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Coastal Resources Management

Virginia's Coastal Zone MapThe Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program, established in 1986, is a network of state laws and policies through which the Commonwealth of Virginia manages sand dunes, beaches, wetlands, subaqueous lands, fisheries, point source air pollution, point source water solution, nonpoint source water pollution, shoreline sanitation, and coastal land. Areas of particular concern include coastal wildlife habitats, public access, waterfront redevelopment, and underwater historic sites. The Virginia CZM Program, part of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Coastal Zone Management Act. This funding is distributed to agencies and localities to support the Commonwealth’s ten CZM Program Goals and to develop and implement coordinated coastal policies. The Coastal Zone is defined by the Code of Virginia and includes 29 counties, 17 cities, and 42 incorporate towns that border the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and its major tributaries. In addition to Hampton Roads, seven other Planning Districts are entirely or partially located within the Coastal Zone; these include the Accomack-Northampton, Crater, George Washington, Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, Northern Virginia, and Richmond Regional Planning Districts.

The HRPDC receives CZM funds in two major categories: technical assistance grants and focal area grants. Technical assistance grants are provided annually to the Coastal Zone PDCs to support regional and local coordination and coastal resources management. Focal area grants are made available on an irregular basis for projects related to major strategy areas. Examples of past focal areas include Blue/Green Infrastructure Mapping and Planning and Adapting to Climate Change.

Focal Area Grant: Climate Change Adaptation

Along with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the HRPDC has been studying the impacts of climate change on its localities. This project includes research and data assessments, mapping the potential impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on the region, developing recommendations for adapting to climate change impacts. This is a three-year project, beginning in October 2008 and concluding in December 2011.
(link to climate change reports)

Coastal Zone Locality Technical Assistance

The HRPDC provides ongoing environmental technical assistance to the region’s sixteen local governments through its Coastal Resources Management Program. This program encompasses environmental impact review (EIR), A-95 Clearinghouse review of projects, participation in state and federal programs, coordination of regional environmental programs addressing environmental issues, including the Chesapeake Bay, wetlands, and the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuaries in North Carolina, public information and education, and technical assistance to the localities. The HRPDC regional planning staff prepares reports, comment letters, newsletters, and associated materials to assist local governments, support the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, and work with the other Planning District Commissions in the Coastal Zone.

The Hampton Roads Technical Assistance Program enables the region's localities to continue to address, in a comprehensive and integrated fashion, all aspects of coastal resources management – the Chesapeake Bay Program, implementation of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program with North Carolina, CBPA implementation, wetlands protection, shoreline management, public access, and environmental data base development and analysis through the HRPDC Geographic Information System (GIS). 

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas (CBPA)

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations were first adopted in 1990 in an effort to protect and improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay by minimizing the effects of human activity on the Bay and its tributaries. The regulations implement the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which was adopted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 and directed localities in Tidewater Virginia to establish Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas. Amended in December 2001, the regulations establish criteria for use by local governments in granting, denying or modifying requests to rezone, subdivide, or to use and develop land in designated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas. The regulations also identify the requirements for changes that local governments had to incorporate into their comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances and subdivision ordinances and employ to ensure that the use and development of land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas was appropriate.

The CBPA Designation and Management Regulations apply to fourteen cities and counties in Hampton Roads as well as to two towns that fall within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Each of these localities has adopted CBPA programs and policies and each has developed unique forms and procedures to implement those policies. Each is listed here as a resource for CBPA program managers and others who may need additional information about procedures or applications related to development in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas. Procedure manuals and fee schedules are also included where available.

Local CBPA Survey (Summer 2006) (PDF)

Jurisdiction Forms (all forms are PDF unless noted)




Isle of Wight County

James City County

Newport News







Virginia Beach





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