Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
9/24/2018

Subtitle III. Habitat.

Chapter 12. Submerged Lands.

Article 1. Ownership and Uses of Submerged Lands.

§ 28.2-1200. Ungranted beds of bays, rivers, creeks and shores of the sea to remain in common.

All the beds of the bays, rivers, creeks and the shores of the sea within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, not conveyed by special grant or compact according to law, shall remain the property of the Commonwealth and may be used as a common by all the people of the Commonwealth for the purpose of fishing, fowling, hunting, and taking and catching oysters and other shellfish. No grant shall be issued by the Librarian of Virginia to pass any estate or interest of the Commonwealth in any natural oyster bed, rock, or shoal, whether or not it ebbs bare.

Code 1950, § 62-1; 1960, c. 533; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-1; 1992, c. 836; 1995, c. 850; 1998, c. 427.

§ 28.2-1200.1. Conveyance of state-owned bottomlands.

A. In order to fulfill the Commonwealth's responsibility under Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia to conserve and protect public lands for the benefit of the people, the Commonwealth shall not convey fee simple title to state-owned bottomlands covered by waters. However, the Commonwealth may grant a lease, easement, or other limited interest in state-owned bottomlands covered by waters pursuant to § 28.2-1208 or as long as the property is used by a governmental entity for the performance of a governmental activity, as defined in §§ 28.2-1300 and 28.2-1400.

B. 1. The Commonwealth may convey fee simple title to specified parcels of state-owned bottomlands that have been lawfully filled. For the purpose of this section, "lawfully filled" means the deposit of fill was (i) authorized by statute, (ii) pursuant to valid court order, (iii) authorized or permitted by state officials pursuant to statutory authority subsequent to July 1, 1960, or (iv) under apparent color of authority prior to July 1, 1960. In the absence of information to the contrary, it may be presumed that state-owned bottomlands filled prior to July 1, 1960, were filled under apparent color of authority and, it may also be presumed, that all of the fill on the specified parcel was lawfully authorized if a substantial portion of the fill on such parcel was authorized. Properties not qualified under clauses (i) through (iv) of this subdivision shall not be eligible for conveyance under this section.

2. Titles to lands that (i) were once or may have been state-owned bottomlands covered by waters, (ii) were filled prior to July 1, 1960, and (iii) were acquired by private persons in good faith for value after such lands were filled, are hereby declared to be free and clear of any claimed ownership or interest by the Commonwealth and are released to such private persons and their successors and assigns by the Commonwealth to the extent that the areas of these lands were not state-owned bottomlands covered by waters on July 1, 1960.

3. This subsection shall not apply to any state-owned bottomlands filled by a publicly funded initiative and put to a continuing public use, which includes beach nourishment projects and public landings.

C. Except as provided in subsection D, the grantee in a conveyance under subdivision B 1 shall compensate the Commonwealth in an amount commensurate with the property interest being conveyed, which shall be considered equivalent to 25 percent of the assessed value of the specified parcel, exclusive of any buildings or other improvements. The assessed value shall be established as the average of the local real estate tax assessments for the most recent 10 years available for the specified parcel. If no such assessments are available for the specified parcel, then the assessed value shall be calculated as the percentage, by square footage or acreage, that the specified parcel represents of the larger parcel for which such assessments are available.

D. If the Commission determines that unique circumstances exist, the Commission may allow the grantee in a conveyance under subdivision B 1 to compensate the Commonwealth in an amount less than 25 percent of the assessed value of the specified parcel. Any such determination by the Commission shall be justified in writing and shall not be subject to judicial review.

2007, c. 879; 2011, c. 734.

§ 28.2-1201. Ungranted islands which rise from lands which are property of the Commonwealth.

A. Except as otherwise provided in subsections B and C hereof, all ungranted islands which rise by natural or artificial causes from the beds of bays, rivers and creeks that are ungranted under § 28.2-1200 shall remain the property of the Commonwealth and shall be managed by the Commission as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of this title. In case of any conflict between the provisions of this subsection and the common law of accretion, reliction and avulsion, such common law shall control.

B. Any island or land that is owned by the Commonwealth, whether currently in existence or subsequently created, that now or hereafter abuts a barrier island of the Eastern Shore shall remain the property of the Commonwealth and shall be managed by the Commission as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of this title.

C. This section shall not apply to accretions to privately owned lands or islands, whether or not they are used as commons.

1991, c. 378, § 41.1-4.1; 1992, c. 836; 1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1202. Rights of owners to extend to mean low-water mark.

A. Subject to the provisions of § 28.2-1200, the limits or bounds of the tracts of land lying on the bays, rivers, creeks, and shores within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, and the rights and privileges of the owners of such lands, shall extend to the mean low-water mark but no farther, except where a creek or river, or some part thereof, is comprised within the limits of a lawful survey.

