A catering pad built on the Cavalier hotel’s city easement without permission can remain in place and no fines will be issued to the owners despite objections from some City Council members.
City Manager Patrick Duhaney informed the council in a letter last Friday that he planned to approve the construction project after six members told him last week behind closed doors they were OK with it as long as a list of conditions were met, including city inspections.
Cavalier Associates, which owns the historic hotel at the Oceanfront, began building the catering structure in front of the hotel at the top of the grassy hill in February. It did not have the city’s approval or a building permit, according to the Duhaney. Artificial grass also was installed at the top of the hill. Taylor Construction is the contractor.
Virginia Beach paid Cavalier Associates $2.37 million in 2013 for a green space easement over the terraced hill and lawn. Under the terms of the agreement, the city must approve any permanent changes to the area prior to construction.
On March 23, after the city stopped the work, Duhaney asked the City Council for guidance on the matter. Councilman John Moss said at that meeting that Cavalier Associates flagrantly violated the green space agreement and that he wanted the city to receive financial compensation from the company or for it to remove the structure.
Councilman Guy Tower also said at that meeting that he wasn’t satisfied with Duhaney’s recommendation of approving the catering pad.
“They’re suffering zero,” Tower said.
In Duhaney’s letter to council members last Friday, the city manager said he talked with Bruce Thompson, director of Cavalier Associates, and that Thompson told him it was an oversight and apologized.
Duhaney also said that Cavalier Associates did not want to pay a fine.
“They feel that the taxpayers and the city will benefit from an economic and an aesthetic standpoint with the improvement,” Duhaney wrote in the letter.
Unwilling to let it rest, Moss revisited the issue at the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He wanted Duhaney to share the names of his colleagues who had, in private, told him to approve the project last week.
Mayor Bobby Dyer quickly squashed Moss’s request but agreed with Councilman Aaron Rouse that the process of giving the city manager direction needs to be improved.
Tower said he wasn’t happy to hear that there will be no repercussions for Cavalier Associates violating the green space agreement and is worried that it could happen again.
“I continue to be very concerned and ask the city manager to be exceptionally vigil in maintaining that space,” Tower said.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, email@example.com