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May Newsletter

View this newsletter online at http://www.greeningchesapeake.com/

Green Drinks Chesapeake

The next Green Drinks Chesapeake will be Tuesday, May 28, 2024 from 6 pm to 8 pm at YNot Italian in Greenbrier, 1036 Volvo Parkway, Suite 7 Chesapeake, VA, 23320.  Among other topics we'll talk about the City's proposed CBPA changes and an update on efforts to preserve trees.

What is Green Drinks?  Green Drinks is mostly for people working on environmental issues, but anyone can come -- people from environment groups, business, government, academia, and as individuals. There is no 'us and them'. Green Drinks is a chance to mingle, share insights, inspire and delight each other. Come out and order some food or a drink (each participant pays for their own drinks and food; if drinking, please do so responsibly!) and join the conversation. Please do share the invite with others who may be interested. 

Proposed changes to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area in Chesapeake

The Planning Department proposed removing Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) protection from over 1000 acres of land in Chesapeake.  The CBPA is one of our most effective tools for protecting the water quality of the many waterways that cross our City and a very important tool for protecting our vanishing tree canopy.  The Friends of Indian River and others objected to this move at the City Council meeting on April 23 because there was insufficient information to properly review this proposal and at least one parcel - at the head of the tide on the Indian River clearly met the CBPA criteria for inclusion.  The Planning Department ultimately asked the City Council to Continue (defer) action on the proposal for 60-days, until late June, in order to do more outreach with the community.  Planning also responded that parcel at the head of tide on the Indian River was marked for removal from the CBPA in error.  

This change still needs more review to make sure other areas are being properly protected, including a large tract of forested wetlands in the Fernwood Farms/Riverwalk area.  The Planning Department has provided more detailed maps of the proposed changes.  We've posted these, along with wetlands maps for comparison at http://www.greeningchesapeake.com/2024/04/cbpa-proposed-change-details.html.  We've also shared the information with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Elizabeth River Project, and Wetlands Watch to get more input.  At this writing, analysis of the changes is underway.

Trees Preservation

There were several bills at the General Assembly this year related to tree preservation.  Two of these - HB529 and HB1100 - would have raised the caps on the maximum amount of trees that a locality may ask a developer to preserve or restore when a site is developed.  Current law limits how much tree canopy a locality, like Chesapeake, can ask a developer to protect or restore to no more than 10% to 20% of the developed site's area, depending on the site density (housing units/acre).  The changes in the bills would have raised this cap to up to 30% tree canopy, depending on the site density.   The bills passed the House and Senate but were ultimately vetoed by the Governor.  The big conversation among the advocates of these bills is how to expand the coalition supporting these bills and engage different groups including civic organizations, faith-based organizations, businesses, and even developer and real estate community.   A key factor will be showing how protecting more trees does not prevent making for affordable housing available.  

Locally, the City budget again does not include funding for the creation of an Urban Forestry Master Plan.  An objective of the City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted 10 years ago, is for Chesapeake to develop an Urban Forest Master Plan, but no such plan has yet been adopted.  Parks, Recreation and Tourism asked for funding, but it was not included in the final City Manager proposal. 

Something for us to talk about at Green Drinks is how we build a local coalition to support trees, advocate for the City to prioritize trees in its planning and budget processes, and get the City to support tree canopy legislation in its wish list for next year's General Assembly.

AdaptVA

Discovered a great tool for mapping natural resources. The AdaptVA Viewer provides a tool for mapping short and long-term sea level rise, flooding, natural resources, infrastructure and more.  It designed to support decision making and illustrate adaption scenarios through maps and pictures by integrating the best available science with legal guidance and planning strategies for climate change adaptations.  Launched by Virginia Institute of Marine Science William and Mary, and Wetlands Watch in 2017, it is maintained by the VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM).  You can find it at https://www.adaptva.org/or go straight to the mapper at https://cmap22.vims.edu/AdaptVA/AdaptVA_viewer.html

Comp Plan

The Planning Department is continuing it Comp Planning efforts.  They finished focus group stakeholder meetings and a round of geographic area stakeholder meetings.  The next round of public Community Open Houses has been scheduled:

  • May 29 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Jolliff Middle School
  • June 4 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Great Bridge Town Meeting (Information Table) @ Great Bridge Intermediate School
  • June 10 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Chesapeake Conference Center
  • June 13 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Fire Station #7, 3329 South Battlefield Blvd.
  • June 17 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Chesapeake Lifestyle Center
See https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/3275/Comprehensive-Plan-Update for more info

The Greenbrier Area Plan is having a FINAL Community Open House on May 22, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Greenbrier Middle School.  https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/3100/Greenbrier-Area-Plan

And the Trails and Connectivity Plan is planning its final open house for early June, date and place yet to be announced.  

More Upcoming Events

Action Alerts

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Top Posts

Support Tree Bills in General Assembly

Update 2:  Urge Governor Youngkin to sign HB529 and HB1100 into law to ensure our community is able to conserve and plant more trees that will benefit the health of all Virginians! Contact him today -  https://p2a.co/dT5K6jN   Update: Both of these bills have been passed by the House and Senate and are now heading for the Governor's desk for signature.  Stay tuned for any Action Alerts asking folks to contact the Governor to urge him to sign these bills.  There are several bills in the General Assembly that would give the City of Chesapeake the option to do more to protect trees and restore tree canopy during development.  Current state law limits how much Chesapeake can require of developers during construction.   HB 1100 would enable all counties, cities, and towns in Virginia to adopt tree conservation ordinances to conserve healthy mature trees during construction projects.  HB 529 would increase how much canopy must be replaced when trees are cut down during development.   B

Welcome to Greening Chesapeake

Kicking off this new blog for 2024 to work on the goal to green Chesapeake by increasing natural area - green spaces and blueways - across the City.   Steps include protecting existing tree canopy, encouraging protection of natural areas, and planting trees and native plants across the City on public, institutional, commercial, and residential properties.   Other key tenants to building a greener city include connectivity - enabling people to reach destinations safely by foot, bicycle, and public transit, not just automobiles - and adopting sustainable practices. Stay tuned for information about upcoming events, actions, and information related to Greening Chesapeake. 

Trails and Connectivity Plan Open House

The Chesapeake Planning Department will be hosting a second community meeting to share their progress on the planning effort for the new Trails and Connectivity Plan and receive feedback on our proposed network. Come out and advocate for creating a backbone network of multiuse trails, bikeways, and sidewalks to connect different parts of Chesapeake. This event will be held on Wednesday, January 31st at Grassfield High School from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. Please see the attached flyer or visit our website for more information: CityofChesapeake.net/TCONN