Citizens bring College Beach Weekend concerns to city council

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — On the heels of a violent College Beach Weekend, two citizens attended Tuesday night’s council meeting, voicing their concerns.

Tammie Lamberty broke down in tears before council, claiming she observed “nasty” things while walking the boardwalk over the weekend.

“I found drugs in a needle… panties,” she said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for parents to see, nor children.”

Austin Phillips, who lives off of 24th Street, echoed the concerns.

From his balcony, he saw “people speeding by, loud music, littering, drinking, smoking weed, acting obnoxious, not respecting people’s property… they did damage to my building, it was just absurd.”

According to city officials, there were nearly 30 arrests made after several violent incidents. The police chief told 10 On Your Side it was the largest Beach Weekend crowd he had ever seen.

“Unless you were there, you wouldn’t understand how bad it was,” Phillips said.

Mayor Will Sessoms issued a statement on College Beach Weekend Wednesday morning on his Facebook page:

In the days since, thousands have signed a petition against the tourist weekend, including those who spoke before council.

“This is a serious situation that we have in this city,” said Councilman Bob Dyer. “Believe me, I believe this council is dedicated to making sure your quality of life is good.”

Dyer said he is already looking at ways to mitigate problems. He is talking with a group of people who are interested in providing things to do to occupy visitors during the weekend.

“Perhaps having some faith-based organizations and also activities with motivational speakers,” he said.

“It may be that we do have to come up with some particular events,” said Councilwoman Barbara Henley.

Phillips agreed that adding activities is key to curbing the chaos.

“If you have 40,000 people with no entertainment whatsoever, and they’re just walking around, you’re asking for trouble,” he said. “It’s not excusing their actions, but it’s not helping to give them nothing to do.”

“I hope something is done next year,” Lamberty said. “I feel sorry for all the first responders.”