Virginia Beach tries to prepare for sea level rise
By Keya Vakil
May 29, 2019

Virginia Beach is among the cities facing severe flooding as climate change marches forward and the sea levels rise.

Aware of the dangers facing the area, the city is proposing new guidelines for future development, which would require developers to plan for 3 feet of sea level rise, more intense rainfall and higher groundwater levels, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

The new standards, which are meant to protect new properties from increased flooding, have yet to be approved.

Phil Pullen, the city engineer leading the project, told the Pilot that the goal was to prevent flooding by requiring developers to provide more details before the city approves a plan.

Projects involving important infrastructure such as hospitals would have to plan for 3 feet of sea level rise, while other developments would need to prepare for 1.5 feet.

A recent study commissioned by the city found that sea levels could rise by 3 feet between 2065 and 2085, which would cost Virginia Beach $271 million per year unless the city intervenes.

This plan would be one step in such an intervention, and has been met with praise from environmental groups.

The draft of the plan is currently in the midst of a 60-day public comment phase and a public meeting will be held on June 13 to gather comments from the design and development community.

Pullen told the Pilot that he’s unsure if all of the new regulations will pass, but said the process was a negotiation with city leaders and developers and acknowledged the development community would have a “very strong word” in the process.

Photo © Jeff Futo

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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