adaptation actions

What Goes Around, Comes Around - Time to Review 2008 Commission on Climate Change Roadmap

 Ten Years On and Much to Do

Ten Years On and Much to Do

In 2008, then-Governor Kaine appointed a Commission on Climate Change to study the impacts of climate change on Virginia and to outline the ways we need to respond. The Commission issued a report that outlined a consensus action plan for Virginia. The Commission's work languished, a subsequent Governor had it removed from the state's website (Wetlands Watch obtained the source code and reconstructed it on our server.) The last Governor convened a Commission to review the situation but little came of that effort.

Now we have a new Governor, Ralph Northam, who was actually a member of the 2008 Commission on Climate Change, and he is very interested in taking on some of these nagging issues. In fact, he was the author of legislation that enacted two of the provisions in the Commission's recommendations on adaptation to sea level rise.

The action agenda from 2008 is ready to go, since the suggested actions do not require legislation. We hope in coming months that some of these provisions will be acted upon as we enter the second decade without a significant statewide response to Sea Level Rise (this in a state that has the highest rate of sea level rise on the Atlantic Coast!)

City Says "No" to Development Because of Flood Risk - First of a Kind!

 Road Near Proposed Development - Virginian Pilot/Ron Stubbins photo

Road Near Proposed Development - Virginian Pilot/Ron Stubbins photo

For the first time that we can find, a local government has said "no" to a development proposal due to flood risk. The City of Virginia Beach, hammered by increasing rainfall, has been more sensitive to the flooding potential, especially in the low-lying southern part of the City. But lots of localities are concerned about and planning for flooding, but still allow people to develop in dangerous places.

No more in Virginia Beach. The City Council unanimously denied a proposed 23-home subdivision on a soggy piece of land because of concerns about flood risk and future city liability. Recently burned by the flooding in a recently constructed subdivision, Ashville Park, Virginia Beach Planning Commission and City Council members expressed doubts about this proposal. Even though it met the technical requirements, the access roads flood frequently, flooding will increase, and the city did not want to put more people in harm's way.

This follows on the City's work to document the increased rain flooding risk that is equally important and groundbreaking.

Stay tuned for lawsuits and negotiations, but for now the City of Virginia Beach is the first in the country to say "no" to soggy development proposals.