Residents upset over proposal to tear down trees, build a parking lot

13News Now Ali Weatherton has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Some residents in Ocean Park are upset about a proposal to tear down some trees to build a parking lot at a local park.

The $550,000 plan would bring changes to Pleasure House Park and Natural Area, which is located on Marlin Bay Drive.

"Why can't we just leave it the way it is," community member Tim Solanic said.

It's a place kids come to learn about the outdoors, and where people and their pets go to get fresh air. Tim Solanic says the city's potential plans to rip down trees in a section of the park and build a small parking lot is absolutely ridiculous.

"We are teaching kids about taking care of the planet and the city wants to build a parking lot.," said Solanic. "What is the lesson? What message do you want to tell the kids? 

Others disagree with Solanic. They say the parking lot is a great idea.

"I think a little parking lot is just going to help people bring in the kayaks and the pattleboards and have some place to go instead of having to drag it around."

Right now plans include a kayak launch, a pedestrian bridge, more trails, and of course the parking lot. Past drawings of the site included bathrooms and lights, but right now the city says the money just isn’t there. Julie Braley with Parks and Recreation says there are some misconceptions with the project.

"There will be a few trees impacted but not live oaks. Live Oaks are an important tree for the city, and we do everything we can to protect them," Braley explained.

Braley also says the lot will not be in a wetland, but Solanic says he and many of his neighbors don't want it, and they hope the city goes back to the drawing board.

"It's a natural area. It is a park and you're going to cut down trees for a park in a park," Solanic said.

The city says plans won't happen overnight, more details are on the way. They encourage the public to share their input.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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