Brian Solis, of the Virginia Beach Department of Parks & Recreation responds to questions posed by residents interested in further details about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s proposed educational center to be located at Pleasure House Point.

From an email, posted unedited and with permission from Mr. Solis:

What LEED levels will be required? See this website.

Certified 40–49 points

Silver 50–59 points

Gold 60–79 points

Platinum 80 points and above

Response:
There are not requirements for level of LEED-certification; however, CBF has indicated that the building will achieve LEED-Platinum status. CBF’s headquarters in Annapolis, MD was the first LEED-Platinum certified building in the world.

Will the 10,000 SF CBF building be in accordance with the Living Building Challenge (LBC) requiring its own energy and waste processing? See this PDF file.

Response:
Yes. The details are being worked through CBF, the Planning Department and several other state and City agencies through the conditional use permit and design process.

Can a 10,000 SF building be justified when the LBC is committed to stopping the continued spread of sprawl development that threatens the few wild places that remain?

How can the 10,000 SF building be justified when the LBC prohibits construction on sensitive ecological habitat and/or a 100-year flood plain?

The architectural rendering on display was a long rectangular building devoid of the features the LBC prescribes:

• Elements that nurture the innate human attraction to natural systems and processes.

• Environmental features

• Natural shapes and forms

• Natural patterns and processes

• Design features intended solely for human delight and the celebration of culture, spirit and place appropriate to its function.

• Integration of surrounding tidal ponds, bird houses, and indigenous animals (frogs, lizards, turtles) into the immediate vicinity of the building for view, education, and environmental compatibility.

Response:
The majority of the Pleasure House Point site is a previously-disturbed site. The building will also need to meet minimum building code standards as well as those related to flood plain issue. The detailed design of the Education Center will reveal addressing the majority, if not all, of the above criteria.

So was this it, or did the plan evolve through a proper Charrette (Charrette at Wikipedia) that looked at several designs and space requirements in consultation with all stakeholders?

Response: CBF’s part of the Education Center evolved near the end of the site master plan process.

As part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA), to minimize square footage, will (or were) investigations undertaken to evaluate other near-by public facilities that could be used for meetings, public gatherings, educational classes, and training?

Response:
The 10,000 s.f. building program is approximately 2% of CBF’s site. It is my understanding that CBF did evaluate building spaces in the vicinity of both Norfolk and Virginia Beach to meet their needs before undertaking this opportunity. Based on where the building is located and the educational programs and minimal staff offices proposed for the space, we do not find the building program to be unreasonable. Also, the building is sited at the most landward location while still staying outside of the 200’+ Resource Protection Area (RPA) buffer areas that CBF is enforcing on itself (normal RPA buffer requirement is a 100’ setback).

I also just need to reiterate the City’s commitment to working with the Trust for Public Land and Chesapeake Bay Foundation under the Council-adopted Memorandum of Understanding to achieve a number of goals for the entire site in a way that compliments each other: preservation, restoration, education and public access.

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