B. For purposes of this section, "lawful survey" means the boundaries of any land, including submerged lands, held under a special grant or compact as required by § 28.2-1200, such boundaries having been determined by generally accepted surveying methods and evidenced by a plat or map thereof recorded in the circuit court clerk's office of the county or city in which the land lies.

C. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, where sand or other material is placed upon state-owned beds of the bays, rivers, creeks, or shores of the sea channelward of the mean low-water mark as part of the performance of a properly permitted beach nourishment, storm protection, or dredging project undertaken by a public body, and the public has an established right of use and maintenance upon the adjacent land above the mean low-water mark, whether such public right is established before or after the sand or other material is placed, such placement shall not be deemed a severance or taking of, or otherwise to have impaired, an adjacent landowner's riparian or littoral rights, and the newly created land channelward of the former mean low-water mark shall be deemed natural accretion for purposes of ownership, but such ownership shall be subject to the public's same right of use and maintenance upon the newly created land as previously existed on the adjacent land above the mean low-water mark. This subsection is retroactively effective beginning January 1, 2009.

Code 1950, § 62-2; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-2; 1972, c. 865; 1992, c. 836; 2014, cc. 106, 234.

§ 28.2-1203. Unlawful use of subaqueous beds; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to build, dump, trespass or encroach upon or over, or take or use any materials from the beds of the bays, ocean, rivers, streams, or creeks which are the property of the Commonwealth, unless such act is performed pursuant to a permit issued by the Commission or is necessary for the following:

1. Erection of dams, the construction of which has been authorized by proper authority;

2. Uses of subaqueous beds authorized elsewhere in this title;

3. Construction and maintenance of congressionally approved navigation and flood-control projects undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Coast Guard, or other federal agency authorized by Congress to regulate navigation, navigable waters, or flood control;

4. Construction of piers, docks, marine terminals, and port facilities owned or leased by or to the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions;

5. Except as provided in subsection D of § 28.2-1205, placement of private piers for noncommercial purposes by owners of the riparian lands in the waters opposite those lands, provided that (i) the piers do not extend beyond the navigation line or private pier lines established by the Commission or the United States Army Corps of Engineers, (ii) the piers do not exceed six feet in width and finger piers do not exceed five feet in width, (iii) any L or T head platforms and appurtenant floating docking platforms do not exceed, in the aggregate, 400 square feet, (iv) if prohibited by local ordinance open-sided shelter roofs or gazebo-type structures shall not be placed on platforms as described in clause (iii), but may be placed on such platforms if not prohibited by local ordinance, and (v) the piers are determined not to be a navigational hazard by the Commission. Subject to any applicable local ordinances, such piers may include an attached boat lift and an open-sided roof designed to shelter a single boat slip or boat lift. In cases in which open-sided roofs designed to shelter a single boat, boat slip or boat lift will exceed 700 square feet in coverage or the open-sided shelter roofs or gazebo structures exceed 400 square feet, and in cases in which an adjoining property owner objects to a proposed roof structure, permits shall be required as provided in § 28.2-1204;

6. Agricultural, horticultural or silvicultural irrigation on riparian lands or the watering of animals on riparian lands, provided that (i) no permanent structure is placed on or over the subaqueous bed, (ii) the person withdrawing water complies with requirements administered by the Department of Environmental Quality under Title 62.1, and (iii) the activity is conducted without adverse impacts to instream beneficial uses as defined in § 62.1-10; or

7. Recreational gold mining, provided that (i) a man-portable suction dredge no larger than four inches in diameter is used, (ii) rights of riparian property owners are not affected, (iii) the activity is conducted without adverse impacts to instream beneficial uses as defined in § 62.1-10, (iv) the activity is conducted without adverse impacts to underwater historic properties and related objects as defined in § 10.1-2214, and (v) the activity is not defined as mining in § 45.1-180.

B. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 62-2.1; 1960, c. 600; 1962, c. 637; 1966, c. 641; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-3; 1970, c. 621; 1972, c. 866; 1973, cc. 23, 361; 1974, cc. 92, 385; 1975, c. 431; 1976, c. 579; 1980, c. 253; 1982, c. 102; 1988, c. 868; 1992, c. 836; 1998, c. 605; 2000, c. 167; 2001, c. 234; 2003, c. 973; 2006, c. 507; 2007, c. 25.

§ 28.2-1204. Authority of Commission over submerged lands.

