Save the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility / Say NO to the City of Virginia Beach plan to put a Dredge Materials Transfer Station here.
The Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility is a clean, safe, popular recreational facility at the mouth of the Lynnhaven River on the Chesapeake Bay. This facility served 154,837 boaters, fishermen, and beachgoers in 2011, including residents of the adjacent Ocean Park neighborhood. The surrounding Lynnhaven River is a model for river clean-up. Over 40% is open to oyster harvesting after decades of pollution prohibiting shellfish harvesting, thanks to citizen/city initiatives. The river is enjoyed by thousands of residents who boat, fish, and swim in its waters.
The City of Virginia Beach is planning to place a permanent dredge materials transfer station at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility as part of a plan to provide Neighborhood Dredging for 2500 homeowners in the western branch of the Lynnhaven River. The plan involves dredging muck from neighborhoods along the western branch of the Lynnhaven, transporting it up to 10 miles to the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility by barge, and offloading it to 15-ton dump trucks. Then the muck will be trucked through the boat ramp parking lot, across the crosswalk between the bathhouse and the beach access boardwalk, through the Ocean Park neighborhood, and east across the Lesner Bridge. Trucks will continue south through Great Neck Road past several schools, and on to a disposal area near Oceana approximately 20 miles away. Those homeowners in neighborhoods receiving the dredging at their properties will pay extra tax via a Special Services District, and will see increased property values. However they don’t want the dredge transfer and truck hauling in their neighborhoods. All taxpayers in Virginia Beach will bear some of the total costs. Those homeowners in the adjacent Ocean Park neighborhood will see decreased property values and a decline in quality of life. Damage to the Lynnhaven River, its oyster beds and other marine life is possible, however the City of Virginia Beach has not done environmental studies to assess this.
The City of Virginia Beach claims that neighborhood dredging is needed to reopen navigable waterways and to improve water quality. The City of Virginia Beach currently is responsible for the main public channels, keeping those waterways navigable. Neighborhoods desiring dredging to their own properties should do so privately and at their own expense. There is no evidence that water quality will improve from dredging. Water quality will improve if and when the root causes of the pollution are curtailed: stormwater runoff containing fertilizers and other chemicals, and pet waste, and boat discharge. Without environmental studies, the claim of improving water quality from dredging is baseless.
If this plan is approved, pleasure boats, kayakers, and paddle-boarders will share the channel with the loaded & unloaded 48 ft barges many times a day. Cars, trailered boats and pedestrians will share the parking lot and roads with 15-ton dump trucks making 30-50 round-trips per day – approximately one truck every 5-10 minutes. These are serious safety issues.
It is imperative that the citizens who use the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility, the citizens who live in the adjacent Ocean Park neighborhood, and the communities of Shore Drive speak out in opposition to the Dredge Materials Transfer Station plan of the City of Virginia Beach.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, oppose the City of Virginia Beach plan to place a permanent or temporary dredge spoils transfer site at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility.
We believe the proposed location at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility, would adversely impact the safety and quality of life as described in the City of Virginia Beach Report of January 2012 prepared by the Beaches and Waterways Commission. Impact assessments from this report are alarming, when the Commission specifically states that Crab Creek will “have issues associated with barge travel and there are concerns for safety and the industrialization of a serene natural area.” We also believe that the potential harm to the Lynnhaven River, the marine life and commercial oyster beds has not been fully assessed. To date, We are not aware of any recent environmental studies that the City of Virginia Beach can use to substantiate the claim of improvement to water quality as a result of the proposed dredging.
We believe that the placement of a Dredge Materials Transfer Site at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility is inconsistent with the City of Virginia Beach Shore Drive Beautification Plan, the City of Virginia Beach’s concept of a gateway to the resort area, and with the Pleasure House Point preservation plan. It is inconsistent with the agreement between the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission which funded the construction of the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility. The agreement specified requirements for recreational use only. It is also inconsistent with the City of Virginia Beach Comprehensive Plan which designates and describes the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility as a park and recreational site.
We believe that the City of Virginia Beach has fiduciary responsibilities to all citizens. It is wrong for the City of Virginia Beach to give privilege to 2500 property owners at the expense of the 154,837 annual visitors to the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility and the hundreds of property owners in the Ocean Park Community. And it is wrong for the city to “cost share” a project that will benefit some citizens, and harm others.
We ask that Virginia Beach City Council and the Mayor direct the City of Virginia Beach Public Works Department and the Beaches and Waterways Commission to:
- Remove the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility from the city’s Dredge Materials Transfer Station plan.
- Ensure that the bulk head necessary to support the Lesner Bridge constructing have the minimum length necessary and not the proposed 400 foot length.
- Ensure that all permits for and construction staging at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility for the Lesner Bridge construction reflect temporary use only, and prohibit permanent structures or permanent permit application.
- Ensure that, other than the temporary Lesner Bridge construction staging and the routine clean sand storage from Crab Creek channel sand dredging, no additional use of the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility be made other than recreational.
This petition will be mailed in snail and e-mail format to City of Virginia Beach Mayor and City Council members, members Beaches and Waterways Commission. If you support our efforts to save the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility, please add your signature to the list attached. Thank you.