Virginia Beach asks public to weigh in on combating sea-level rise

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As it works to combat the growing effects of sea-level rise, the city of Virginia Beach is asking the public to weigh in.

In the first of seven public meetings, Monday night, Virginia Beach joined with researchers from the Old Dominion University Resilience Collaborative inside Kempsville High School.

The two groups turned the cafeteria into meeting room with several stations asking residents a number of questions.

"What are the things about the community that they value and (we) have them map those on some maps and what are the challenges? We want them to tell us where the travel disruptions may be and, also, we want to hear about how they would like to see the city adapt in the future," said Michelle Covi with ODU.

Deputy City Manager Tom Leahy says sea-level rise and flooding are the biggest issue the Virginia Beach has faced in 20 years. The city is currently in the middle of a study that will hopefully help protect against rising waters.

"In the last 50 years, sea water has come up a foot. It's going to rise at least another foot and a half in the next 50 years," said Leahy. "Everybody in Virginia Beach needs to be interested in this."

Some of the options to keep water from entering streets and neighborhoods include levees, stormsurge barriers and natural solutions like wetlands.

Following the conclusion of each meeting through January, the ODU team says it'll compile the results and they will be included in study results to determine which direction Virginia Beach will head in addressing sea-level rise and flooding.

The schedule for the seven meetings is as follows (all times are 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.):

Monday, December 4th                     Elizabeth River Watershed                            Kempsville HS

Wednesday, December 6th             Eastern Lynnhaven                                              Cox HS

Monday, December 11th                  Oceanfront                                                               Cooke Elementary

Wednesday, January 17th                Stumpy Lake/North Landing River           Landstown HS

Monday, January 22nd                       Back Bay                                                                    Kellam HS

Thursday, January 25th                          Western Lynnhaven                                                   Princess Anne HS

Monday, January 29th                             Little Creek                                                             Bayside HS