Permanent City Wharf at the Lynnhaven Inlet
Listening to the presentation given by Mr. Phill Roehrs of the Public Works Department given at the City Council workshop on 23 January, one might believe that this was just routine business as the city declares that the present 400 foot bulkhead located at the Lynnhaven Bay will become a permanent wharf and feature upon the completion of the Lesner Bridge. Not so fast Mr. Roehrs, Mayor, City Council, City Manager, and staff.
The Federal Public Notice 12-1169-09 issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District and posted 10/18/2012 states that the Joint Application for Federal and State Permits submitted by the City of Virginia Beach will “include the construction of a temporary bulkhead”. Further, “Upon the completion of construction, the temporary bulkhead will be removed”. This statement differs factually from what Mr. Roehrs told the Mayor, City Council and staff.
If the city’s permit application stating the bulkhead temporary intended for the Lesner Bridge construction, but actually had the intent to make it permanent to bypass certain Federal environmental requirements, than the city should correct their error and complete all the required Federal and state environmental impact studies required by law for such an operation.
The city’s most recently adopted Comprehensive Plan (May 17, 2016) “is the official land use policy framework for Virginia Beach…. “to guide responsible use of finite land resources….and protect neighborhoods”. A permanent bulkhead or wharf at the Lynnhaven Basin used for commercial operations and support for large commercial dredge vessels and scows would change the very nature for surrounding neighborhoods and degrade this pristine waterway. To use this bulkhead area as a permanent dredge spoils transfer site and commercial wharf would subject the estuary to unacceptable environmental pressure created by dredge silt then entering the estuary and flowing back into the vary areas where oyster replenishment and natural fish spawning areas have taken so much effort to restore. Harmful water turbidity levels and released pollution will continue to be an environmental issue if such a transfer operation should be permitted at this bulkhead. Mr. Roehrs was correct when he stated that the city should expect some pushback from the residents on this issue.
David M. Williams
Past President and Secretary
Shore Drive Community Coalition
Virginia Beach, VA 23451