May 1, 2008

Cavalier Manor – a doormat for the City of Chesapeake?

Filed under: Community - Issues/Concerns — Robert @ 11:57 am


In 1971, as part its comprehensive zoning plan, the City of Chesapeake designated approximately 600 acres of land south of and immediately adjacent to the long standing residential community of Cavalier Manor in Portsmouth for industrial development. In support of this industrial park, the City of Portsmouth then turned the southern cul de sac area of Cavalier Boulevard in Cavalier Manor into a thoroughfare for that city’s industrial park. The 18-wheelers started rolling through more than 30-years ago and continue to roll through to this day in spite of signs prohibiting overweight trucks and Portsmouth PD law enforcement efforts. In addition, we can literally set our clocks by the overweight service sector trucks that use our community daily as a thoroughfare to deliver goods and services to points beyond Cavalier Manor. The weight of the overweight trucks, when driven across imperfections in the roadway, rattles foundations, frame structures and dishes beyond homes on Cavalier Boulevard. Because the overwhelming source of the unlawful truck traffic is easily identified as traveling to and from businesses in the Cavalier Industrial Park, the City of Portsmouth could therefore be more proactive in its law enforcement efforts but has failed to do so. While complaints by citizens typically yields a traffic enforcement response from Portsmouth PD, more needs to be done and can be done. Case in point; more than a year ago I contacted the City Engineer’s Office regarding the need for a sign near Exit 2A/Greenwood Drive East on I-264 warning truck drivers of the weight restrictions on Greenwood Drive in Cavalier Manor because drivers have no advance notice of the weight restrictions until after they have exited I-264. Our then Neighborhood Impact Officer (NIO), Officer R Ferrell, now Detective R Ferrell, who had issued summons to drivers of overweight trucks passing through the community responded and concurred that this is an issue. Barring no responses from the City Engineer’s Office, I contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The reported collaboration between VDOT and the City of Portsmouth that ensued has not resulted in the placement of warning signs on I-264 as of this publishing. Similarly, the City of Chesapeake was asked to attach solar-powered or commercial-powered flashing lights to its, routinely ignored, sign warning truck drivers traveling northbound of the restrictions in Cavalier Manor. Again, as of this publishing, there has been no effort made to facilitate the placement of such lighting to help heighten awareness as to the truck traffic restrictions in Cavalier Manor. Furthermore, it is both abundantly and appallingly clear in looking at the daily traffic patterns and at the access infrastructure the City of Chesapeake has provided for its industrial park, that the community of Cavalier Manor in Portsmouth is a major part of that city’s plan for vehicular access to its 600-acre Cavalier Industrial Park. There are only two ways to access the industrial park; through Cavalier Boulevard at Military Highway and through Cavalier Boulevard in Cavalier Manor. As a result, residents living on Cavalier Boulevard find it difficult to exit their own driveways during rush hour. During morning rush hour the traffic is often backed up into the 55 mph eastbound/northbound travel lane on Military Highway as traffic is waiting in the entire left-turn lane to get into the industrial park.This Cul de sac area, turned thoroughfare, by the City of Portsmouth also created a train crossing on Cavalier Boulevard that placed train warning whistles within approximately 70 feet of homes in Cavalier Manor, thus permanently lowering the environmental quality for many residents and full appreciation potential for their property. The recent Ethanol Plant proposed by the City of Chesapeake, strongly and successfully opposed by the Cradock Civic League and neighboring communities, would have been served by that same rail line. The resulting increase in rail traffic through that crossing would have had a devastating impact on the environment of Cavalier Manor. This rail line continues to serve as an environmental and property value disaster waiting to happen for the residents of Cavalier Manor. Yet it appears to be of no particular concern to the City of Portsmouth.  Even though the Cavalier Industrial Park consists of some 600+ acres of land, the first businesses were built within a few hundred feet of the homes in Cavalier Manor. These businesses are warehouse-based businesses with the loading docks facing the homes in Cavalier Manor that are less than 200 feet away.

Railroad Crossing into Industrial Park on Cavalier Boulevard (previous Cul de sac)


Around 1996, the Quikrete Company purchased a concrete mix manufacturing business in the Cavalier Industrial Park. The manufacturing plant was located within 1000 feet of the homes in Cavalier Manor. As i understand it, shortly thereafter the City of Chesapeake granted a zoning variance to Quikrete to expand the facility. This outdoor manufacturing plant now stands several stories high and as a result a considerable amount of noise travels unfettered into Cavalier Manor. The plant often operates 24 hours a day. Several attempts were made, unsuccessfully, through the City of Chesapeake, Chesapeake PD and the City of Portsmouth to address the unabated noise. Special appreciation goes to Lt. E. McIntyre of Chesapeake PD who made several attempts to address the concerns to management at Quikrete. In January 2008, I, along with Pastor Bruce E. Childs, D.Min. who also lives in the southwest corner of Cavalier Manor, met with Wayne Thompson, plant manager and Russ Smiley, Quikrete regional vice-president (Atlanta) to discuss our concerns. As a result, we have observed a noticeable reduction in noise levels, especially during the night time hours. However, consistency in abatement measures remains an issue as of this publishing. Hearing this outdoor manufacturing plant running at 3 AM in the morning serves as a constant reminder that our pre-existing residential community is not to be provided the proper due respect when it comes to the economic interests of the City of Chesapeake.

