- By Alissa Skelton
- May 1, 2019
A councilwoman says she wants to bring stability to the Beach Districtafter a tumultuous past few months.
Rosemary Wilson, 68, announced on Wednesday that she plans to run for the seat that represents the Oceanfront. She has started gathering signatures on her petition and plans to file this week.
The position is up for a special election in November after three judges removed David Nygaard from his seat in March due to issues with his residency.
“I am concerned that there is so much instability in a really important district,” Wilson said. “We have had three councilmen in that seat over the last few months. I would bring that stability and experience we really need.”
Wilson, a real estate agent and former teacher, has been an at-large City Council member since 2000. Her four-year term ends in 2020. She lives in a condo on the south end of the Boardwalk. The resort area, which welcomed 19 million visitors last year, is starting to reach its full potential, she said.
“Now is a crucial moment for our Beach community, our resort and our future,” she said in a statement. “With the sports center, the Dome site and Something in the Water, we are raising the bar in Virginia Beach, and I want to help lead that change.”
Her top priority would be to protect the Tourism Investment Program fund, which generates revenue from meal, hotel, cigarettes and amusements taxes. The fund, which is supported by the Virginia Beach hotel and restaurant associations, is typically used to pay for tourism projects. Last year, the council used some of that funding to buy trash trucks, and some residents have suggested spending that money on flooding projects.
A project pitched for the Dome site and building a new pier would be Wilson’s other priorities. She said the idea to build a new pier is a good one, but it has become politically charged. There has been no action on it for the past year. Ideally, an independent group would look at the pier proposals submitted to the city last May, she said.
“I don’t think the pier has been put to bed yet,” Wilson said. “It is just sort of lying there since there’s so much activity at the Dome site and the sports center.”
If Wilson wins, it would create another vacancy on the council that would have to be filled until a special election could be held. In the past year, former Mayor Will Sessoms and Shannon Kane of Rose Hall have also left before the end of their terms.
Wilson is not the first member to eye a different position on the council. Last year, Bobby Dyer, the former Centerville representative, and Ben Davenport, a former at-large member, ran for mayor after Sessoms’ sudden departure. The city held a special election for the Centerville and mayoral seats in November.
The city charter required Dyer and Davenport to resign at the end of last year to be eligible to run for mayor. But Wilson will not be required to resign to run for another district.
Over the past few weeks, the council has been working to temporarily fill Nygaard’s and Kane’s spots. The council unanimously chose Guy Tower to represent the Beach district. He has said he does not plan to run.
Next Tuesday, the council will decide between two candidates — Michael Berlucchi and Seko Varner — for the Rose Hall seat.
Cindy Shortridge, of the Virginia Beach elections office, said no one has filed to run for any of the November special elections yet.
Former Councilman John Uhrin, who lost to Nygaard, has been quiet about whether he will enter the race. He withdrew his name from consideration for the temporary appointment. He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.