Ed. This story first ran in print on Friday, March 29.
THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
VIRGINIA BEACH – City Councilmember Shannon Kane announced on Friday, March 29, she is resigning from office because she is moving out of the Rose Hall District.
Kane’s resignation will take effect on Saturday, April 6, according to a letter to colleagues.
The change will mean, if only for a matter of weeks, the City Council will be down to nine members rather than 11. The council is in the process of filling the vacant Beach District seat after judges in March found David Nygaard had moved into the district last year only to seek office and was not eligible to be elected to the seat.
“I understand the difficulty of this announcement, especially when City Council is already working on filling a vacant seat representing the Beach District,” Kane wrote in her letter. “But I believe the honorable decision is for me to step aside and allow citizens of the Rose Hall District to step up and serve, and I know council will make the right decisions to move Virginia Beach ahead in the months an years to come.”
In an interview, Kane said she and her family had been looking for a house within the district for some time, but could not find something that suited their needs. Additionally, their house sold more quickly than anticipated. She said she sent her letter the day after the real estate transactions were finalized.
Kane said it was important that the district have representation by a resident, which led to her resignation.
“You do the right thing,” she said, “and you don’t play games.”
She acknowledge the timing of this in budget season made it hard, and she said she would have liked to work with her colleagues on the budget.
In a statement, Mayor Bobby Dyer said Kane had served the city and district in “a professional and thoughtful manner,” and he thanked her for her service.
Dyer could not be immediately reached for comment, but he said in the statement that city business will get done and that the council will work to fill the vacancy.
The City Council would within 15 days of the resignation taking effect petition the courts for a special election, and the council within 45 days would appoint a qualified voter from the district as an appointed representative until the result of a special election, likely in November, is known.
The seat would then be part of the general election in 2020.
Vice Mayor Jim Wood said during an interview that Kane will be missed, and he acknowledged having a nine-member council, for the time being, is a challenge
“Fortunately – and I don’t know that fortunately is the right term – we have a process underway in the Beach District,” Wood said, noting that the council might be able to coordinate the processes and fill the Rose Hall seat “reasonably close” to the Beach District seat.
The City Council has dealt with multiple vacancies before, such as when, in 2013, Glenn Davis and Bill DeSteph were elected to the Virginia General Assembly. That year, Kane was appointed to the vacant Rose Hall District seat, taking office in January 2014. She won election to the seat later that year, and won reelection in the 2016 general election.
Kane is challenging state Del. Kelly Fowler, a Democrat serving her first term, in the 21st House District race this year. Kane, running as a Republican, said her new home is within that state house district. Two years ago, Fowler defeated longtime GOP incumbent Ron Villanueva in the 21st amid Democratic gains in Virginia.
Shortly before this edition of The Independent News went to press on Friday, March 29, Fowler released a statement about Kane’s “abrupt departure” from the City Council.
“It is deeply disappointing that the residents of Rose Hall will not have a City Council representative looking out for their best interests as the city budget is considered and critical decisions are made about funding for flooding issues and storm water projects,” Fowler’s statement read, in part.
On Friday, Kane said she looked forward to the opportunity to represent the area as a state legislator.
“I’m really excited to get there and bring back more funding for flooding and bring a local council member’s perspective,” Kane said.
In addition to City Council vacancies due to residency, a judge in April will determine whether Joel McDonald vacated his Rose Hall District seat on the Virginia Beach School Board by moving out of the district during his term. He moved back in this month.
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