The Commission is authorized to:

1. Issue permits for all reasonable uses of state-owned bottomlands not authorized under subsection A of § 28.2-1203, including but not limited to, dredging, the taking and use of material, and the placement of wharves, bulkheads, and fill by owners of riparian land in the waters opposite their lands, provided such wharves, bulkheads, and fill do not extend beyond any lawfully established bulkhead lines;

2. Issue permits to recover underwater historic property pursuant to §§ 10.1-2214 and 28.2-1203; and

3. Establish bulkhead and private pier lines on or over the bays, rivers, creeks, streams, and shores of the ocean which are owned by or subject to the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth for this purpose, and to issue and publish maps and plats showing these lines; however, these lines shall not conflict with those established by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Code 1950, § 62-2.1; 1960, c. 600; 1962, c. 637; 1966, c. 641; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-3; 1970, c. 621; 1972, c. 866; 1973, cc. 23, 361; 1974, cc. 92, 385; 1975, c. 431; 1976, c. 579; 1980, c. 253; 1982, c. 102; 1988, c. 868; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1204.1. Submerged aquatic vegetation.

The Commission shall, in consultation with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, develop guidelines containing criteria for use in:

1. Defining existing beds of submerged aquatic vegetation; and

2. Delineating areas where there is potential for submerged aquatic vegetation restoration.

1999, c. 547.

§ 28.2-1204.2. Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund established.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. In addition to the receipt of moneys as may be specifically provided by law, the Commissioner is authorized to accept gifts and grants for the Fund, as well as proceeds that may be received from time to time on the sale of state-owned marine lands. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of improving marine habitat and waterways, including the removal of obstructions or hazardous property from state waters as authorized in §§ 15.2-909 and 28.2-1210. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner.

2000, c. 1056.

§ 28.2-1205. Permits for the use of state-owned bottomlands.

A. When determining whether to grant or deny any permit for the use of state-owned bottomlands, the Commission shall be guided in its deliberations by the provisions of Article XI, Section I of the Constitution of Virginia. In addition to other factors, the Commission shall also consider the public and private benefits of the proposed project and shall exercise its authority under this section consistent with the public trust doctrine as defined by the common law of the Commonwealth adopted pursuant to § 1-200 in order to protect and safeguard the public right to the use and enjoyment of the subaqueous lands of the Commonwealth held in trust by it for the benefit of the people as conferred by the public trust doctrine and the Constitution of Virginia. The Commission shall also consider the project's effect on the following:

1. Other reasonable and permissible uses of state waters and state-owned bottomlands;

2. Marine and fisheries resources of the Commonwealth;

3. Tidal wetlands, except when this has or will be determined under the provisions of Chapter 13 of this title;

4. Adjacent or nearby properties;

5. Water quality; and

6. Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).

B. The Commission shall consult with other state agencies, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the State Water Control Board, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the State Corporation Commission, whenever the Commission's decision on a permit application relates to or affects the particular concerns or activities of those agencies.

C. No permit for a marina or boatyard for commercial use shall be granted until the owner or other applicant presents to the Commission a plan for sewage treatment or disposal facilities that has been approved by the State Department of Health.

D. A permit is required and shall be issued by the Commission for placement of any private pier measuring 100 or more feet in length from the mean low-water mark, which is used for noncommercial purposes by an owner of the riparian land in the waters opposite the land, and that traverses commercially productive leased oyster or clam grounds, as defined in § 28.2-630, provided that the pier does not extend beyond the navigation line established by the Commission or the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The permit may reasonably prescribe the design and location of the pier for the sole purpose of minimizing the adverse impact on such oyster or clam grounds or the harvesting or propagation of oysters or clams therefrom. The permit shall contain no other conditions or requirements. Unless information or circumstances materially alter the conditions under which the permit would be issued, the Commission shall act within 90 days of receipt of a complete joint permit application to approve or deny the application. If the Commission fails to act within that time, the application shall be deemed approved and the applicant shall be notified of the deemed approval.

E. All permits issued by the Commission for the use of state-owned bottomlands pursuant to § 28.2-1204, or to recover underwater historic property shall be in writing and specify the conditions and terms that the Commission determines are appropriate, and royalties unless prohibited under other provisions of this chapter.

F. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Commission under this section is entitled to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). However, any decision made by the Commission hereunder consistent with the public trust doctrine as defined by the common law of the Commonwealth adopted pursuant to § 1-200 shall not be deemed to have been made pursuant to the police power. No person shall reapply for the same or substantially similar use of the bottomlands within 12 months of the denial of a permit by the Commission. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to deprive a riparian landowner of such rights as he may have under common law.

Code 1950, § 62-2.1; 1960, c. 600; 1962, c. 637; 1966, c. 641; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-3; 1970, c. 621; 1972, c. 866; 1973, cc. 23, 361; 1974, cc. 92, 385; 1975, c. 431; 1976, c. 579; 1980, c. 253; 1982, c. 102; 1988, c. 868; 1992, c. 836; 1996, c. 228; 1999, c. 741; 2000, c. 167; 2001, c. 72; 2004, cc. 405, 899, 1018; 2005, c. 839.

§ 28.2-1205.1. Coordinated review of water resources projects.

A. Applications for water resources projects that require a Virginia Marine Resources permit and an individual Virginia Water Protection Permit under § 62.1-44.15:20 shall be submitted and processed through a joint application and review process.

