CHESAPEAKE — City Council is poised to consider a resolution that would close a land use development loophole in an effort to preserve more of its rural, agricultural land.
Over the last few months, the city’s planning staff has been meeting with residents in small rural listening sessions to discuss issues related to development, farming and preserving rural and agricultural land. Planning Director James McNamara shared an overview of key takeaways from those sessions with council members Tuesday, along with a few suggestions that could aid further rural preservation.
Among the suggestions that council decided Tuesday to consider is amending the city’s zoning and subdivision ordinances to close the agriculture subdivision loophole, which has allowed developers to skirt the typical level of city scrutiny and build in historically rural areas with greater density than would otherwise be allowed. Council member Debbie Ritter asked planning staff at Tuesday’s meeting to prepare an initiating resolution to be considered at the next council meeting.
The loophole developments are allowed by-right, meaning they are permitted under zoning laws and handled administratively with no public hearing or legislative action required by the Planning Commission or City Council. They allow landowners to subdivide their land into more parcels over time to create higher density development.
City leaders have discussed addressing this zoning loophole for decades, but the issue became a glaring one in recent years due to the sprouting of 100 new homes along Sanderson and Cedarville roads in southern Chesapeake. City leaders anticipated it would ultimately cost the city nearly $1.28 million in the long run because no proffers were offered to offset the impact to city services.
Through the listening sessions, city staff gathered that balancing landowners’ property rights and the need for growth will require more pathways for property development and further support of agricultural and farming operations.
Farmers and landowners told city staff that it’s often difficult to turn down money being offered to them by developers and that they should be able to do something other than farming with their land, especially during housing shortages. They also emphasized the need for more city oversight and public input on development, more infrastructure, potential impacts to ground water and school overcrowding.
Chesapeake currently offers a program in which the city can purchase development rights and place an easement on properties. The landowner receives fair market value but still retains ownership, meaning they can place a house on their land and continue using their land for agricultural purposes. McNamara said Tuesday the amendment for agricultural subdivisions could require an easement that similarly restricts land use of the property, limiting it to “agricultural use, silvicultural use, natural habitat and biological diversity, historic preservation, natural resource based outdoor recreation or education, watershed preservation, preservation of scenic open space, or preservation of open space.”
The changes would ultimately lead to more open space and farmland being preserved, McNamara said, though agriculture subdivisions would still be considered by-right development.
If the loophole is closed, one alternative for landowners is a residential estate rezoning, McNamara said, which the city currently offers though it’s rarely used. Like agriculture subdivisions, they call for at least three acres but can extend to public roads with lots better suited for the land. And a rezoning means the development is subject to public hearings with staff analyses and potential proffers to offset the impact.
“A lot of what you’re seeing with the agricultural subdivision loophole could be accomplished with the RE-1 rezoning,” McNamara said. “This would allow Council to have oversight of development, would be able to provide recommendation, which we’re not getting at this point in time. Right now, you’re seeing by-right (development) with no citizen input, no Council oversight, no proffers being offered to offset any impacts.”
The change would also include tweaks to city policy regarding minor subdivisions and conservation cluster subdivisions, which are also by-right. McNamara said requiring the use of only existing road frontage when property is being subdivided is one way to control growth for minor subdivisions. And conservation cluster subdivisions are ideal because more of the property’s open and agricultural land must be preserved.
Conservation cluster development “allows you to place lots with the existing environment on the site,” McNamara said. “You get the same number of yield but you get more open space preserved and you’re able to develop around natural features at this point in time.”
McNamara also said the city could develop guidelines to establish planned unit development, or PUD, for farming villages, which requires a rezoning, sets aside farmland and includes enhanced designs and amenities. McNamara said such PUDs have been seen in Northern Virginia, describing them as immersive experiences with educational opportunities like community gardens, for example.
Other issues touched on during the listening sessions included solar farms, agribusiness and agritourism, the Costal Virginia Commerce Park and the need for more farming incentives, especially for young farmers.
Natalie Anderson, 757-732-1133, email@example.com
Rome in May is practically perfect for visiting. The warm, dry weather lends itself to sightseeing and extended outdoor excursions. The days are clear and sunny, but still not as hot and sweltering as the summer months.
It’s a great time for photo shoots and walks in Rome’s many parks – the rains are unlikely to interfere with your plans. And some will even want to bask in the sun near the sea, which is only a 40-minute drive from Rome.
May opens the high season, which means that tickets and hotel prices will be higher than in previous months. Those wishing to visit museums and sights will increase significantly, so tickets, especially to the Borghese Gallery, the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum should be taken care of in advance. It is also better to book excursions in advance to be able to choose a convenient date and time.
