Over a period of 18 months the city completed Phase I of Resilient Hampton. This was a high-level consideration of the entire city. During this first phase, the project team completed several tasks:
- conducted a citywide assessment of existing conditions, concerns and potential solutions;
- located and analyzed the best available data related to sea level rise and climate change;
- based on analysis of community workshops and outreach established guiding principles, values, and goals for a resilient Hampton;
- reviewed the legal framework around implementation of resilience projects and policies;
- drafted a preliminary evaluation tool for assisting leaders in making decisions about investments based on resiliency; and
- created a set of next steps — listed below — including the need to select a geographic area for the first resiliency pilot project (which will take up the bulk of Phase II).
- Continue to work with Langley Air Force Base to develop a resiliency component to the existing Joint Land Use Study.
- Identify one or two geographic focus areas, which will be the subject of the Phase II work.
The result of each of these tasks is detailed in the attached report that summarizes the findings of Phase I.
Phase II work will take a more detailed look at the identified geographic focus areas to apply what we have learned in Phase I. The goal for these areas will be development of a holistic set of strategies that can be implemented:
- Amend the Hampton Community Plan to reflect the work of this document and incorporate the recommendations.
- Undertake a comprehensive effort to review and amend city codes and ordinances to support the goals and objectives adopted into the Hampton Community Plan from this document.
- Refine the evaluation tool as necessary and institutionalize its use as an integral part of decision making for public projects.
- Pursue changes to legal frameworks at the state level, if necessary.
- Set "resiliency targets" for the community and establish a process to track and measure our progress.
- Continue to work with our partners to learn, share, innovate and advocate for regional progress on sea level rise and resiliency issues.
- Work with our partners to develop a community education program which raises awareness with regards to the value of being a resilient community. Additionally, the education program will identify strategies and action items applicable to businesses, individual homeowners, institutions, and other stakeholders.
- Establish and support a Hampton Resilience Partnership to create a formal structure to bring community, business, academic, and regional partners together on a formal basis to assist in moving our resiliency goals forward.
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
There are many impacts that come from of water: tidal flooding, storm surge flooding, severe weather (hurricanes and nor'easters), shoreline erosion, and sea level rise being top among them. However, different areas of the city are impacted by different types of events: one neighborhood may experience frequent tidal flooding, while other neighborhoods may be most hard hit when a nor'easter blows through. There are also a number of stakeholders who are impacted or working on resilience elsewhere in the region that provided information on their work and needs in a meeting. This group included local federal facilities and agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, Business Improvement Districts, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, neighboring localities, and more.
To fully understand the different needs and concerns of these neighborhoods, the city held a series of four public meetings in April. These meetings were broken up by neighborhood and water body boundaries. Attendees were asked to discuss flooding events they have personally experienced and possible solutions at a variety of scales from things an individual can do on their own property to large regional responses funded at local, state or federal government levels. The purpose of these meetings was for the city and consultants to hear directly from citizens who are affected by recurrent flooding and sea level rise. With the help of large maps depicting buildings, flood zones, and potential sea level rise, residents were asked to:
- Identify the location, duration, and severity of events (floods, storms, etc.) in their neighborhood.
- Prioritize the most important issues to tackle first.
- Brainstorm possible solutions to these issues facing.
- April 4 – Fox Hill, Harris Creek, and Grandview neighborhoods
- April 6 – Buckroe, Fort Monroe, and Bayside neighborhoods
- April 18 – Newmarket Creek and Back River neighborhoods
- April 20 – Harbor and Hampton River neighborhoods