Battle brewing over pitch to possibly extend the boardwalk

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side has learned about a pitch to possibly extending the boardwalk. It currently stretches to 40th Street, and some residents who live farther up would like to keep it that way.

The concern centers on developer Bruce Thompson and whether such a plan would be approved to benefit solely Thompson and his new Oceanfront hotel.

WAVY News have learned plans have been floated in the past to extend the boardwalk across the property of Oceans II Condos and then across Oceans Condominium. Oceans Condominium condo owner Arno Zaritsky showed 10 On Your Side where the extended boardwalk would go. It would cut through the entire front of their grassy lawn and go all the way along the property to Thompson’s property at 41st Street.

A city spokesperson tells 10 On Your Side that City Manager Dave Hansen says there are currently no plans to extend the boardwalk, but Thompson said in a text message to WAVY’s Andy Fox: “The city did have the boardwalk extension in the incentive package they put out to all developers. We know they are working on it and we’re interested in the outcome. No other comment though.”

WAVY News also knows Thompson discussed extending the boardwalk in a November 2015 email with former City Manager Jim Spore, who outlined eight suggestions on what the extension should look like.

Councilman Jim Wood said, “There are no plans at this time to take the property [Oceans Condominium] and taking it would be difficult to do.”

Difficult indeed, says Oceans Condominium General Manager Ken Osborne.

“The boardwalk would be in here between the old sea wall and the new seawall… Our property goes out to this mark, which is a mean high water mark established in 1962.”

It is clear the property lines on the deed map are outside where the boardwalk would go, indicating the boardwalk would clearly be on Osborne’s property.

That could play out in court, and there’s another problem expensive court hearings on whether the city could even take the property through eminent domain to benefit a private developer.

“The city does not have the right to extend the boardwalk for the benefit of private property, and that is essentially what this is to benefit the new Cavalier Hotel, and this is not a… legitimate public use… for eminent domain property taking,” said Oceans Condominium attorney Brian Kunze.