Why Unanswered Questions?

SDCC recently posted the 28 questions that were presented to Chairman Fraim of the Beaches and Waterways Advisory Commission (B&WAC) at the city’s official and only public hearing held OCT 13, 2011. Now, almost one year ago.  As some of you who attended this public forum for the Neighborhood Dredging (Spoils) Program, these questions were officially presented in writing to the chairman and were to be officially answered by this officially appointed city commission. The city would like citizens to think that our voices are heard on such important matters as this costly program (potentially $100 million) directly impacting citizen safety and our tax dollars. All that I can say is that SDCC has not received any satisfactory answers from either the city or the B&WAC chairman, although their official report was submitted to the city nine months ago.
Why are the city and the B&WAC chairman so quiet? I believe that they can not answer SDCC’s questions related to neighborhood impact, safety, environmental issues, traffic impact, costs, and operational concerns of this program. If they cannot answer my questions satisfactorily, how can they continue to proceed with the Neighborhood Dredging (Spoils) Program? I have forwarded these questions to Councilwoman Wilson (City representative to the B&WAC) a month ago to see if she could pry required answers out of the city, and so far no response. Bottom line- NO ANSWERS. It may not be that important, but it does concern public safety, impact on neighborhoods, impact on traffic through three major school areas, and your present and future tax dollars. WHY no answers? Maybe there are no responsible answers.

Crab Creek Lesner Bridge Transfer Site

Admin at Save the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility Facebook Page needs pictures of anything to do with this subject including announcements, pictures, etc. The web address is below for that page. Please like that page to receive updates. Looks like several alternate sites have been found already in just 3 days!!! PAGE LINK BELOW!!


Andrew R. Broyles
3604 East Stratford Rd.
Va. Beach, Va. 23455
cell 757 621 2082
office 757 460 5678
https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheLynnhavenBoatRampAndBeachFacility

Recommendations for Neighborhood Dredging Program

Mr. Fraim:

The Beaches & Waterways Advisory Committee was directed by City Council Resolution to study 4 areas and conduct at least one public forum for residents to ask questions and present opinions. I submit that this has NOT been accomplished by the B&WAC, and therefor, the committee has not completed their tasking.

VA Law “Virginia Freedom of Information Act” 2.2-3700 A states in part…”Unless a public body or its officers or employees specifically elect to exercise an exemption provided by this chapter or any other statute, every meeting shall be open to the public and all public records shall be available for inspection and copying upon request. All public records and meetings shall be presumed open, unless an exemption is properly invoked.

Any exemption from public access to records or meetings shall be narrowly construed and no record shall be withheld….

This chapter shall not be construed to discourage the free discussion by government officials or employees of public matters with the citizens of the Commonwealth.

I submit that as citizens who were present at scheduled B&WAC meetings were not provided either free discussions or with documentation that presents committee members received; concerned residents were not permitted to speak in most cases, and when they did speak, their comments and questions were ignored or not sufficiently recorded in the minutes, that the B&WAC chairman operated committee business beyond the scope and intent of the Commonwealth of Virginia law. As such, I submit that the B&WAC Recommendations Report as currently submitted is incomplete, unfairly biased, inaccurate and not ready for City Council review at this time.

I believe the City Council Resolution tasking of the B&WAC members and the timeframe given to accomplish the requisite studies to determine sufficient facts was insufficient. Given mounting public concern and scrutiny, your committee was placed in a very difficult position without sufficient resources to accomplish the required impact studies (Traffic, Safety, Impact on Neighborhoods, Structural Engineering of nearby buildings and homes, and environmental). Without sufficient impact studies, the B&WAC recommendations are limited in factual basis.

I fully support the recommendation of the Committee to remove Maple Street as a mechanical dredge spoils transfer site based upon its physical unsuitability, potential costly and continuing structural damage to nearby homes, negative impact on traffic, negative impact on nearby home valuations, safety concerns for this narrow section of Long Creek, and environmental concerns for the nearby estuary’s ecosystems.

