A joint land use study now under way for Norfolk and Virginia Beach is considering options for mitigating the impact of sea-level rise and recurrent flooding on Naval Station Norfolk and three other installations. Because the study’s scope is not limited to the issue of incompatible development, many of its recommendations will be construction projects rather than changing land use regulations, Ben McFarlane, senior regional planner for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, told the Virginian-Pilot. “Obviously those cost a lot of money, so the implementation of them will be more time-consuming, expensive and difficult.”
The study comes as Hampton Roads works to address the most evident consequences of climate change before the future any of the region’s military bases is called into question during a BRAC round. “There is no message from on high saying, ‘You will do this or you will lose a base,’” said McFarlane, the study’s project manager. “But we know this is an issue and … we’d like to forestall that if we can,” he said.
Local officials already have taken a variety of actions to tackle the problem, including raising roadways and bridge heights, adjusting zoning laws and altering placement of utility infrastructure, said Craig Quigley, executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance. “It’s an issue we must deal with, and I’m confident we will,” Quigley said.
Photo courtesy of Virginia Wasserberg