Due Monday: Applicants sought to fill Beach District seat on Virginia Beach City Council until special election

The City Council seeks applicants to serve in the Beach District seat most recently held by David Nygaard before a panel of judges declared he had been ineligible to hold office due to a residency issue. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

COURTHOUSE – Do you want to serve the city? Vote on a budget north of $2 billion? Represent the Beach District, which includes a big chunk of the tourism industry, on the City Council?

The City Council is accepting applications to fill the Beach District seat that is now vacant after a panel of judges determined that issues related to the residency of David Nygaard meant voiding his win and declaring the seat vacant. 

A special election is in the works for November, but the City Council must fill the seat with a temporary member until voters make their pick.

The City Council wants registered voters who live within the Beach District to apply for consideration to fill the seat until the result of the special election is determined and that elected member is sworn into office.

Applications will include a letter, resume, questions to answer, and a completed statement of economic interest. There are details about filling out the statement of economic interest at a link at the city website. 

Visit vbgov.com/hottopics to learn more and review application details. All packages must be submitted by 5 p.m., Monday, April 8 to City Clerk Amanda Barnes via 2401 Courthouse Drive, Suite 281, Virginia Beach, 23456. Barnes may be reached via email at abarnes@vbgov.com.

Questions for candidates include determining their top priorities for the city, how to address the need for affordable housing and whether the candidate supports the agricultural reserve program, which purchases development rights to preserve farmland.

There are also questions specific to the district, such as determining the candidate’s level of understanding of programs affecting the resort area and expectations for development projects. 

It asks whether the candidate plans to run in the special election, too.

The council will review candidates during an executive session, and the body will make a short list public on Tuesday, April 9. Application materials will be made public, and the public will have an opportunity to comment upon the final choices on Tuesday, April 16, during the City Council meeting.

Mayor Bobby Dyer has said the council will interview final candidates for the appointment during a public meeting, and a schedule provided by the city said that will occur during a special session on Tuesday, April 23. The council could make an appointment that day, according to the city.

The courts entered the final order in the Nygaard case on Tuesday, March 19, reaching a determination “that there has been no valid election of any person” in the Beach District. 

Nygaard, the panel found, did not meet residency requirements and was not eligible to run.

The City Council discussed the process for replacing Nygaard that afternoon at City Hall. Then, the council had 45 days to temporarily fill the district seat.

“I think it’s incumbent upon us to proceed in a way that is fair and equitable and transparent,” Dyer said during the meeting.

Nygaard filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its decision, claiming that, among other things, evidence had been altered. It argued that John Uhrin, the incumbent who brought the case against Nygaard after losing to the challenger in November, did not prove Nygaard’s residency was outside the district.

Nygaard maintained that he followed instructions from the voter registrar in preparing to run “with residence in the Beach District.” He had a home and meant to remain there, the filing argued.

The court declined to revisit the decision.

Uhrin has said he is interested in the appointment, but he is not sure whether he will run in the special election.

Nygaard, who on social media said his hat was in the ring for the special election, indicated he would not apply for the appointment when reached by The Independent News via text message on Thursday, March 28.

“I’d rather be seated on City Council through an election by the people than be appointed by 10 people,” Nygaard wrote. “Elections matter, and the people deserve to have their choice honored.”

Nygaard’s remark came before City Councilmember Shannon Kane announced she will leave her Rose Hall District seat on Saturday, April 6, because she is moving from the district.

Among other things, that means it will be down to nine people to fill the Beach District seat.

Boundaries for city voting districts can be found online through the VBGov City Map page found via vbgov.com. Click on the “maps” button at the top of the page, then click on “VBGov City Map.” Once you are on the map page, you can select “voting districts” and “council districts” under the layer list, as shown, and boundaries should appear. Additionally, you can search a street address to see whether it is within the district. This screenshot shows our friends at Rick’s Cafe, a fine place to pick up The Independent News.
Citizens can also access property information by visiting vbgov.com/property-search​. Enter an address, select their home, then scroll down and select the “city services” tab. People can view their districts under “voting districts.” You may have to scroll down to see the box, however.

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