Quikrete Plant


Just when we think we’ve seen the City of Chesapeake demonstrate such institutionalized disregard for our community, along comes Meeks Disposal in 2007 with an outdoor rock crushing business that is located even closer to Cavalier Manor than the outdoor Quikrete plant. Noise measurements reportedly taken show intermittent noise levels that greatly exceed that of the Quikrete plant. With the constant hauling of dump trucks to/from the outdoor rock crushing business, it is like living next to a highway construction project that never ends.

Meeks Disposal


While performing weekly volunteer work for the Cavalier Manor Motor Patrol, I noticed trucks from Waste Industries in the Industrial Park emptying large metal trash dumpsters around midnight for businesses located in Cavalier Manor. These business are located as close as 50 feet to homes. Similarly, Waste Management was emptying large metal trash dumpsters in the Industrial Park within approximately 100 feet of homes in Cavalier Manor around 3 AM in the morning. Special thanks to then Officer R. Ferrell, now Detective R. Ferrell of Portsmouth PD, then Lt. S. Dunn, now Captain S. Dunn of Portsmouth PD, Lt. E. McIntyre of Chesapeake PD and another Chesapeake PD officer, whose name I unfortunately can’t recall, for their efforts in addressing these issues. The pickup schedules were changed to more suitable hours. These waste collection trucks routinely using Cavalier Manor as a thoroughfare in the middle of the night remains an issue as of this publishing.


The Lake Forest residential sub-division for the City of Chesapeake was developed in the southwestern corner of Cavalier Manor. As of this publishing, more than 20 years later, there are still no roads connecting this sub-division with the City of Chesapeake. The only access to this sub-division by road is through the streets of Cavalier Manor in the City of Portsmouth. For some residents of Cavalier Manor this has meant seeing duplicate sets of public service vehicles rolling down their street every week. Warfield Drive, for example, is not designed to function as a thoroughfare.

Lake Forest Sub-division

This also means that Chesapeake Police Department vehicles, responding to the Lake Forest sub-division, must similarly travel through the streets of Cavalier Manor. A few years ago, a neighbor with school age children indicated that she had safety concerns when Chesapeake PD was responding to the Lake Forest sub-division. Later, while out walking my dog and performing weekly volunteer work for the Cavalier Manor Motor Patrol, I observed similar safety concerns while observing Chesapeake PD responding. Multiple emails sent in early 2007 to then Police Chief Richard A. Justice and then acting City Manager Anne F. Odell regarding these concerns were never replied to. Further, it seems to me that if proper inter-jurisdictional notification is not being given to Portsmouth PD, the safety of our own officers is being put at risk. Notwithstanding the need for inter-jurisdictional communications, however, the very same safety concerns observed by citizens in Cavalier Manor do not appear to be present when Chesapeake PD runs radar near the Chesapeake/Portsmouth border and speeding motorists headed for Cavalier Manor and points beyond are stopped by Chesapeake PD in Portsmouth. While the system may not always be perfect, Cavalier Manor almost always seems to be the exception in any situation involving the interests of the City of Chesapeake.



At the Green Lakes Civic League web site states “Our League was formed partly in response to concerns over a desire to rezone a parcel of property on Airline Blvd. from residential to commercial. This occurrence would have negatively impacted the quality of life of the Green Lakes subdivision since any additional commercial activity within or adjacent to the boundaries of the neighborhood would create a disturbance, which could not be tolerated…”. The Cradock Civic League responded similarly to the Ethanol Plant proposal by the City of Chesapeake, ” We have found there WILL be increased traffic at least 100 truck trips a day on Victory Blvd (possibly many more) not including the employee traffic, increased train traffic on GWHY (at least 3 to 6 a week), constant noise (24/7 350 days a year) from the plant with the Hammer mills, dryers and cooling fans…”. Both civic leagues were successful in their efforts to deny these environmental intrusions into their respective communities.  During the town hall meeting held on September 20, 2004 at Wilson High School, Cavalier Manor residents from Carrington Crescent South, Cavalier Boulevard and Warfield Drive again expressed concerns about noise and traffic in the community generated by the businesses in the Cavalier Industrial Park in Chesapeake.

Robert Harris Jr

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