B. The Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, in consultation with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Department of Historic Resources, the Department of Health, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and any other appropriate or interested state agency, shall coordinate the joint review process to ensure the orderly evaluation of projects requiring both permits.

C. The joint review process shall include, but not be limited to, provisions to ensure that: (i) the initial application for the project shall be advertised simultaneously by the Commission and the Department of Environmental Quality; (ii) project reviews shall be completed by all state agencies that have been asked to review and provide comments, within 45 days of project notification by the Commission and the Department of Environmental Quality; (iii) the Commission and the State Water Control Board shall coordinate permit issuance and, to the extent practicable, shall take action on the permit application no later than one year after the agencies have received complete applications; (iv) to the extent practicable, the Commission and the State Water Control Board shall take action concurrently, but no more than six months apart; and (v) upon taking its final action on each permit, the Commission and the State Water Control Board shall provide each other with notification of its action and any and all supporting information, including any background materials or exhibits used in the application.

2005, c. 49.

§ 28.2-1205.2. Coordinated review of public beach replenishment projects using Chesapeake Bay sand; expedited process.

A. Applications for sand replenishment projects on public beaches abutting the waters of the Chesapeake Bay that involve the dredging of sand from the Chesapeake Bay and require a permit from the Marine Resources Commission or the Department of Environmental Quality, or both, shall be reviewed and a decision on the issuance of the permit shall be made within 90 days thereafter, or as soon as practicable. These agencies shall establish a working group consisting of representative stakeholders in an effort to develop an effective and efficient process for review and approval of sand replenishment projects.

B. In developing such an expedited review process, the agencies and working group shall consider a requirement that the application include the submission of a dredging plan by the locality for the areas within the Chesapeake Bay from which the dredged material will be taken and the location of the beach replenishment project. Such a dredging plan, if approved, shall not require a new review procedure if any subsequent removal of bottomland involves material obtained from the area documented in the dredging plan. Any new site proposed for the dredging of sand from the Chesapeake Bay shall require a new or amended dredging plan. A permit issued shall be valid for 10 years.

C. Any dredging plan required to be submitted with an application shall include the following information:

1. Geotechnical analysis of the proposed area to be dredged;

2. Analysis of the benthic, marine, and fishery resources, including a specific analysis of the impact on the crab population;

3. Current recreational and commercial fishing activity in the proposed dredge area;

4. Impact on any historical artifacts in the proposed dredge area;

5. Impact on other uses of the state waters and bottomlands at the dredge site;

6. Location of the beach areas to be replenished; and

7. Environmental impact of the dredge material being placed on the beach area.

D. The Commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality, the State Health Department, the Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and any other appropriate or interested state agency, shall coordinate a joint review process to ensure the orderly evaluation of sand replenishment projects requiring a permit for dredging sand from the Chesapeake Bay. All project reviews shall be completed by state agencies within 45 days of receiving the project review request from the Commission or the Department of Environmental Quality.

2013, cc. 45, 196.

§ 28.2-1206. Permit fees; exemptions.

A. The fee paid to the Commission for issuing each permit to recover underwater historic property shall be $25.

B. The fee paid to the Commission for issuing each permit to use state-owned bottomlands shall be $25, but if the cost of the project is to exceed $10,000, the fee paid shall be $100. Riparian owners of (i) commercial facilities engaged in the business of ship construction or repair, (ii) commercial facilities providing services relating to the shipping of domestic or foreign cargo, and (iii) commercial facilities engaged in the business of selling or servicing watercraft shall be exempt from the payment of rents and royalties, except as provided in subsection C.

C. When the activity or project for which a permit is requested will involve the removal of bottom material, the application shall indicate this fact. If granted, the permit shall specify a royalty of not less than $.20, nor more than $.60, per cubic yard of bottom material removed. In fixing the amount of the royalty, the Commission shall consider, among other factors, the following:

1. The primary and secondary purposes for removing the bottom material;

2. Whether the material has any commercial value and whether it will be used for any commercial purpose;

3. The use to be made of the removed material and any public benefit or adverse effect upon the public that will result from the removal or disposal of the material;

4. The physical characteristics of the material to be removed; and

5. The expense of removing and disposing of the material.

D. Where it appears that the project or facility for which a permit application is made has been completed or work thereon commenced at the time application is made, the Commission may impose additional assessments not to exceed an amount of three times the normal permit fee and royalties, unless such royalties are prohibited by this chapter.

E. Bottom material removed attendant to maintenance dredging or directional drilling shall be exempt from any royalty. The Virginia Department of Transportation shall be exempt from all fees, rents and royalties otherwise assessable under this section. All counties, cities, and towns of the Commonwealth shall pay the required permit fee but shall be exempt from all other fees, rents and royalties assessable under this section if the permit is issued prior to the commencement of any work to be accomplished under the permit.

F. All fees, rents and royalties collected pursuant to this chapter on and after July 1, 2000, shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund.

