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After hearing outcry from residents, the Virginia Beach City Council voted to block a car dealership from expanding onto a forested lot in the flood-prone Windsor Woods neighborhood.

But the owner of the property, Runnymede Corporation, is still allowed to build an office building on the site.

“Regardless of what is built, it is a losing situation in our eyes with the loss of the Sentara Way woods,” said Fran Sansone of the Princess Anne Plaza Civic League. “It will create a free flow of stormwater into the linear canal, running parallel to I-264 to Mount  Trashmore.”

A Checkered Flag dealership sits on three acres of property on Sentara Way near Rosemont Rd and I-264. 

The company applied for a permit to expand in December, but public opposition caused the city council to delay the vote.

Residents complained of noise, light pollution, trucks blocking the street from the existing dealership, and said developing the property would endanger the nests of the federally protected red-tailed hawk.

They also worried about flooding.

The neighborhood is particularly vulnerable to flooding. More than 250 homes in Windsor Woods flooded in 2016. Eighty-five percent of them had no insurance coverage

Former City Manager Dave Hansen called the situation “catastrophic.”

The city has since approved more than $50 million worth of infrastructure projects over the next seven years to deal with the problem.

According to the U.S Geological Survey, paving an area increases stormwater flooding because the soil is not there to absorb rainfall.

An inch of rain on an acre of paved surface produces 27,000 gallons of runoff, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation 

During Hurricane Matthew, 14 to 18 inches of rain fell within 12 hours in Windsor Woods. Under those conditions, each paved acre would produce more than 350,000 gallons of runoff.

Less than a fifth of an acre of the property would be reserved for green space, according to the dealership’s plans.

The City Council voted 8 to 3 to deny the dealership’s application. Mayor Bobby Dyer and Council Members Guy Tower and Rosemary Wilson voted to approve.

NOTE: Runnymede Corporation owns the land referenced in this story. An officer of the company, Jeff Fine, is a vice president at WHRO.

Fine, Fine, Legum and McCracken represents Runnymede. Gregory McCracken, a member of WHRO's Board of Directors, is a partner at the firm.

Checkered Flag and Runnymede are underwriters of WHRO.