CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - The Navy had one message to Chesapeake City Council for months: "Stop development around Fentress Air Field."
The military was afraid encroachment would hamper their operations, but Tuesday the two sides reached an agreement -- the council passed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 8-0 that both sides call a win-win.
In the Spring, City Council approved a 15-acre site off Mount Pleasant Road where 31 homes were planned to be built not far from Fentress. The decision was quickly contested by the Navy and City Council reversed its vote in March.
Now, a new resolution calls for a joint review panel with the city and the Navy for future rezoning and conditional-use requests for properties in or around Fentress.
Those WAVY.com spoke with say the latest vote cleared the way for consistent, constant dialogue between the Navy and the City of Chesapeake to avoid any zoning issues in the future near Fentress. Navy Commanding Officer, Captain Bob Geis, offered praise to the city for working through the kinks to get to this point.
"We believe that this MOU process is critical to the long-term operation of Oceana and Fentress, and the Navy sincerely appreciates the City of Chesapeake's commitment to our partnership," said Geis. "The idea is to ensure that Navy operations aren't impinged as well as the City of Chesapeake, the property owners' rights are protected."
Geis said they've worked through many growing pains over the last several months.
"There was some language in the city zoning that was not consistent from our perspective, and to be honest, in their perspective as well," said Geis. "So this was a great opportunity to come together to understand each other's sides."
Councilwoman Debbie Ritter told WAVY.com Tuesday's decision was all about teamwork.
"It follows along the path we need to follow to play our part in not only strengthening and maintaining, but also allowing for the expansion of military facilities in the region," said Ritter. "This decision will involve the Navy more directly in the early exploration of any application that might affect their mission."
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