VB411: Fact or Fiction?

Debunking fake news, correcting the record and combating misinformation that might be floating around Virginia Beach.


ISSUE: Why Do I Have to Pay For Parking at The Oceanfront? I’m a Tax-paying Resident, So It Should Be Free!

FACT: Parking is an enterprise fund, which means it is self-supporting from the fees it collects. Revenue from real estate or personal property taxes are not used to support Parking Management’s operation. Rather, Virginia Beach uses a “pay as you go” approach to parking. Parking fees apply to the municipal garages, surface lots and on-street parking in our resort area.

QUESTION: Does the City Have a Limit On the Number of Cars That Can Be Parked On a Residential Property?

FACT: No, the City does not have an ordinance limiting the number of vehicles that can be parked on a residential property.​

ISSUE: Understanding Virginia’s Know Your Zone Program

​​FACT: The Commonwealth of Virginia has identified four zones, designated A through D, in coastal areas of the state to help determine when evacuations may be necessary due to pending storms. Residents can determine their zone status anytime by visiting KnowYourZoneVA.org.​​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: It’s OK to Put Plastic Grocery Bags in my Recycling Bin

​FICTION: Plastic bags are not accepted by the City’s recycling contractor. Only plastic items, labeled one through seven, are able to be processed.

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Anyone Can Fly a Drone Wherever They Want in Virginia Beach

​FICTION: Much of Virginia Beach is considered restricted airspace where operating a drone requires special permission or is outright prohibited.​

ISSUE: What is Dredging, and Why Does the City Do It?

FACT:  Dredging is one component of a larger plan designed to maintain the City's waterways for navigation and to mitigate flooding.

ISSUE: Why Do Some Street Signs Have the City Seal on Them and Others Do Not?

FACT: The practice was discontinued in 2014 as a cost saving measure and because the Seal is difficult to see from the ground.

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Volunteering Requires a Long and Recurring Commitment of Time

FICTION: There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities ranging from “one-and-done” events for those who can’t commit to a regular schedule, to longer, repeating events for those who are able. In fiscal year 2017, hours volunteers donated totaled about 1.21 million hours worked and saved about ​​​​​$28 mil​​lion.​​​

ISSUE: The City’s Resources to Address Homelessness

​FACT: The City of Virginia Beach recently completed construction on a new Housing Resource Center to provide homeless residents the support and programs they need to get off the street and into a permanent home.​​

ISSUE: Why Are We Building Another Sports Facility? And Why Has the Cost Increased?

FACT: The recently approved Sports Center is being built to attract more of the sports tourism industry in Virginia Beach. The cost increased from $40 million to $68.1 million to account for additional parking and a larger facility than initially contemplated.​

RUMOR: The City Has an App to Bring Cardiac First Aid to Those in Distress

FACT:  When someone is having a heart attack, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. That's where Pulse Point comes in.  VBEMS recently launched this app locally to create force multipliers: registered users are directed to a person in distress so they can begin CPR until first responders arrive.

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Libraries haven't kept pace with the digital age.

​FICTION: The Virginia Beach Public Library offers technology, classes and events available to residents at no cost.​​


ISSUE: Golf Carts on City Streets

​FACT: Golf carts are illegal on public roads outside of three specific neighborhoods: Heron Ridge Estates; Chubb Lake, West of Pleasure House Road; and Lago-Mar.​

ISSUE: The City’s Mosquito Control Measures

​FACT: The City of Virginia Beach takes preventative measures year-round to reduce the mosquito population.

ISSUE: Why Does it Take So Long to Have a Code Violation Addressed?

​FACT: Cited property owners are given a certain amount of time, depending on the violation, to correct any issues. Depending on the nature of the infraction, that timeframe could be anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days.​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: The City Is Responsible for All Street Lights

​FICTION: Dominion Energy owns and maintains the vast majority of the 50,000 total street light fixtures in Virginia Beach. 

ISSUE: Hurricane Preparedness

​FACT: Being prepared for hurricane season can make a world of difference for a household. Insure your belongings, have your supplies ready and “Know Your Zone” before a storm hits.

RUMOR: Is it True That You Can Adopt a Storm Drain in Virginia Beach?

​FACT: The City’s Adopt-a-Drain program lets residents register a storm drain to look after and keep clear of debris at the curb. And you can give it a name!

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Where Was the Memorial Day Parade This Year?

FICTION: The Mayor's Veterans Committee, which oversees Memorial Day planning, does not, and historically has not observed Memorial Day with a parade because it is a memorial rather than a celebration.

