_City News

Posted on: June 15, 2017

City Council approves roadmap for downtown, expands rental district

downtown-water

June15, 2017 – City Council on Wednesday approved an updated Master Plan for the downtown area. The updates included recommendations from the downtown business group, Hampton First, other groups and residents and focused primarily on areas that weren’t detailed in the 2004 plan, pushing outward to Interstate 64 and including the former Harbor Square area that is now publicly owned.

A residential market study suggested the number of homes and apartments needs to increase by more than 400% to create a critical mass and attract retail and offices.

Other plan proposals include:

  • A seafood center at the King Street waterfront for seafood, marine research and technology, with expanded public access to the water;
  • Mix of residential and retail on the former Harbor Square site;
  • Developing the industrial sites between I-64 and Armistead Avenue into office, retail or tourism, with green space along Bright’s Creek; and
  • Commercial development along Armistead Avenue toward Coliseum Central.  

In other action, City Council:

  • Voted to expand the North Phoebus Rental Improvement District to include homes across North Mallory Street to North Hope Street. Property Maintenance Manager Phil Russell told Council that the rental inspection program was going well, getting cooperation from property owners and renters. So far, there have been 430 inspections identifying 2,506 violations. The goals of the program include ensuring that citizens have safe, decent and sanitary living conditions, reducing blight and stabilizing neighborhoods.
  • Approved a monopole cell tower at 1605 Aberdeen Rd. near Mercury Boulevard behind Dollar General.
  • Decided against moving forward to set a limit on the number of animals allowed per household but agreed to continue discussions of amending the leash law. Hampton’s leash law currently allows for animals to be either on a leash or under the owner’s voice control in public. The Animal Control Advisory Committee has recommended a physical leash. Public input online offered mixed results, with residents uncertain whether there was a problem now with unleashed dogs but with 75% of respondents favoring a leash requirement.
  • Heard a report from the city’s police and fire chiefs on continuing efforts to diversify the city’s public safety employees. “Within the regional and national statistics, we are in very good standing, but we do have areas we can improve on,” noted Police Chief Terry Sult. Both divisions have increased recruiting efforts for short-term but are also working on long-term efforts to work with youth through summer camps, Scout groups, a cadet program and Hampton City Schools.
  • Heard a report from Hampton Roads Transit on potential bus rapid transit routes. One of the regional routes identified starts in downtown Hampton, along Mercury and to downtown Newport News, while the other two potential routes are solely in Newport News.

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