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Virginia CZM Program: 2017 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Rural Chesapeake Bay/Seaside of Virginia Working Waterfront Language and Policies

Project Description:

This project proposed to expand and complement the current Working Waterfront 309 strategy through projects that help develop and implement the tools and policies needed to ensure sustainability of working waterfronts and related industries. It is intended to carry the knowledge and progress gained under previous grants from the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCZMP). The Rural Chesapeake Bay-Seaside Working Waterfront Coalition, made up of the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC), Northern Neck Planning District Commission (NNPDC), Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC), Middle Peninsula Public Access Authority (MPPAA), Northern Neck Public Access Authority (NNPAA), and Marine Advisory Services at VIMS, will be included in the project outreach. Participating PDCs include the A-NPDC, HRPDC, MPPDC, and NNPDC. This regional approach will take efforts to assist the region in obtaining necessary business development, especially entrepreneurship for the coastal region; provide special assistance to distressed and underdeveloped counties within the coastal region; and fund demonstration projects, and conduct research, evaluations, and assessments of the coastal region's assets and needs.

Research over the last decade, much of which was made possible by VCZMP, has pointed to the need to preserve and enhance working waterfronts in order to preserve the economic diversity and vitality and the unique culture of our coastal communities. Many strategies to address market forces, changing demographics, and increasing tax burdens on waterfront properties have been developed over the years. This year we will work with stakeholders, localities, representatives, and the General Assembly to both refine these at the state and local level and take the next steps in designing appropriate zoning language and proposing the appropriate legislation.

During this project year, model local zoning language and coastal living policies will be prepared and presented to localities (i.e. Board of Supervisors and Town Councils) for consideration. While much of the work will take place locally during this project year, there will also be efforts made to introduce legislation to the General Assembly, work with representatives to express the need for legislative change and impacts to coastal Virginia. Focus will be made in seeking General Assembly adoption of the state-wide Virginia Working Waterfront Master Plan and relevant legislation that will ease the burden on working waterfronts, allowing them to prosper.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Shannon Alexander, 757.787.2936 ext. 115;

Project Status:

10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018; Project Completed

Final Product:

Rural Chesapeake Bay and Seaside of Virginia Working Waterfront Language and Policies (PDF)  

Project Summary:

This project continued efforts to ensure sustainability of working waterfronts and related industries. The Working Waterfront Steering Committee met January 9th, January 31st, June 21st, and October 30th during the implementation period, and additionally had a call to discuss the 2018 fiscal year project on March 19th. Legislative Summaries were presented during all of the four of the Steering Committee meetings.

Participating PDCs worked with one another and their respective representatives in the House of Delegates and the Senate towards successfully moving forward with legislation to benefit Working Waterfronts.  A four-page Working Waterfront Management Guidance Document for planners, administrators, and elected officials was developed and used in communicating with local planners and zoning administrators. This document can be continually updated to reflect new legislation, regulations, and tools, and can be enhanced to be most appropriate for specific regions and/or jurisdictions as needed. Each region compiled an inventory of Working Waterfront language in their respective jurisdiction’s comprehensive plans. This was used to target localities with whom to focus communications. The A-NPDC was able to submit language to be incorporated in an early 2019 amendment to the Accomack County Comprehensive Plan, so that zoning changes may be an option moving forward. The MPPDC was able to share and discuss effective working waterfront (WWF) management tools with many local planners and administrators, using the Guidance as a tool, during their September Local Planner Meeting. The Northern Neck shared the Guidance with all four county administrators. Extensive legal counsel was sought to review existing legislations and how they may be used by localities, which helped in creating the Guidance Document.

A Coastal Living in Virginia Rack Card for the general public, targeting new or potential residents, was developed and distributed appropriately in each of the three rural coastal regions. In addition to raising general awareness about Working Waterfronts and the associated industries, this outreach item is intended to reduce conflicts and complaints and improve appreciation, understanding, and relationships in the community.

The final project report was submitted to VCZMP and can be found at on the A-NPDC WWF webpage.

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:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to











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

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