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Sessoms announces resignation as mayor of Virginia Beach to return to private sector; special election could join crowded November ballot

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms announced on Wednesday, April 18, that he will leave office at the end of the month. At City Hall, Sessoms said the decision to resign came after reflection with his… Continue Reading

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After advisory commission, farmers oppose plan to end farmland preservation program, ‘compromise’ goes to Virginia Beach City Council

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE — The Virginia Beach Agriculture Advisory Commission on Friday, April 13, voted to recommend that the City Council maintain the agricultural reserve program while supplying some money for a project to address flooding in Ashville Park… Continue Reading

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Editorial: Effort to kill a farmland preservation program that helps all of Virginia Beach must be stopped

That ending the agricultural reserve program was proposed at all — then argued with questionable logic — shows a troubling division between Virginia Beach government and the rural communities it takes for granted. THE INDEPENDENT NEWS PUNGO — Two years ago, following his appointment as… Continue Reading

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Agriculture: I am a 12th generation farmer who knows killing the ARP threatens our industry

BY SCOTT MORRIS PLEASANT RIDGE — I am a 12th-generation farmer of land in the Pungo area, and I would like for my son to have the option of being the 13th.   We sat at the Virginia Beach Excellence in Agriculture… Continue Reading

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Letter: Virginia Beach agriculture commissioners oppose proposal to end farmland preservation program

Ed. — Virginia Beach Agriculture Advisory Commission Chairperson Diane Horsley and fellow members of the commission signed the following letter to Mayor Will Sessoms and members of the City Council on Monday, April 9, in opposition to a Friday, March 23,… Continue Reading

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Letter: Ending farmland preservation in rural communities a dishonest idea

Dear Editor: Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen believes that the agricultural reserve program, or ARP, is no longer needed. That statement in itself should set off flares.  Remember that City Councilmember Barbara Henley, who represents the Princess Anne District,… Continue Reading

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ARP: Ending farmland preservation program inconsistent with Virginia Beach’s Comprehensive Plan

The author, the former Comprehensive Planning Coordinator in Virginia Beach, argues that preserving the Virginia Beach Agricultural Reserve Program within the proposed operating budget and capital improvement plan is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. BY JERYL ROSE PHILLIPS VIRGINIA… Continue Reading

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Read the Virginia Beach city manager’s memorandum about ending the city’s farmland preservation program

Ed. — The following includes most of the letter Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen wrote to Mayor Will Sessoms and members of the Virginia Beach City Council on Friday, March 23. It has been edited for style and clarity,… Continue Reading

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Letter: There is no excuse for ending the agricultural reserve program

Dear Editor: I grew up in Pungo at Vaughan Farms, and I now live in Massachusetts. It baffles me that here in Massachusetts, where people think “city,” municipalities actively seek to purchase open land and green space from citizens to… Continue Reading

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Virginia Beach city manager proposes ending agricultural reserve program, shifting funds to flooding projects

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen wants to end the agricultural reserve program, which buys development rights so farmers can continue to work their land, and put that money toward flooding. The ARP, as it… Continue Reading