VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) — A city audit recommends changes to how staff goes about the bidding process when it comes to empty lots in Oceana Gardens.

That audit looked at the Base Realignment and Closure Program around Naval Air Station Oceana over the last 10 years.

It found that only five developers won the bulk of bids.

“There were some initial concerns of, ‘Are we making sure that everyone that was interested isn’t the property had the ability to build? And it necessarily wasn’t just going to certain builders,’” said Lyndon Remias, City Auditor. “The city may have inadvertently excluded individuals.”

Recently, the city put out a detailed press release of four new properties up for bid. The goal is to get more participation.

“It is open if somebody’s willing to purchase and then in turn work with the contractor,” said Remias.

The issues might have surrounded the type of licenses and building requirements needed for the plots.

“It’s a competitive bid process,” said Associate City Attorney, Elizabeth Chupick. “There’s only certain builders who are familiar with some of the requirements of the city and this area.”

The BRAC program was started to buy properties to reduce the population around the base. Then build the neighborhood up in a nice way, but keep population low, allowing single-family homes.

Back in 2005, the base faced closure over encroaching development, which led to the city buying properties.

Now, after the audit, there are also changes coming to how bids are accepted after some were being opened before the deadline date.

“One of the things they are going to do is change the process where the bids are going to come to a separate location,” Remias said. “Simple changes should be able to fix mistakes like that.”

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