Bill Brings Sand Replenishment One Step Closer
When Hurricane Sandy passed by Hampton Roads in October,it took with it loads of sand, a few decks and staircases, and brought beach-front properties closer to further damage the next time a big storm comes along, Sen. Frank Wagner said Thursday.
Had the hurricane, or one like it, hit Virginia Beachdirectly, the results would have been devastating, he said.
Now Virginia Beach residents living along the Chesapeake Bay are one step closer to getting what they’ve asked for for years after the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources unanimously approved Wagner’s proposal (SB946) to expedite the beach replenishment process there.
The bill would require the Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality and other involved agencies to establish a procedure for approving within 90 days applications for permits to dredge sand from the bay and dump it on adjacent beaches. Doing so would provide a larger protective barrier between bayfront properties and the water, said Wagner, R-Virginia Beach.
The expedited permit process would be similar to one already in place for the Oceanfront and would not cost the state any money, Wagner said. He said Virginia Beach has agreed to pay for sand replenishment along its part of the Chesapeake Bay, which includes Chic’s Beach and the Shore Drive corridor, areas that suffer some of the worst damage from nor’easters and storms like Sandy.
A study by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science concluded that 3 million to 4 million cubic yards of sand can be safely dredged from the Chesapeake Bay and placed on its beaches, Wagner said.
The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote and, if passed, would still require approval in the House.