Table of Contents:
1. Weather in Rome in May
2. How to Dress in Rome in May
3. Holidays in Rome in May
4. What to Do in Rome in May
1. Weather in Rome in May
May in Rome offers comfortable temperatures and little rainfall. Unlike neighboring April, May in Rome has little rainfall and is usually short-lived. At this time of year, the daylight hours continue to increase to 12 hours.
The eternal city will be drenched in flowers and blossoming trees, which will dispose to long walks and photographic experiments. The sea (and the nearest beaches from Rome are in Ostia) is also starting to warm up gradually, although the water is still quite cool for swimming.
- Average daily temperature in Rome in May: +21°C/70°F
- Maximum daytime temperature in Rome in May: +25°C/77°F
- Minimum daytime temperature in Rome in May: +13°C/55°F
2. How to Dress in Rome in May
Weather in May in The weather in Rome in May will offer plenty of clear, sunny and warm days.
The temperature ranges between 16-17 and 21-22 degrees Celsius, so a light leather or denim jacket will be the best option as outerwear.
May can be hot in the summer, so a water bottle, sunglasses and a hat with a brim will do you good. But don’t rush to pack exceptionally light summer dresses and shorts. While May is warm during the day, the mornings and evenings are still quite chilly.
Grab a sweater and jeans, as well as comfortable closed shoes for walking on the paving stones, and a scarf made of loose fabric. Coats and insulated jackets will definitely no longer be appropriate in May.
In hot weather, remember that exposed shoulders and knees are inappropriate for visiting Vatican museums and churches.
3. Holidays in Rome in May
May 1st – Labor or Workers’ Day / La Festa del Lavoro (or La Festa dei Lavoratori)
Like in many other countries around the world, Italy celebrates Labor Day on May 1. It is an official public holiday and a day off, which this year falls on a Monday. Schools, government offices, post offices, and banks are closed. It is also a non-working day at the Vatican Museums, but attractions such as the Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Borghese Gallery are open.
On May 1 Italians prefer to go outdoors and out of town with family or friends, attend concerts and events, have picnics in parks, ride bicycles and scooters. On this day, rallies may be held to defend workers’ rights and improve working conditions. On Piazza San Giovanni near the Lateran Basilica there will be a large-scale free concert with leading Italian pop stars, more details can be found here https://www.primomaggio.net/.
On May 1, expect large crowds at popular attractions and museums open to the public. Many Italians do a “ponte” – “bridge over” – which means they take an extra day or weekend off to have a little vacation. In addition, May 1 is a day off in many other countries, so early May is a popular time for tourists to visit Rome.
May 4-7th – The Race for the Cure
“Race for Cure” is an international event held to draw attention to the fight against breast cancer and promote a healthy lifestyle. The Race for the Cure features a 5km competitive run and a 2km march through the streets of the city center. For more information, visit https://www.raceforthecure.eu/en/.
May 6 – Swearing in of New Recruits to the Vatican’s Swiss Guards
On May 6, recruits to the Swiss Guard will take the oath of allegiance to the Pope and the Holy See. Only young men aged 19 to 30 of Swiss descent and of Catholic faith of at least 1.74 meters in height are accepted into the ranks of the Vatican army.
The ceremony of swearing in the recruits takes place on May 6, because it was on this day in 1527, when Rome was captured and sacked by the imperial army, 147 guardsmen, at the cost of their lives, gave the pontiff and cardinals the opportunity to hide in the Castle of the Holy Angel.
May 13 – Night of Museums in Rome / La Notte dei Musei
On Saturday, May 18, 2024, the “Night of Museums” action will take place in many countries, including Italy. State, municipal and some private museums in Rome are participating in the action. The museums in Rome will be open an additional 3 hours, besides the main opening time: from 8 PM to 2 AM. For example, in Rome, Capitoline Museums, Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Museo Centrale Montemartini, the Ara Pacis Museum, Trajan’s Markets Museum, and the Villa Torlonia Museums, among others.
The entrance fee is a symbolic €1 or free of charge.
May 20-28 (in 2023) – Open House in Rome / Open House Roma
The annual Open House event in Rome allows you to visit places (palaces, studios and even private apartments) and events that are usually closed to the public for free. For a full list of venues and to register, please visit https://www.openhouseroma.org/programma.
As of writing this the information for the 2024 event is not yet available.
May 19th (in 2024) – Pentecost / Pentecoste
Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the feast of Easter, is celebrated on May 19th in the 2024 Catholic calendar. On this day, an extraordinary rain of rose petals (“La pioggia di petali di rose”) can be seen in the Pantheon in Rome. Firefighters climb the dome of the Pantheon and drop thousands of rose petals from the oculus.
On Pentecost, the colors of the priests’ vestments are red, like the color of the petals, recalling the “tongues of fire” of the Holy Spirit that descended on the apostles.
