It's on us. Share your news here.

Virginia Beach Heads to Court Over Chic’s Beach Replenishment Plans

Posted on May 24, 2016

By Mechelle Hankerson, The Virginian-Pilot

The city will head to court so it can complete future beach replenishment projects at Chic’s Beach.

On May 24, the Circuit Court will decide if Chesapeake Beach, or Chic’s Beach, is public, and confirm the city has an easement that allows crews to add sand to the shoreline.

“We believe that’s already been the case,” city attorney Chris Boynton said. “We just need to document it for future beach replenishment projects.”

According to the court filing, the city is looking at the area roughly bounded by Indian Hill Road and the Joint Expeditionary Base.

The filing names more than 50 property owners near the Chic’s Beach shore, but only a handful are actively contesting the city’s assertion. Many residents declined to sign paperwork to opt out of the lawsuit and accepted default status, meaning they would accept whatever the court’s decision is, Boynton said.

“The reality is that Chesapeake Beach is sand-starved and is being overtaken by the waters of the Chesapeake Beach,” attorney John Wilson wrote in a 2012 letter responding to the city’s filing on behalf of two property owners. “At the same time, the claimants do not what to simply give their property away to the city.”

City employees have been providing service and maintenance to the beach for more than 30 years. City rules apply to the beach, and there have been signs referring to the beach as public for decades, the city’s filing stated.

Residents disputing the city’s claim say their property was never intended to be public, and if the city needs an easement, they should have to pay property owners. They cite old planning documents from when the neighborhood was built in the 1800s.

“The city of Virginia Beach has scant regard for the tax-paying citizen,” said Bruce Mills, one of the residents planning to challenge the city in court.

Most Chic’s Beach residents want the city to move forward with replenishment projects, said civic league president TJ Morgan.

“I certainly respect the property owners’ rights,” Morgan said. “I also think there won’t be any beach left if we don’t start doing something.”

Chic’s Beach has never been replenished, said city coastal manager Phill Roehrs. It’s not the fastest-eroding beach in the city; but without regular replenishment, structures that face the beach don’t have any protection against a shrinking coastline, Roehrs said.

Even if the court case is quickly decided in the city’s favor, it would take another six to eight months before replenishment can happen. The city doesn’t have money set aside for a Chic’s Beach replenishment project.

A similar case for Cape Henry beach wrapped up in 2009. Two property owners appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed the city’s right to an easement on the beach.

That replenishment project began in 2009.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe