Pedestrian Path Background
Prior to 1979, the land now known as Salem Lakes was owned by Sunstream Park, Inc., and zoned R-4, R-8 (Residential) and AG-1 (Agricultural). In 1979, Virginia Beach City Council granted Sunstream Park a change of zoning to PD-H (Planned Development), with certain conditions attached. Among those conditions were:
- The lots around the lake should be platted so that the entire lake and jogging path are incorporated into the boundaries of the lots; and
- The developer would establish a public recreation/open space easement around the lake, of at least 15 ft. wide with a 6 ft. wide jogging path located in the center. The Ordinance specifically stated that the City will have maintenance responsibility for the easement and the path, but will not have any maintenance responsibility for the proposed lake.
All of the lots surrounding the lake are platted to the center of the lake. The City has a 15 foot public easement allowing the public the right to walk along a 6 foot path supposed to be located in the center of the easement.
The City has responsibility for the maintenance of the public easement area and the path. The developer was to have created a 7:1 slope from the waters edge to the edge of the public easement.
The pedestrian path was recently closed due to bank erosion and concern for public safety. The City held a public meeting for the residents of Salem Lakes on June 11 to discuss the recent closure of the path and related issues including the potential removal of the path and the vacation of the easement.