Laskin Rd. project could hurt Va. Beach church

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Laskin Road is getting a makeover. Those pesky feeder lanes that many motorists find confusing will soon be a thing of the past, but for the Virginia Beach Community Chapel, the change comes with an unwanted price.

“Here we are 32 years of using it like it is, and now, everything that’s built here has got to change or not be used,” said church trustee Doug Davis.

The church has been along Laskin Road since 1954. In 1982, the congregation added a social hall, which is now home to the Virginia Beach campus of Norfolk Christian School. Davis said when the feeder lane that runs in front of the church disappears, the problems won’t. This lane is the only way the chapel’s two parking lots are connected.

“It is the safest way to use this property,” Davis added. “Reality is had we not had the use of this particular road, there would have been changes in the way the whole process was developed in time.”

Right now the only way to get from the church to the fellowship hall is by coming out of parking lot and getting on the feeder lane. When VDOT widens Laskin Road from four lanes to six, there will be no easy way to go from one lot to the other.

“You would have to come out of this lot, drive down, cross three lanes of 45 [mph traffic] in a short distance, make the u-turn back, come all the way back … and [turn left to] cross three 45-mph lanes to come back in. Then you are into the west lot.”

Davis fears this inconvenience will be too much to overcome.

“[VDOT] just don’t seem to care about the needs of us as a church and how we use the property or how it is going to impact us in the future,” Davis said.

Church officials are asking VDOT to pay $250,000 to build a road behind the buildings connecting the two lots, though the organization hasn’t offered to pay that.

“The department is seeking a fair balance between the land taken from the church and how much money the church should receive in compensation,” said VDOT spokesperson Ron Watrous.

“We really don’t know the true impact of this until it is all settled and done,” Davis said.

Tuesday, the two parties will be in a Virginia Beach courtroom. VDOT is asking a judge to throw out some of the evidence the church members want to use in court. But church members say when the case goes to trial, the jury should be allowed to hear all the evidence.

VDOT’s plan is to get rid of all the feeder lanes along Laskin Road. The $4.3 million project should be done by the end of 2015.

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