Beach Access Encroachment Issue

At the City Council Meeting on December 6th, the Ordinance to “AUTHORIZE temporary encroachments into a portion of City right-of-way” was deferred indefinitely by the City Council.

A number of speakers spoke to make the point that this is a larger issue than one particular case. Clay Bernik, President of the Friends of the Live Oaks, noted that there is no current policy on encroachment into dune areas which are vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise and asked the city to develop guidelines which would address how the city can protect these sensitive areas. (And noted that there is no mechanism to preserve our city tree-live oaks ). Steve Gibson, Vice President of the North Virginia Beach Civic League, described how these activities are becoming more common and described 4 cases in the North End where residents are building large areas into the dunes. He also requested a change in process since currently these requests go directly from Public Works to City Council. Todd Solomon, Cape Story Civic League, also noted the lack of civic process since these requests are addressed piecemeal allowing little or no notice to the public. President Danny Murphy requested a postponement saying that the issue is that the short notice allows no time to for community input on issues like this one and others like the Lynnhaven Dredge Transfer Station. Robert O’Neal spoke to clarify the timeline and points about the right of way and echoed objections about short notice and lack of transparency.

Council member Henley said she recognized that there were a number of issues concerning waterways and encroachment and she would support a holistic approach. Council member Wilson suggested that the Beach and Waterways Commission be reactivated to help clarify these issues including a lack of process and oversight. City Manager Duhaney suggested a moratorium which Mayor Dyer supported and was agreed to by the Council. District 9 Council member Moss suggested that the City leverage the digital infrastructure that has been paid for in terms of extensive data on the beaches to see the whole picture and adopt a comprehensive policy because “just because it’s been there forever doesn’t mean it gets to stay there.” He asked that City Manager Duhaney be tasked with coming back to council in the new year with recommendations on organization and timeline. Bayside Council member Delceno Miles noted that these requests do not go through advisory boards so a more comprehensive plan is called for. She made a motion to defer the ordinance indefinitely which was carried unanimously by the Council.

The North Virginia Beach Civic League has identified encroachment into the dunes as a problem in their October Newsletter and has taken the step of advocating the prevention of encroachment activities.

This is the article from the North Virginia Beach Civic League Newsletter: October-2022-Newsletter.

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