23 July 2018
MHM has not submitted a variance request for any construction at their properties on Jack Frost, but as you may have noticed, they have torn down the old Miller house and garage behind it–1644 Jack Frost. There are actually two pieces of property in line at 1644 JF, with the property directly behind being 1642 (in previous posts below it was erroneously labeled 1648). I don’t know if this property was originally deeded as two properties nearly 100 years ago, or deeded as one property and subdivided into two properties prior to the modern zoning ordinances that came into effect in the 1970s. Because these properties were deeded prior to modern zoning, a variance is not required in order to construct one house on each property. A variance would be required for multifamily housing and/or subdividing the lots further.
These houses will be very small. There will be two driveways within the 80 feet of frontage–each 14 feet wide. The driveway to the back house at 1642 will be 8.6 feet from the side of the front house.
MHM’s original application for variance can be viewed here: application for variance. MHM’s business address on the application is a drop box near Great Neck and First Colonial. The owners, Shouwen “Michael” Mo and Zhaoming “Helen” Wen reside at 2660 River Road, Virginia Beach, 23454.
26 August 2017
At last check with the City, MHM has not submitted any request for variance.
6 July 2017
If this is your first time to this page, please read the post below for more information. I received an e-mail from the city yesterday informing me that the request for variation for the vacant lot across from Shenstone WILL NOT be on the 9 August Planning Commission agenda. I’ve requested more information as to whether the slip to the right is due to the staff needing more time to prepare material (since the deed is so old, it requires some extensive research), if the Planning Commission agenda was updated with more pressing items, or if MHM asked for the delay. When I find out, I will post the answer here and on Nextdoor.
29 Jun 2017
If this is your first time to this page, please read the post below for more information. The Lake Shores Civic League sent a letter to the VB Planning Administration today vigorously opposing subdividing the lot in question into two lots, and building homes on both of them. Keep in mind that MHM also bought the two properties next to the lot (1644 and 1648; 1648 does not have any structures on it and is directly behind 1644 that presently has a small house and detached garage) and intend on building two houses somehow on those lots. For a copy of the letter we sent, click here: Letter to the Planning Administration. Please feel free to use any information on this letter and send a letter/email to mailto:[email protected] to oppose this application for variance. The Civic League board and many Lake Shores residents don’t believe that we need houses packed into such a small area, and will only add to congestion and lower property values. The Planning Commission will have a hearing on 9 August at 9:00am in building 14 at the city government complex.
26 Jun 2017
Some of you may know that the vacant lot on Jack Frost across from the entrance to Shenstone, along with the adjacent property at 1644 Jack Frost and the lot behind it (1648 Jack Frost but with no access or building to the property) sold last month to a locally based development corporation named MHM Bay Development LLC. They have filed a subdivision variance request to subdivide the vacant lot into two lots, one behind the other, and intend on putting houses on both lots. This will also require approval from the city for a variance since the width of the property is 80 feet and the city requires 100 feet of frontage property to construct a home. To see their application, please click application for variance.
The property was deeded in 1927 to the present dimensions of 80’ wide and 540’ in depth. The requirement for 100 feet frontage width was instituted about 30 years later around 1958. Based on a phone call I had with the city, vacant lots that don’t meet the latter requirement but were legal sized properties at the time they were deeded generally get the variance. The request to subdivide the lot into two parcels is separate. Lake Shores is zoned as R-20, meaning the minimum lot size is 20,000 square feet and the empty lot is about 43,000 square feet. The developer obviously wants to pack two houses in on the property to maximize the profit margin
There are several issues that should concern Lake Shores residents, especially those around the area on Jack Frost as well as those on the Meredith dead end behind the property.
- When the property was deeded, houses were much smaller and this area was zone for agriculture. In fact, R-20 is for single family homes and agriculture, but the city has passed additional ordinances limiting what is allowed in the way of agriculture, e.g., you may not have chickens or livestock.
- I think it’s safe to assume that if these variances are approved by the city, the developer will then request nearly the same for the other two lots. The other two lots are not equal size and some property from the back lot will have to be transferred to the front lot so both are over 20,000 square feet. Then they will have to demolish the existing home and detached garage.
- Both lots pretty much back up to the Norfolk-Southern easement parallel to Northampton, so clearing the trees will just exacerbate the noise emanating from Northampton that was caused when Dominion Energy removed most of the trees along the boulevard.
- Having four houses so close together, and stacked behind each other, will certainly look awkward. I know there is other property in the neighborhood that have lots behind other lots, but as best I can tell, the frontage is over 100’ and the houses in back own their own driveways. In the plans submitted by MHM, the back lot’s driveway will be an easement on the front lot’s property.
- Since the corporation owns the three lots, they could probably seek a variance and move square footage around between all of the lots so they meet the 100 feet minimum frontage plus separate driveways for houses in the rear—but they would have to build less than four houses.
Presently, the city planner in the planning administration office is reviewing the request and will staff it to various city departments. They will make a staff recommendation, then pass it to the Planning Commission for a vote. Right now they will convene on 9 August at 0900 in building 14 at the city complex down on Princess Anne. Following the Planning Commission’s vote (and regardless if they vote yes or no) it will then be put forward to the City Council for a vote at some later time.
If any residents would like to send a letter or e-mail objecting to the development, you can address it to [email protected] I would recommend more than just stating you’re opposed; please give solid reasoning as to the density issue, the fact that the developer owns the land next door and so this variance request shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, further reduction in trees that present a sound barrier for the neighborhood, increased traffic on one of the most heavily traversed streets in Virginia Beach, or another reason. I have sent an e-mail to MHM requesting information, including their future plans for the other properties, and when/if I get a response, I’ll post it.
Vice President, Lake Shores Civic League