Code 1950, § 62-2.1; 1960, c. 600; 1962, c. 637; 1966, c. 641; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-3; 1970, c. 621; 1972, c. 866; 1973, cc. 23, 361; 1974, cc. 92, 385; 1975, c. 431; 1976, c. 579; 1980, c. 253; 1982, c. 102; 1988, c. 868; 1992, c. 836; 2000, c. 1056; 2004, cc. 899, 1018.

§ 28.2-1207. Authority to approve permits for encroachment on subaqueous beds; notice.

A. Any application for a permit to trespass upon or over or encroach upon subaqueous beds which are the Commonwealth's property may be approved by the Commissioner or his authorized representative if the application meets the requirements of §§ 28.2-1205 and 28.2-1206 and the following criteria are satisfied:

1. The total value of the project does not exceed $500,000;

2. The application is not protested by any citizen or objected to by any state agency; and

3. The project for which the permit is sought will not require any other permit from the Commission.

B. If the permit application is for a shore erosion control project recommended by the soil and water conservation district in which the project is to be located and the criteria listed in subsection A of this section are satisfied, the Commission may, after giving notice of the application to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, approve the application without giving notice to or awaiting the approval of any other state agency.

C. The Commission shall, in conjunction with affected state and federal agencies, develop an expedited process for issuing general permits for activities that are intended to improve water quality such as bioengineered streambank projects and livestock stream crossings, and for activities required during emergencies in which a determination has been made that there is a threat to public or private property, or to the health and safety of the public. The development of the general permit shall be exempt from Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

D. The Commission shall, in conjunction with affected state and federal agencies, develop an expedited process for issuing a permit for emergency activities intended to restore sand to any publicly owned beach damaged by sand erosion. Such erosion shall have been caused by a discrete, identifiable weather event or sequence of events that threatened public or private property or public health and safety and was the subject of a declaration of emergency by the Governor or the governing body of the locality in which the project is located. The development of the permit shall be exempt from Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

1972, c. 398, § 62.1-3.01; 1973, c. 350, § 62.1-3.02; 1980, c. 312; 1984, c. 246; 1992, c. 836; 1997, c. 845; 2011, c. 451; 2016, cc. 9, 124.

§ 28.2-1208. Granting easements in or leasing the beds of certain waters.

A. The Marine Resources Commission may, with the approval of the Attorney General and the Governor, grant easements over or under or lease the beds of the waters of the Commonwealth outside of the Baylor Survey. Every easement or lease executed pursuant to this section shall be for a period not to exceed five years, except in the case of offshore renewable energy leases described in clause (ii), in which case the period shall not exceed 30 years, and shall specify the rent and such other terms deemed expedient and proper. Such easements and leases may include the right to renew the same for an additional period not to exceed five years. Any lease that authorizes grantees or lessees to (i) prospect for and take from the bottoms covered thereby, oil, gas, and other specified minerals and mineral substances; or (ii) generate electrical energy from wave or tidal action, currents, offshore winds, or thermal or salinity gradients, and transmit energy from such sources to shore shall require a royalty. Except for offshore renewable energy leases, purchase payment for any easement granted to a public service corporation, certificated telephone company, interstate natural gas company or provider of cable television or other multichannel video programming service shall be $100 and shall be for a period of 40 years. However, no easement or lease shall in any way affect or interfere with the rights vouchsafed to the people of the Commonwealth concerning fishing, fowling, and the catching and taking of oysters and other shellfish in and from the leased bottoms or the waters above.

B. All easements granted and leases made pursuant to this section shall be executed for, and in the name and on behalf of, the Commonwealth by the Attorney General and shall be countersigned by the Governor.

C. All oil, gas and other minerals royalties collected from such easements or leases on and after July 1, 2000, shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund. All royalties collected as a result of the generation or transmission of electrical or compressed air energy from offshore renewable sources including wave or tidal action, currents, offshore winds, and thermal or salinity gradients shall be paid into the state treasury and appropriated to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium established pursuant to § 67-600.

D. Prior to December 1 of each year, the Commissioner and the Attorney General shall make reports to the General Assembly on all easements and leases executed pursuant to this section during the preceding 12 months.

E. The Commission shall, in cooperation with the Division of Geology and Mineral Resources of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and with the assistance of affected state agencies, departments and institutions, including the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, maintain a State Subaqueous Minerals and Coastal Energy Management Plan that shall supplement the State Minerals Management Plan set forth in § 2.2-1157 and the Virginia Energy Plan (§ 67-200 et seq.). The State Subaqueous Minerals and Coastal Energy Management Plan shall include provisions for (i) the holding of public hearings, (ii) public advertising for competitive bids or proposals for mineral and renewable energy leasing and extraction activities, (iii) preparation of environmental impact reports to be reviewed by the appropriate agency of the Commonwealth, and (iv) review and approval of leases by the Attorney General and the Governor as required by subsection A. The environmental impact reports shall address, but not be limited to:

1. The environmental impact of the proposed activity;

2. Any adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided if the proposed activity is undertaken;

3. Measures proposed to minimize the impact of the proposed activity;

4. Any alternative to the proposed activity; and

5. Any irreversible environmental changes which would be involved in the proposed activity.

For the purposes of subdivision 4 of this subsection, the report shall contain all alternatives considered and the reasons why the alternatives were rejected. If a report does not set forth alternatives, it shall state why alternatives were not considered.