ISSUE: Why is it necessary to appeal the assessed value of my vehicle every year?

FACT: The appealed value is only valid for one year since the condition of a vehicle, and its resale value, typically changes between inspections.

ISSUE: What to Do When You’re in Traffic With an Emergency Vehicle

​​​FACT: As safely as you can, make way for a first responder’s vehicle by either yielding the right-of-way when traveling, or moving to another lane or slowing down for a vehicle at a stop.​

QUESTION: Does Virginia Beach Collect Unwanted Medications as Part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day?

​ANSWER: Virginia Beach has four permanent collection sites at each VBPD precinct station available year-round to collect medications and medical sharps.

ISSUE: The In’s and Out’s of Mowing City Property

FACT: Mowing of City roadways throughout Virginia Beach occurs in cycles: a 30-day cycle for the rural roads, like Pungo Ferry Road, which covers the road shoulders, and an 18-day cycle for the urban areas, such as Virginia Beach Boulevard, for the medians.

ISSUE: Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements Are Progressing through Neighborhoods as Part of a 15-Year Plan

FACT: Virginia Beach leadership is committed to addressing the increasing threats of recurrent flooding and sea level rise by completing a number of projects that are in various stages of development and construction.​​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: On April 25, a Twitter User Posted a Thread about Virginia Beach Police and Sheriff’s Office Staff Allegedly Detaining a Man for Giving Money to a Homeless Man

​​FICTIO​N: VBPD and the Sheriff’s Office found no record of a traffic stop matching the description in the tweets. Additional investigation into the alleged incident by neighboring jurisdictions and State Police also yielded no record matching the one depicted in the tweets.​

ISSUE: The Agricultural Reserve Program

​​FACT: The ARP conserves natural resources, and preserves the character and heritage of southern Virginia Beach.​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: You Can Park a Tiny Home Anywhere in Virginia Beach

​FICTION: McMansion or tiny, a house can only be placed in an area zoned for a house.​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Virginia Beach has billions of dollars of unfunded pension liabilities.

FICTION: The City has a pension obligation of about $4.6 billion to cover its pension needs for city AND school employees. Currently, there is about $3.5 billion in assets in the pension fund. The shortfall is about $1.1 billion – $370 million for the City and $700 million for the schools. ​

RUMOR: The City doesn’t send its recyclables to be recycled, they just stuff it under Mount Trashmore.

FICTION: Recyclables collected by the City's contractor are taken to a Tidewater Fibre Corporation center for processing.​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Ambulance rides are expensive, and it’s no different in Virginia Beach.

FICTION: The Emergency Medical Service in Virginia Beach does not charge patients for services.​

RUMOR: Violent crime in Virginia Beach is at an all-time high

​​FICTION: Actually, the violent crime rate in Virginia Beach has been steadily declining over the last 50 years and, according to the most recent crime report, is at about the same level it was in the mid 1960s.

ISSUE: Waste collection guidelines

​FACT: ​If you put your garbage out for pickup, but the truck left it, it might not be because they missed your house but because your trash wasn't properly bundled for collection. Not sure what that means? Please, read on.

ISSUE: Tourism spending and how it benefits residents

​FACT: Tourism provides more than 13,000 jobs, pays for major public projects and contributes about $56.4 million back to the City's General Fund. This equates to about 10 cents of savings on the Virginia Beach property tax rate.

RUMOR: There will be no more holiday lights at the boardwalk

​FICTION: Rumor has it the holiday lights at the beach have been cancelled because City Council will not approve the funds to update the electrical systems. This is not true. The Holiday Lights Merry Mile was presented on the Boardwalk la​st year, between 8th and 22nd Streets and featured more than 50 of the most popular light exhibits from previous years. ​​​And, the 2018 display is slated to be even better.​​​​

RUMOR: City Hall is being relocated to Town Center

​FICTION: For a time, city leaders considered constructing a new City Hall at Town Center as one of several options for replacing the aging building. However, in October of 2017, City Council unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with the design of a new three-story structure adjacent to the current City Hall, between Buildings 1 and 2 at the municipal center.  The current building is old and full of asbestos, old pipes, old HVAC and old electrical wiring all of which make a rennovation impossible while the building is occupied. ​

CORRECTING THE RECORD: These can't be photos taken in Virginia Beach, can they?

​FACT: They can. Several folks questioned the provenance or authenticity of photos that the City Photographer has taken and have been posted to the City's Facebook page​, but they are, in fact, real and they are, in fact, scenes from around the City.​