NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY ) — It’s official. As of last night’s city council meeting, Norfolk is now on track to buy Greenies and Oceanview Diner.
This will allow the city to expand beach access, but not everyone is happy about the deal.
No one has been impacted more from businessman Ronnie Boone selling some of his property to the City of Norfolk than Oceanview Diner owner Beth Cajiao, who wants the city to treat her right.
She leases the land her diner is on from Ronnie Boone, so now the city will become her landlord. Her sign out front says “Oceanview Diner good eats at the beach.” She has bayfront property, and a great customer base.
“When I first heard about this, it was very concerning,” Cajiao said.
Cajaio is afraid she’ll lose what she has, so Tuesday night when Norfolk City Council adopted the ordinance to buy the diner property Cajiao showed up to watch, “It has not been expressed to me what will happen.”
Cajaio has contacted eminent domain attorney Joe Waldo.
“I have dropped off a copy of the lease, and he promised he would get back in touch with me, and told me not to worry too much,” Cajiao said.
Waldo has not been retained, but told us her lease may allow her to stay until May 2020. Cajiao says: “from what I understand, legally, they have to accommodate our lease. We expect them to relocate us as part of the law.”
Waldo added the city would have to do these things: honor the lease, pay for relocation, help her find a new place for a new diner, pay any increase in rent due to the move for the next two years, and pay for her to move.
Cajiao has a strong customer base, just ask Ben Fields.
“This is a great place, and we love her to death,” Fields said as he kissed the top of Cajiao’s head. People like Ben Fields come in every week.
“The message to the city: please think about the locals, and the small businesses before you jump to anything that needs to happen, because we do matter,” Fields added.
Guess who else is a customer? That’s right, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander. 10 On Your Side texted the mayor about the issue. He responded, “Exactly, I am a fan and supporter; she has very good food.” When asked about how she interprets the mayor’s kind words, Cajiao replied, “it is encouraging the city might want to work with us.”
All day long customers ask Cajiao what will happen, she tells them, “I’ve asked them to relax, we are going to move if we have to. We are not going to throw in the towel. It is also very humbling that we have had such great response and good wishes from the whole community.
In the end, all Beth Cajiao wants is to be treated fairly.