Board meeting of August 18, 2010

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Summary

  • The Chesapeake Shores HOA board met with Scott Hardaway of VIMS to discuss alternative beach preservation plans.
  • Bavon Beach is proceeding with a plan to build breakwaters along the southern edge of the beach, breakwaters that will extend through the southernmost three houses and one vacant lot of Chesapeake Shores.
  • Scott Hardaway believes that the Bavon Beach plan will cause no harm to the northern beach with the exception of the possibility of local impact to the houses immediately to the north of the Bavon breakwaters.
  • There are several alternative approaches that can be taken on the Chesapeake Shores side. Details of these are below.
  • We do not yet know what costs to homeowners for the plan will be. There's a possibility there will be no cost, but that is not certain.

Details

The board met with Scott Hardaway of VIMS on August 18, 2010, to discuss alternatives for the beach preservation.

Present:

  • Peyton Carr
  • Jack Caldwell
  • Joe Dzikiewicz
  • Sonny Fauver
  • Dave Norris
  • Hal Rose
  • Special guest star Scott Hardaway

The Bavon Beach HOA has received a proposal from VHB to create the engineering plan and give subsequent engineering support to build the breakwaters. The proposal can be found here. The total proposed cost is $75,500. Scott Hardaway thinks this is a good deal.

The Bavon Beach side is going forward with the plan. Their current plan will cover the southernmost three houses and one vacant lot of Chesapeake Shores as well. This will create several breakwaters along the southern portion of the beach.

It is an open question as to whether we want breakwaters on the Chesapeake Shores side. There are several possibilities that amount to various combinations of the following:

  • Build breakwaters all along the Chesapeake Shores beach.
  • Build a spur extending out from Chuck Neff's rocks on the northern edge of the beach.
  • Get additional sand dumped on the beach, most likely from Army Corps of Engineers dredging operations.

All possible plans are combinations of the above. For example, we might build a spur and dump sand but not build additional breakwaters. While there are various conceptual plans floating around out there, we won't know where the breakwaters will be until the engineering plan is developed.

The following are some notes on how the breakwaters work:

  • Between two structures (breakwaters or spurs) a system is formed that captures sand and keeps the beach from eroding.
  • Within any such system, sand and beach can migrate from one end of the system to the other.
  • Therefore, the smaller the system, the less variation there is within that system.
  • The presence of beach protects the shore from storms. The breakwaters protect the beach from washing away in a storm.
  • The higher the breakwater, the bigger the storm that it protects against. However, breakwaters help even if they are overtopped by storm surges.

Scott believes that any combination of the above would be an improvement, though the more, the better. Further, he feels that if we do nothing, the Bavon Beach plan will not do any harm to Chesapeake Shores beach except for the possibility of some local impact to the houses to the immediate north of their breakwaters.

All of this is a form of risk management. The more we do, the more risks we mitigate. But the exact impact depends on how big the storms are and the direction from which they hit. For example, hurricanes Isabel and Ernesto both had winds from the southeast. They drove sand from the southern portions of the beach to the north. By contrast, the storm in November, 2009, had winds from the northeast which drove sand towards the south end of the beach.

Some other general notes:

  • The spur off the northern end of the beach is important as it keeps sand from escaping from the system.
  • The alternative to breakwaters is to dump additional sand on the beach. Groins are not a valid alternative.
  • We can expect the structures to rise 5-6 feet above mean low water level.
  • The pattern of erosion varies greatly over time. Ten years ago the northern beach was threatened and the southern end was in good shape. Now the opposite is the case.
  • There are several breakwaters at the beach in Yorktown. These would be good examples for people to go visit if they want an idea of what they look like.
  • Chesapeake Shores and Bavon Beach will acquire one set of permits to cover the entire beach. This does not mean that we have to build at the same time as they build, or indeed that we ever have to build.
  • Dumping additional dredged sand would be extremely beneficial whatever else is done.
  • Dredged sand might not be as fine as what now covers the beach, though sand from the York River dredging should be.
  • Scott was skeptical about whether we would get as much sand as originally reported here thought from the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • The million-cubic-yard figure mentioned in the notes from last meeting refer to the total amount of sand from the York River dredging operations, not necessarily the amount that we would get.
  • Maintenance to breakwaters is minimal. Nothing needs to be done to the rocks themselves, but it might be necessary to add additional sand to the system over time.
  • Any plan would require having large trucks full of sand and rock to drive along our roads. We might need to do some road restoration once that happens.
  • The Isabel storm surge was six feet at our beach, eight feet at Severn. Had Isabel hit at a time of higher tides, it could have been a lot worse.
  • Whatever happens, VIMS will continue to monitor the beach over time.
  • Costs to homeowners for the plan are not yet known. It is possible that there would be no costs, but that is only speculation.
  • The Bavon Beach HOA pays $400 a year for liability insurance.