This is an ancient tradition dating back to the early Christians, when the red rose was one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit and the blood shed by the Savior to atone for the sins of mankind.
4. What to Do in Rome in May
Free Museum Admission Days
The free day to visit the Vatican Museums in May 2023 is May 28 (last Sunday of the month). You can also visit the Vatican Museums on Friday evenings from 19.00 to 23.00.
Read our detailed instructions on how to buy Vatican Museums tickets online
Taste Seasonal Roman Products and Dishes
May is the season of legumes. Try the spring version of pasta with peas, mussels and pecorino cheese.
May is the start of the fruit and berry season. For delicious and sweet strawberries and strawberry Prosecco, it is worth traveling to the town of Nemi in the Castelli Romani Regional Park near Rome.
Have a Picnic in One of Rome’s Parks
Rome in May offers plenty of days with clear, sunny weather. Try spending one of them in the same place where the Romans themselves relax – in the lap of nature, in one of Rome’s many parks.
There are many ideas: you can rent bicycles or a whole bicycle car for a family, take a boat ride on a picturesque lake, have a picnic, or delight your children with a visit to the amusement rides (there are some in the Villa Borghese Park).
A list of Rome’s most popular parks:
- Villa Borghese Park
- Villa Doria Pamphili Park
- Villa Torlonia Park
- Villa Celimontana Park
- Park on the Appian Way
- The orange orchard on the Aventine
Go to the Seaside
Few people consider Rome as a city for a beach vacation. However, just 40 minutes away from the Eternal City is the coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea. You won’t be able to swim yet in May, but spending a nice relaxing day in Ostia, walking along the promenade and enjoying a delicious seafood meal, is quite possible.
Visit Rome’s Public Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale)
The Rose Garden is a green oasis near the historic center of Rome, where 1,100 varieties of roses are planted! But for obvious reasons it is only open 2 months of the year (daily from 08.30 to 19.30, admission is free), so hurry up to see the beauty! In addition, from the Rose Garden you can enjoy a magnificent view of Circo Massimo and the Palatine Hill.
What Else to Do in Rome in May
- Learn the secrets of making delicious Roman pizza at a master class led by a pizzaiolo
- Attend an authentic gladiator school
- Visit the picturesque national park near Rome, Castelli Romani, to enjoy strawberry Prosecco and scenic views of ancient volcanic lakes.
- Walk through the filming locations of movies shot in Rome, visit secret corners and picturesque streets on our unusual tour “The Eternal City and the Magic of Cinema”.
- Visit the Borghese Gallery with a guide and enjoy the works of art without rush and fuss
PORTSMOUTH — The top prosecutors for Virginia and Portsmouth met Monday to discuss violent crime in the city and how best to tackle it following recent rulings that resulted in major felony cases being thrown out by local judges.
The meeting between Attorney General Jason Miyares and Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales was held at Miyares’ Virginia Beach office, and included other members of their staffs, according to a spokeswoman for Miyares.
The gathering came after the attorney general wrote to Morales in September to express concern with violent crime in Portsmouth, and the back-to-back dismissals of two serious criminal cases. One involved a fatal shooting outside a strip club, and the other a fire at an illegal day care that left several children injured.
In both instances, the judges blamed mistakes made by prosecutors for their decisions. Morales disagreed with the rulings and has sought to have them reversed.
In his Sept. 22 letter, Miyares offered to provide resources to Morales’ office to help prosecute violent crime in the city, including the use of cross designated special assistant United States attorneys who focus on prosecuting violent repeat offenders and seeking maximum punishments for them.
“When there are no consequences for committing violent crimes, public safety deteriorates, criminals are emboldened, and innocent victims are revictimized,” Miyares wrote. “It is important that we work to restore accountability and trust in the local justice system.”
Miyares and Morales described Monday’s meeting as “productive” in statements released by their offices afterward.
“I have visited Portsmouth several times and heard residents’ concerns about crime in their community,” Miyares wrote in his statement. “With communities like Portsmouth in mind, I launched Operation Ceasefire, a proven initiative to reduce gun violence through prosecution and prevention, especially targeting repeat offenders. We have also shared information on Virginia’s new witness protection efforts to protect our witnesses before testifying. Collaboration and open communication between local city officials and Commonwealth’s Attorneys is critical to that effort, and I appreciate today’s meeting with Mrs. Morales.”
In her statement, Morales thanked Miyares for his cooperation and assistance.
“When leaders and community stakeholders commit to working together in service of our communities, we are at our very best,” Morales wrote. “Today, my meeting with Attorney General Miyares and our teams was highly productive and will greatly expand efforts to make our Portsmouth community safer. We look forward to continued collaboration in service of our Portsmouth community and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Jane Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org