Some specific wording of the Recommendations report concerns me, specifically;

(7,8) …the Neighborhood Dredging SSD Program (NDSSDP) has been based on well conceived funding sources…..

Comment: If private parties are allowed to contract and dispose of their dredge spoils at a city constructed facility, how will the city be reimbursed for the portions that would have been paid for under the SSD contract? The City could cut the spur channel, and for neighborhoods which could not achieve 80% agreement for an SSD or chose not to seek an SSD agreement, how will the city be reimbursed for its publicly financed portion? Will publicly procured barges as part of the SSD operate concurrently with private barges and then seek common access at the transfer site? Therefor, the SSD program and process are suspect financially.

(40-45) When developing the Comprehensive Beach Management Program….resulted in serious concerns for the negative impacts on the resident’s quality of life.

Comment: The comparison between the Comprehensive Beach Management Program and NDP with mechanical transfer of non-beach grade sand and the infrastructure to support its spoils transport is not comparable to the temporary hydraulic transfer of beach grade sand to be placed on public beaches. These NDP spoils (sludge) are mechanically transferred and not beach grade. The NDP is a 16+ year program, not a temporary program occurring once every three or four years for a couple of months.

(60-61) The DMTS can be located and constructed in these areas so as to have a minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

Comment: This statement is without basis. Without adequate safety impact study, traffic impact study, environmental impact or engineering studies to assess potential property damage from nearby heavy dump truck traffic, this statement cannot be made.

(104-112) Adverse impacts. No mention is made of structural damage to houses, foundations, and roads that would occur from heavily loaded dump trucks over a sustained period of years. Vibration damage will occur and its potential impact should be evaluated and considered into the Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)costs of the NDP. Should city general funds pay for road and structural repairs or neighborhoods using the transfer site?

(108) Mention is made of …surface vibrations occurs when digging sand from the holding area.
Comment: Holding areas for the storage and de-watering of dredge spoils (non-beach grade) would not meet EPA or DEQ standards.

(300-302) Council adopts a policy which provides for permitted use of the DMTS sites by the public for dredging by entities or individuals other than the city.

Comment: What will be the City’s cost recovery mechanism for private use of a public transfer site? How will damages occurred by privately contracted dump trucks hauling private spoils be corrected? Would private parties be permitted to use DMTS beyond the SSD 16 year timeframe? The private sector use of the public transfer site beyond SSD cost recovery or mitigation expenses should be strictly limited by City Council if permitted at all.

(394-396) …recommends that use of Long Creek and Crab Creek DMTS be restricted from operations for anytime greater than 60 consecutive workable days during any three year cycle.

Comment: This statement is worthless as it would permit continuous operations for 59 workable days, a cessation of one workable day, and then recommencing another 59 workable day cycle. Transfer sites should be limited to specific total days for the year based on SSD requirements. If no extra days were available for private dredging transfers, perhaps those neighborhoods should have joined an SSD and contributed to cost recovery to the General fund.

Much to consider in a few days.

Sincerely,
David M. Williams
President, Shore Drive Community Coalition

“Each neighborhood dredging project requires City Council approval, and the Beach needs to find multiple sites to unload the dredge spoils from the barges.”

Read entire article at Pilotonline.com.

This is about:

[A] city proposal to put a permanent dredge transfer station on Maple Street next to the Marina Shores marina.

And:

The commission, which will present its final report in the coming months, suggested that the city use the site for only 90 working days a year, avoid bringing in barges during the summer, and haul 30 truckloads a day of dredge spoils out of the site.

“There are methods of mitigation and opportunities for controls that will eliminate or significantly reduce, many of the issues of concern,” the draft report states.

The city launched its neighborhood dredging program last year to help residents deepen their channels if they agree to a tax rate increase.

Guidelines for tonight’s public meeting re:Dredge Transfer Stations

From an email:

We have received a number of calls about this evening’s public meeting and the guidelines for those who wish to speak.