Code 1950, § 62-3; 1958, c. 290; 1962, c. 637; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-4; 1986, c. 488; 1992, c. 836; 1993, c. 644; 2000, c. 1056; 2004, cc. 899, 1018; 2008, c. 369; 2009, c. 766.

§ 28.2-1209. Maintenance or removal of structures erected upon or over state-owned subaqueous bottoms.

Any person constructing or erecting any structure upon or over state-owned subaqueous bottoms, or their grantees or assignees for value, shall be responsible for the maintenance or removal of the structure upon its abandonment or its falling into a state of disrepair. However, public service corporations may abandon cables, conduit and pipes upon prior approval of the Commission.

1974, c. 274, § 62.1-3.03; 1992, c. 836.

Article 2. Enforcement and Penalties.

§ 28.2-1210. Removal of obstructions or hazardous property from state waters; penalty.

A. Whenever any wharf, pier, piling, bulkhead, structure, or vessel is found in or upon the bays, oceans, rivers, streams or creeks of the Commonwealth in a state of abandonment, in danger of sinking, or in such disrepair as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the use of such waterway, the Commission may ascertain the owner of the property and require him to repair or remove the property from the waters of the Commonwealth. If the identity or location of the owner remains unknown and unascertainable after a diligent search and the posting of proper notice at the last known address of the owner, if known, the Commission may have the property removed from the waterways of the Commonwealth after giving notice by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where such property is located.

B. It is unlawful for any person who owns a vessel to allow such vessel, for more than one week after delivery of notification by the Commission or a law-enforcement official in person or by United States Postal Service certified mail, return receipt requested, to be in a state of abandonment and in danger of sinking, or in such disrepair as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the use of a waterway. Upon the occurrence of a natural disaster or other act of God, the Commission or law-enforcement official shall not issue a notification until sixty days following such occurrence. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1974, c. 602, § 62.1-194.1:1; 1992, c. 836; 1997, c. 258; 1999, c. 544.

§ 28.2-1211. Injunction against violation of § 28.2-1203.

The circuit court of the city or county in which any act is done or facility or project is found, which is unlawful under the provisions of § 28.2-1203, shall have the authority, upon application by the Commission, reasonable notice, and after a hearing, to enjoin any further unlawful act and to direct the guilty party or the Commission, at the cost of the guilty party, to remove, tear down or take such other steps as are necessary to protect and preserve the subject property of the Commonwealth.

1970, c. 621, § 62.1-3.1; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1212. Monitoring, inspections, compliance and restoration.

A. The Commissioner may require permittees to implement monitoring and reporting procedures he believes are reasonably necessary to safeguard the property and interests of the Commonwealth protected by this chapter.

B. The Commissioner may require such on-site inspections as he believes are reasonably necessary to determine whether the measures required by the permit are being properly performed, or whether the provisions of this chapter are being violated. Prior to conducting such inspections, the Commissioner shall provide notice to the resident owner, occupier or operator, who shall be given an opportunity to accompany the site inspector. If it is determined that there is a failure to comply with the permit, the Commissioner shall serve notice upon the permittee at the address specified in his permit application or by delivery at the site of the permitted activities to the person supervising those activities and designated in the permit to receive the notice. The notice shall describe the measures needed for compliance and the time within which these measures shall be completed. Failure of the person to comply within the specified period is a violation of this section.

C. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from the designated enforcement officer, the Commissioner may, in conjunction with or subsequent to a notice to comply as specified in subsection B of this section, issue an order requiring all or part of the activities on the site to be stopped until the specified corrective measures have been taken. In the case of an activity not authorized under this chapter or where the alleged permit noncompliance is causing, or is in imminent danger of causing, significant harm to the subaqueous bottoms protected by this chapter, the order may be issued without regard to whether the person has been issued a notice to comply as specified in subsection B of this section. Otherwise, the order may be issued only after the permittee has failed to comply with the notice to comply. The order shall be served in the same manner as a notice to comply, and shall remain in effect for a period of seven days from the date of service pending application by the Commissioner, permittee, resident owner, occupier, or operator for appropriate relief to the circuit court of the jurisdiction where the violation was alleged to have occurred. Upon completion of corrective action, the order shall immediately be lifted.

D. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from a designated enforcement officer, the Commission may order that the affected site be restored to its previous condition if the Commission finds that restoration is necessary to recover lost resources or to prevent further damage to resources. The order shall specify the restoration necessary and establish a reasonable time for its completion. The order shall be issued only after a hearing with at least thirty days' notice to the affected person of the hearing's time, place and purpose and shall become effective immediately upon issuance by the Commission. The Commission shall require any scientific monitoring plan it believes is necessary to ensure the successful restoration of subaqueous bottoms protected by this chapter and may require that a prepaid contract acceptable to the Commission be in effect for the purpose of carrying out the scientific monitoring plan. The Commission may also require a reasonable bond or letter of credit in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it securing to the Commonwealth compliance with the conditions set forth in the restoration order. The appropriate court, upon petition by the Commission, may enforce any such restoration order by injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate remedy. Failure to complete the required restoration is a violation of this chapter.

E. The duties of the Commissioner under this section may be delegated to his respective designee; however, the designee shall not be a designated enforcement officer.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1213. Penalties.

A. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or who violates or fails, neglects, or refuses to obey any Commission notice, order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter shall, upon such finding by an appropriate circuit court, be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 for each day of violation. Such civil penalties shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund.

B. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, and with the consent of any person who has violated any provision of this chapter or who has violated or failed, neglected, or refused to obey any Commission order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter, the Commission may provide, in an order issued by the Commission against such person, for the one-time payment of civil charges for each violation in specific sums, not to exceed $10,000 for each violation. Civil charges shall be in lieu of any appropriate civil penalty which could be imposed under subsection A of this section. Civil charges may be in addition to the cost of any restoration ordered by the Commission and shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund.

Code 1950, § 62-2.1; 1960, c. 600; 1962, c. 637; 1966, c. 641; 1968, c. 659, § 62.1-3; 1970, c. 621; 1972, c. 866; 1973, cc. 23, 361; 1974, cc. 92, 385; 1975, c. 431; 1976, c. 579; 1980, c. 253; 1982, c. 102; 1988, c. 868; 1992, c. 836; 2000, c. 1056.

Chapter 13. Wetlands.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 28.2-1300. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Back Bay and its tributaries" means the following, as shown on the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Sheets for Virginia Beach, North Bay, and Knotts Island: Back Bay north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line; Capsies Creek north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line; Deal Creek; Devil Creek; Nawney Creek; Redhead Bay, Sand Bay, Shipps Bay, North Bay, and the waters connecting them; Beggars Bridge Creek; Muddy Creek; Ashville Bridge Creek; Hells Point Creek; Black Gut; and all coves, ponds and natural waterways adjacent to or connecting with the above-named bodies of water.

"County, city, or town" means the governing body of the county, city, or town.

"Governmental activity" means any of the services provided by the Commonwealth or a county, city, or town to its citizens for the purpose of maintaining public facilities, including but not limited to, such services as constructing, repairing and maintaining roads; providing street lights and sewage facilities; supplying and treating water; and constructing public buildings.

"Nonvegetated wetlands" means unvegetated lands lying contiguous to mean low water and between mean low water and mean high water, including those unvegetated areas of Back Bay and its tributaries and the North Landing River and its tributaries subject to flooding by normal and wind tides but not hurricane or tropical storm tides.

"North Landing River and its tributaries" means the following, as shown on the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Sheets for Pleasant Ridge, Creeds, and Fentress: the North Landing River from the Virginia-North Carolina line to Virginia Highway 165 at North Landing Bridge; the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal from Virginia Highway 165 at North Landing Bridge to the locks at Great Bridge; and all named and unnamed streams, creeks and rivers flowing into the North Landing River and the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal except West Neck Creek north of Indian River Road, Pocaty River west of Blackwater Road, Blackwater River west of its forks located at a point approximately 6400 feet due west of the point where Blackwater Road crosses the Blackwater River at the village of Blackwater, and Millbank Creek west of Blackwater Road.

"Vegetated wetlands" means lands lying between and contiguous to mean low water and an elevation above mean low water equal to the factor one and one-half times the mean tide range at the site of the proposed project in the county, city, or town in question, and upon which is growing any of the following species: saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), saltwort (Salicornia spp.), sea lavender (Limonium spp.), marsh elder (Iva frutescens), groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia), wax myrtle (Myrica sp.), sea oxeye (Borrichia frutescens), arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides), rice cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), wildrice (Zizania aquatica), bulrush (Scirpus validus), spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), sea rocket (Cakile edentula), southern wildrice (Zizaniopsis miliacea), cattail (Typha spp.), three-square (Scirpus spp.), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), dock (Rumex spp.), yellow pond lily (Nuphar sp.), marsh fleabane (Pluchea purpurascens), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), marsh hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), beggar's tick (Bidens sp.), smartweed (Polygonum sp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), water hemp (Amaranthus cannabinus), reed grass (Phragmites communis), or switch grass (Panicum virgatum).

