Norfolk City Council Could Act on Unpaved City Roads
NORFOLK — This is 15th St. An unpaved, gravel road, not in the country but in Norfolk, right between main roads Norfolk Avenue and Pasewalk Avenue… and two blocks from Westside elementary. It’s 2017, shouldn’t a thru street in a modern city be paved? Mark Klafter who lives one block down the street thinks so.
“Wow why is that here?” Klafter said. “So that started basically from the first day I arrived here in Norfolk and I’ve always been concerned about it and always been unhappy about it as others in this area have been.”
But because Klafter lives a block away from the unpaved section of 15th street, he can’t directly do anything about it. That’s what brought him to the Norfolk City Council meeting Tuesday night, to alert the Council to the situation and ask for assistance. He listed his concerns.
“Here we have no sidewalk, a dirty, rut-filled street,” Klafter said. “We have something that is messy. It encourages people to speed. Those with sports cars or pickup trucks or motorcycles love to rev it up and go very fast on this street.”
There’s two ways the street could get paved. First, a majority of property owners can petition to set up a paving district, and second, a 3/4 vote of the City Council can force a paving district. Either way, the property owners pay for the paving based on the square footage that borders their property.
Other unpaved city streets include part of Square Turn Boulevard and some side streets near Memorial Stadium. City Public Works Director Dennis Smith says he’s met with unpaved property owners over the years and they don’t want to pay for paving.
“It boils down to cost primarily,” Smith said. “You know, they just don’t want to make that a priority in their budget to pay for a paving assessment. They seem to be happy with what they have.”
Now the payment would have to option to be paid over 10 years, but Klafter still thinks the owners won’t be willing to petition the city, that’s why he’s hoping the Council will take the initiative to make the 3/4 vote necessary to force the paving.
“We’re not talking about putting financial duress on anybody, but we are asking the City to do the right thing for, again, a 21st century city to have streets,” Klafter said.
So for Klafter and his neighbors, concrete trucks would be a welcome sight here on 15th street, but that decision, will likely be left to the City Council.