1) Anyone wishing to speak must sign up before the meeting starts

2) Each speaker will be limited to 3 minutes.

3) If a group is in attendance and has chosen someone to speak for them, that speaker will be allowed up to 10 minutes to speak on behalf of the group.

4) Any questions to the commission from the public can be submitted in advance on cards that will be provided at the meeting. Those who wish to submit a question can get a card from Rebecca Lear and submit the card to the moderator.

5) Because the commission wants to hear from as many speakers as possible, speaking time will be only for direct comments. Any questions will be addressed through the cards that are submitted to the moderator.

6) Public comments will be taken (from those who sign up) until 9:00 when the meeting will adjourn.

The Commission will answer questions and take comments on the four following topics only:

· The feasibility of alternative dredging methods, such as hydraulic rather than mechanical dredging;

· The potential for beneficial re-use of spoils;

· An analysis of the impact on affected communities (both those receiving dredging and those in the vicinity of the existing and proposed transfer stations) with a focus on identifying sites that are sufficient to support the needs of the project but have the least potential for adverse impact for the community; and

· A proposed framework with parameters for operation of the spoils sites, including potential use of the site by the public for dredging by entities or individuals other than the City.

If you wish to sign up in advance to speak, you may contact Rebecca Lear at 385-1948, or e-mail her at: rlear@vbgov.com

The meeting will be held 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Great Neck Recreation Center, 2521 Shorehaven Drive.

Thank you.

Drew Lankford
Media and Communications
Department of Public Works
City of Virginia Beach
dlankfor@vbgov.com
(O) 757.385.8062
(C) 757.409.4353

Note: Received this email at 1129a Oct 13 2011.

Beaches and Waterways Commission to Hold Public Meeting

News release at VBGov.com:

The Beaches and Waterways Advisory Commission will hold a public meeting Thursday, October 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Great Neck Recreation Center, 2521 Shorehaven Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Commission will answer questions and take comments on the four following topics only:

    The feasibility of alternative dredging methods, such as hydraulic rather than mechanical dredging;
    The potential for beneficial re-use of spoils;
    An analysis of the impact on affected communities (both those receiving dredging and those in the vicinity of the existing and proposed transfer stations) with a focus on identifying sites that are sufficient to support the needs of the project but have the least potential for adverse impact for the community; and
    A proposed framework with parameters for operation of the spoils sites, including potential use of the site by the public for dredging by entities or individuals other than the City.

Public comments will be limited to three minutes per speaker, ten minutes if you are representing a group.

Citizens wishing to comment may sign up at the meeting or by contacting Rebecca Lear @ (757) 385-1948, or rlear@vbgov.com.

Public Hearing For City’s Dredging Program

Here is the content of an email that I sent to Councilman Wood concerning the dredging program and this public meeting. I hope you can attend this meeting. It is THAT important.
David W.

Councilman Wood,
As you know, the Neighborhood Dredging Program is a very important, make that vital issue to the residents in your district. There is significant opposition to the city’s Neighborhood Dredging Program (NDP) judging from petitions signed, attendance at the BZA hearing, and increased attendance at civic association meetings where this project is discussed. This opposition is continuing to grow as more residents become informed about plan deficiencies, concerns for safety, impact on traffic flow, impact on neighborhoods, SSD financial viability, overall project scope, and its intended operations particularly at Maple Street and Crab Creek. Probably, some time back, the city’s NDP initially looked reasonable and do-able in its early design stage, but when more of the program came to light, it became obvious that there were some neighborhoods that would be significantly impacted with no or little gain to them. Despite attempts by many of us to address these issues at the Beaches and Waterways Advisory Committee meetings, we have either been procedurally gaged, or severely time constrained. While some may think that our opposition to the city’s inadequate Neighborhood Dredging Program will subside, it will not unless significant changes are made. I hope you will find the time to address these issues and answer questions at the Beaches and Waterways public meeting 13 OCT at Great Neck Rec Center, 7 PM.

Warm regards,
David Williams
Pres. SDCC