Dominion & Atlantic Coast Pipeline want to override Buckingham County’s important FEMA Floodplain Management Ordinance protections. ACP needs approvals from Buckingham County Board of Supervisors to cross 7 floodplains in Buckingham County.

The proposal is being presented to the BoS by Rebecca Cobb, Zoning Administrator/Planner on Monday, February 12, 6 pm at the monthly BoS meeting. Sign up to comment by 5:50 pm.

This is not a public hearing. The proposal is being presented to the BoS by Rebecca Cobb, Zoning Administrator/Planner. In her letter to the BoS she says: that she has not reviewed flood plain ordinances before and she has minimal flood plain experience. She says she can give an opinion on the request, but given the magnitude of the request, the Board may want to seek a professional review. We want to emphasize her request.

She goes on to ask,” What is the desire of the Board, to set a public hearing for a flood plain variance or first seek professional review.” Please see letter here.

See letter to BoS here:  FPO letter BoS pckt 2-12 2018
Buckingham Flood Plain Ordinance can be seen here:   FPO Bham.

Why are flood plains important to protect? From Friends of  Nelson:

Where It Rains, It Floods

Two recent posts by for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ flood-prepared communities initiative underscore the need for pro-active planning to prevent or mitigate future flood disruption and damage and the need for costly repairs. The authors note that:
  • flooding is our nation’s most common natural disaster: the majority of natural disasters over the last 10 years involved flooding, and
  • major flooding in landlocked area (like Nelson County) has been more common than along the coasts.
“In too many instances, structures and infrastructure are built without serious thought given to risk and potential damage from future storms. This leads to a costly cycle of damage and repair following repeat flooding. This cycle can be broken without jeopardizing or slowing down recovery. Multiple states and thousands of localities have already strengthened their building requirements in vulnerable areas.”
Read Where It Rains, It Floods (January 25, 2018)
Read Modern, Flood-Ready Approach Needed for Building and Rebuilding (January 30, 2018)
Nelson County has a strong flood plain ordinance, strengthened in September, 2017. FoN is working hard to be sure the Board of Zoning Appeals upholds that ordinance, refusing Dominion’s request to route the ACP through designated flood plains.

Floodplains are unsung heroes in our communities. They are important systems that we need to help our landscapes deal with water, organic matter, filtration, and erosion control.

“When we develop in floodplains we reduce the floodplain’s storage capacity, causing the next flood of equal intensity to crest even higher than the last.”

For further information on the purposes and values of floodplains, see these information sheets from Nature Conservancy and Pennsylvania.

Nelson County BZA Dismisses 7, Defers 4 Floodplain Variance Requests 

At its evening meeting on February 5, 2018, the Nelson County Board of Zoning Appeals dismissed seven of Dominion’s eleven requests for variance to Nelson’s floodplain ordinance for lack of standing, and granted deferrals for a hearing on the remaining four. “Lack of standing” means that Dominion requested variances on properties it does not own or for which it has no legal right or easements; Virginia law does not permit such requests.
Dominion had requested deferment of the public hearing on all 11 properties through which they propose to route the ACP. The BZA voted unanimously for both the seven dismissals and the four deferments.
Also at the February 5 meeting, Draper Aden, the engineering firm hired several weeks ago by the BZA to advise them on floodplain matters, admitted it had a conflict of interest after working with Dominion in the past. At Draper Aden’s suggestion, the BZA retained Maryland-based engineering, consultation, and construction firm KCI Technologies for further engineering and technical review of the variance applications.
There will be no public hearing in Nelson County on February 12, 2018, and at this time no future hearing has been scheduled. 
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