If you own a home, business or plot of land along the planned light rail extension into Virginia Beach, you might want to visit a grocery store and pick up some boxes because you might be moving.
As part of the study process, Hampton Roads Transit has identified many parcels of land that will be taken in part or in full to facilitate the construction of Light Rail into our city. Whether you want to sell your property or not, chances are good that owners will be confronted with Eminent Domain and forced to sell to make way for “Transit Oriented Development” or as we more accurately call it, “Developer Oriented Transit.”
In fact, the Preliminary List of Acquisitions and Displacements (catchy name, huh?) identifies over 20 properties that will be seized for the purpose of Light Rail to Town Center and if Light Rail is extended further, that list only grows longer.
If property owners that do not wish to sell their land/home/business choose to challenge the City of Virginia Beach or Hampton Roads Transit, the taxpayers would be required to pay all legal bills incurred on behalf of the City as well as any additional costs or expenses necessary to acquire the land from its rightful owner.
In 2014, a Virginia Beach resident that sold part of his land to the Virginia Department of Transportation was told five years after selling his land to the state that he would be required to pay back over $150,000 because VDOT changed their minds on how much the land was actually worth. Source
Given the performance of HRT and the City of Virginia Beach in years past where it relates to land dealings, we are pretty confident light rail expansion into Virginia Beach will cause even more disputes with property owners and force the long-suffering taxpayers to foot the legal bills.