City Planning Commission hears the special exception request in a meeting in City Council Chambers on Thursday, May 26 at 2:30 PM.

As president of Lake Whitehurst West Civic League, I represent 450 homeowners in four neighborhoods adjacent to the East Little Creek corridor. I encourage your civic league and you as individuals to join us in our effort to change the conversation with the City about out concerns and expectations for E. Little Creek Road and N. Military Highway. Our civic league’s opposition of the Salvation Army Thrift Store is  is the beginning of an effort  to do just that.

We oppose the Thrift Store request because:

  • Blocking the Salvation Army’s plan to operate a thrift store at the Roosevelt Shopping Center is an important first step in a movement to improve conditions along the East Little Creek Road Corridor. (ELCRC)
  • Existing City zoning regulations already PROHIBIT operation of a thrift store or any store selling used merchandise at the Roosevelt Shopping Center. The Salvation Army seeks a special exception to existing regulations.
  • Three thrift stores and two flea markets currently operate within 1.5 miles of the Roosevelt. Those businesses claim to help low income people but fail to help their own employees escape the cycle of poverty by paying substandard wages.
  • Thrift store shoppers are a diverse mix of individuals seeking collectible items and people who purchase used merchandise due to their economic circumstances. Why not encourage thrift stores to locate in areas populated by people with diverse economic circumstances?
  • While the City of Norfolk provides economic and other incentives for businesses locating downtown, in Oceanviw, and in other areas the City fails to do the same for businesses along the ELCRC.
  • The ELCRC is a heavily traveled area used daily by visitors and new residents. Many are associated with the Little Creek Joint Expeditionary Base. What kind of impression do they form of Norfolk when they see several buy here/pay here used car lots, pay day loan operations, poorly regulated signage and three thrift stores?
  • The real estate company responsible for marketing space at the Roosevelt Shopping Center has done a poor job marketing the Shopping Center. Several vacancies are examples of their marketing shortcomings.
  • The City should join forces with the private sector to provide incentives for locally owned and other businesses to locate along the ELCRC. This has been done on numerous occasions for businesses in Downtown Norfolk.
  • Over 150 people from North Norfolk and other areas have already spoken out on the thrift store issue on nextdoor.com. The overwhelming majority are opposed to the Salvation Army’s plans for a thrift store.

Please join us in opposing the special exception by contacting one or all of the Planning Commission members below via phone or email prior to the May 26 hearing. Or please join us at the Planning Commission hearing on May 26 to express your opinion.

MR. EARL P. FRALEY Jr. CHAIR
Smithco2012@verizon.net
630-7202 cell, 622-9220 office

MR. MARTIN THOMAS Jr. VICE CHAIR
martinjr@decklaw.com
622-2317 office, 618-6468 cell

MS. RAMONA AUSTIN
raustin@odu.edu
683-6272

MS. ANDRIA McCLELLAN
Andria.mcclellan@gmail.com
679-2883

MR. MATT HALES
mhales@gatewayventures.net
390-4408 office, 650-5664 cell

MR. NIKITA HOUCHINS
nikitahouchins@kw.com
630-1678

DR. DAN NEUMANN, MD
Dan.neumann@yahoo.com
483-6100 office, 477-7519 cell

MR. GEORGE HOMEWOOD
Director of Planning & Community Development
Executive Secretary
George.Homewood@norfolk.gov
664-4770

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