At the Virginia Beach City Council meeting held on 12 April, SDCC President, David Williams, and Bay Island residents Mike Megge, and Rob Lawlor presented their comments, concerns and questions related to the proposed Neighborhood Channel Dredging Project. The numbers and scope of this project are quoted from a presentation given by Mr. Hansen, Deputy City Manager, and Mr. Phillip Roehrs, Waterway Engineer on 15 March to the City Council. To view the 15 March presentation, go to VBGov.com and search word “SSD”. Presntation is titled “Neighborhood Channel Dredging” dated Oct 2010.
These are the summarized comments that were presented by the SDCC president:
Many citizens in our areas have concerns with the proposed dredge spoils project in the Lynnhaven Basin. Our concerns are:
Safety: Barges, workboats, dump trucks, who will monitor the sites, and who will supervise the traffic? Who will be responsible for the safety? Will the city be responsible? Who will shut it down if it is unsafe?
Scope: The basic numbers presented by the city for the Robin Hood Forrest SSD brief (15 March/available at VBGov.comm word search “SSD”) indicate that even for this small 26 property project, the dredge spoils amount would total 12,551 cubic yards which equals 1,255 dump trucks (@10 CY per truck) How much time will it take to cycle these dump trucks through just this one project? This project is scheduled to start in two years and complete three cycles in sixteen years. This is a major project. It could generate 1.2 million cubic yards from 2500 properties in the first cycle alone. That is 120,000 average 10 CY dump trucks. I was told a senior city staff member, that they would use efficient 20 cubic yard dump trucks. A 20 CY dump truck weighs 80,000 pounds and is not suitable for residential grade streets.
Environmental Impact: We have been told by a senior city official that “It will not harm the basin, but will improve the water quality because of better water flow”. I seriously doubt this. Many have worked very hard to improve the water quality and restore the oyster beds in the Lynnhaven, and now with this project, it could potentially destroy all this effort. This project will impact the fish, oysters, crabs and the water quality.
Burden On Communities: This project has the potential to place a severe burden on a few areas with heavy dump truck traffic, noise, and pollution hazards through the neighborhoods. Who will benefit from this project? Many or just 2500 property owners who want deep water access? If the dredge spoils come from one area, those spoils should be hauled from that area. It is unfair to place such a burden on just two or three transfer sites. With the Crab Creek transfer site, how will dump truck traffic impact traffic when the new Lesner Bridge is under construction? I believe that the previous traffic and safety concerns that many residents had with a proposed permanent transfer site at the Lesner Boat Ramp (LBR)/Crab Creek two years ago remain. Except, now we will have new bridge construction along with the dredge spoils dump trucks and barge traffic. How well will that work?
Special Service District (SSD): What are the particulars? What will be the cost to the taxpayers? What is the return on investments for the taxpayers? Will this project be supported by the SSD funds, or will taxpayers who don’t live on the water have to pick up the additional costs?
Duration: This project is proposed to start after two years of SSD collections, be reviewed for rate at four years and be completed at sixteen years after three dredging cycles. This is a major project. How many residents will it benefit and what will be the burdens on our neighborhoods to provide deep water access to a relative few property owners?
I request the City Council to consider the safety, scope, environmental impact, burden on the communities, and the duration of this project. I ask you all, is this going to be reasonable project, or a benefit to a select few?
Please note, in fair disclosure, that I, Mr. Megge, and Mr. Lawlor all live in the basin and presently have deep water access available. The remarks of Mr. Megge and Mr. Lawlor will be submitted separately.