A 69-acre development is proposed for one of Virginia Beach's last open waterfront landscapes. The proposal will impact four acres of wetlands and about 34 percent of protected area overlooking Pleasure House Creek and the Lynnhaven River. Portfolio Weekly features the story in it's current edition.
In summary, Lerch proposes that the JPA doesn't comply with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act regulations, meaning developer L.M. Sandler & Sons will need to seek an exception from Virginia Beach to develop the majority of the Resource Protection Areas (canals and wetlands - including a 100-foot protective buffer).
He also disputes the claim made by engineers for the developer that the existing wetlands and canals were manmade and therefore not worthy of protection under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. "(This) doesn't this follow the logic or letter of the law and regulations. Looking at the aerial photographs going back to 1937, it appears that the site was historically a wetland. Furthermore, when the years of spoil and dredge activity ceased it makes sense that nature would begin the process of returning wetland vegetation. Lastly, there is no reasonable justification (within the Bay Act regulations) for allowing an exception to remove the existing RPA features (water bodies, wetlands, and buffers)...Clearly, the exception being sought is due to a proposed "self-created" or "self imposed" hardship. I recommend contacting Shawn Smith (principal planner with DCR's Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance office) to verify this interpretation of the regulation."
You can take a virtual walking tour of the site or sign a petition opposing the Indigo Dunes project proposal at The Chesapeake Bayfront website. Stay up-to-date on the project with the Shore Drive Community Coalition blog.