Virginia CZM Program: 2015 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task Number:CZM logo

53

Grantee:

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Middle Peninsula Public Access Master Plan

Project Description:

As traditional water access points have been built upon, fenced off, posted “No Trespass”, or purchased by new owners unwilling to continue old patterns of public access uses, in 2000, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) directed staff to develop a regional strategy to manage and preserve public access and to seek enabling legislation to form a special purpose political subdivision for the sole purpose of protecting the public’s right to access public waterways. Consequently enabling legislation was created, introduced, and passed for the development of the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (MPCBPAA). 

Since the creation of the MPCBPAA in the 2003, Middle Peninsula localities have been diligently working to assess and improve public access to adjacent water bodies throughout the region. While annual successes are captured within local newsletters, newspapers, and sporadically in Virginia Coastal Zone Management final reports, there is need for a more comprehensive regional public access master plan cataloging of MPCBPAA’s efforts, local & regional successes, and land use tools and policies that have enhanced public access to the water. Additionally there is need to develop a roadmap for public access in the Middle Peninsula for the future. Therefore with the development of a Middle Peninsula Public Access Master Plan, Middle Peninsula localities and the general public will gain understanding of local and regional public access accomplishments and current policies, the tools and policies that have been implemented, as well as clear direction of the future of public access in the region. 

The Middle Peninsula Public Access Master Plan will be created in a digital book format and published through ISSUU (or similar technology), a digital publishing company. Localities as well as the general public will be able to view the Public Access Master Plan as an online book.

Federal Funding:

$40,000

Project Contact:

Jackie Rickards; 215.264.6451; jrickards@mppdc.com

Project Status:

10/1/15 - 9/30/16; Project Completed

Final Product:

Middle Peninsula Public Access Master Plan (PDF)

Project Summary:

Since the creation of the MPCBPAA in 2003, Middle Peninsula localities have been diligently working to assess and improve public access to adjacent water bodies throughout the region. While annual successes are captured within local newsletters, newspapers, and sporadically in Virginia Coastal Zone Management final reports, there became a need for a more comprehensive catalog of MPCBPAA’s efforts, local & regional successes, and land use tools and policies that have enhanced public access to the water. Therefore, the idea of a regional public access master plan was created. Through this project, MPPDC staff worked with localities and gathered previous project information to develop a Middle Peninsula Public Access Master Plan that generates a roadmap for public access in the Middle Peninsula for the future. The Master Plan provides an overview of public access specific projects, an inventory of public access policies within each locality, and inventory of public access locations as well as a list of recommendations to improve public access in the region. Recommendations encourage the MPCBPAA to:
1. Work to develop new business models to leverage public access lands;
2. Focus on areas of the region that lack public access;
3. Seek funding for public access improvements;
4. Collaborate with Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic to understand the rights of adjoining land owners and public property owner rights at public access locations as well as understanding law enforcement tools for management conflict;
5. Establish responsibilities of the public when using public sites; and
6. Establish responsibilities of the owners of public access sites.
Also, recommendations encourage member localities to financially support MPCBPAA efforts and provide MPCBPAA guidance regarding priority public access needs.
             
MPPDC staff also worked with Middlesex County to assess access sites throughout their jurisdiction. In part, MPPDC staff created a survey and analyzed results, and also hired two Virginia Commonwealth University students to conduct site specific assessments. The completed assessments were sent to Middlesex County staff and prompted the scheduling of 7 neighborhood meetings that will focus on site specifics and will allow adjoining property owners to relay concerns and suggestions regarding each site. Information will be gathered and utilized to enhance the site assessments.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

 

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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