Oct. 9, 2013 -- City Council voted 5-0 to deny a permit that would allow the former Arrow Inn to become a homeless shelter for up to 120 people, both veterans and families.
The challenge City Council faced was that Hampton has recently adopted several measures in a campaign to crack down on crime and blight issues, including limits on hotel stays. This permit to renovate the hotel at 3361 Commander Shepard Blvd. could have been in conflict with that ordinance. The inn would be leased to the Salvation Army.
In introducing the topic, City Manager Mary Bunting noted that Hampton has sought and received 325 federal housing vouchers specifically for veterans in need of housing. Those vouchers are not all in use, she said, with the city having the additional capacity to help about 80 more veterans.
"No other localities on the Peninsula have requested and received similar vouchers," noted Bunting. Norfolk has 100 and Virginia Beach has 90. "Our number is more than three times that of Norfolk," she noted.
"Hampton is and will remain committed to our homeless veterans -- and also to those veterans who are not homeless and who continue to serve through their involvement in our community," Bunting said.
Members of several veterans' organizations, VA Hospital staff, individual veterans and members of the city's Military Affairs Commission supported the shelter proposal.
Several council members noted that the vote was extremely difficult. They all said they supported veterans but that the hotel conversion would be in conflict with the recently approved limits on hotel stays. Several suggested that localities work together to create a regional solution.
In other business, council agreed to allow a music school on Research Drive and live entertainment (karaoke) at the Applebee's in Coliseum Crossing. They also accepted the leftover money ($731,725) generated by an undercover investigation into illegal cigarette sales and agreed to target the money in support of the Safe and Clean initiative, with a specific emphasis on youth crime/violence prevention and to put the goods to the use of the city in support of city operations, or to dispose of or transfer such assets where warranted.