"Vegetated wetlands of Back Bay and its tributaries" or "vegetated wetlands of the North Landing River and its tributaries" means all marshes subject to flooding by normal and wind tides, but not hurricane or tropical storm tides, and upon which is growing any of the following species: saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens), black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), marsh elder (Iva frutescens), groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia), wax myrtle (Myrica sp.), arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides), rice cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), wildrice (Zizania aquatica), bulrush (Scirpus validus), spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), cattail (Typha spp.), three-square (Scirpus spp.), dock (Rumex sp.), smartweed (Polygonum sp.), yellow pond lily (Nuphar sp.), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), marsh hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), beggar's tick (Bidens sp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria sp.), water hemp (Amaranthus cannabinus), reed grass (Phragmites communis), or switch grass (Panicum virgatum).

"Wetlands" means both vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands.

"Wetlands board" or "board" means a board created pursuant to § 28.2-1303.

"Wetlands zoning ordinance" means the ordinance set forth in § 28.2-1302.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.2; 1973, c. 388; 1974, c. 297; 1975, c. 268; 1979, c. 524; 1982, c. 300; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1301. Powers and duties of the Commission.

A. The Commission may receive gifts, grants, bequests, and devises of wetlands and money which shall be held for the uses prescribed by the donor, grantor, or testator and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Commission shall manage any wetlands it receives so as to maximize their ecological value as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of this title.

B. The Commission shall preserve and prevent the despoliation and destruction of wetlands while accommodating necessary economic development in a manner consistent with wetlands preservation.

C. In order to perform its duties under this section and to assist counties, cities, and towns in regulating wetlands, the Commission shall promulgate and periodically update guidelines which scientifically evaluate vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands by type and describe the consequences of use of these wetlands types. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science shall provide advice and assistance to the Commission in developing these guidelines by evaluating wetlands by type and continuously maintaining and updating an inventory of vegetated wetlands.

D. In developing guidelines or regulations under this chapter the Commission shall consult with all affected state agencies. Consistent with other legal rights, consideration shall be given to the unique character of the Commonwealth's tidal wetlands which are essential for the production of marine and inland wildlife, waterfowl, finfish, shellfish and flora; serve as a valuable protective barrier against floods, tidal storms and the erosion of the Commonwealth's shores and soil; are important for the absorption of silt and pollutants; and are important for recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of the people and for the promotion of tourism, navigation and commerce.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.1, 62.1-13.4, 62.1-13.17; 1982, c. 300; 1990, c. 811; 1992, c. 836; 1995, c. 850.

Article 2. Wetlands Zoning Ordinance and Wetlands Boards.

§ 28.2-1302. Adoption of wetlands zoning ordinance; terms of ordinance.

Any county, city or town may adopt the following ordinance, which, after October 1, 1992, shall serve as the only wetlands zoning ordinance under which any wetlands board is authorized to operate. Any county, city, or town which has adopted the ordinance prior to October 1, 1992, shall amend the ordinance to conform it to the ordinance contained herein by October 1, 1992.

Wetlands Zoning Ordinance

§ 1. The governing body of......., acting pursuant to Chapter 13 (§ 28.2-1300 et seq.) of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia, adopts this ordinance regulating the use and development of wetlands.

§ 2. As used in this ordinance, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Back Bay and its tributaries" means the following, as shown on the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Sheets for Virginia Beach, North Bay, and Knotts Island: Back Bay north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line; Capsies Creek north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line; Deal Creek; Devil Creek; Nawney Creek; Redhead Bay, Sand Bay, Shipps Bay, North Bay, and the waters connecting them; Beggars Bridge Creek; Muddy Creek; Ashville Bridge Creek; Hells Point Creek; Black Gut; and all coves, ponds and natural waterways adjacent to or connecting with the above-named bodies of water.

"Commission" means the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Marine Resources.

"Governmental activity" means any of the services provided by this..… (county, city, or town) to its citizens for the purpose of maintaining this...… (county, city, or town), including but not limited to such services as constructing, repairing and maintaining roads; providing sewage facilities and street lights; supplying and treating water; and constructing public buildings.

"Nonvegetated wetlands" means unvegetated lands lying contiguous to mean low water and between mean low water and mean high water, including those unvegetated areas of Back Bay and its tributaries and the North Landing River and its tributaries subject to flooding by normal and wind tides but not hurricane or tropical storm tides.

"North Landing River and its tributaries" means the following, as shown on the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Sheets for Pleasant Ridge, Creeds, and Fentress: the North Landing River from the Virginia-North Carolina line to Virginia Highway 165 at North Landing Bridge; the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal from Virginia Highway 165 at North Landing Bridge to the locks at Great Bridge; and all named and unnamed streams, creeks and rivers flowing into the North Landing River and the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal except West Neck Creek north of Indian River Road, Pocaty River west of Blackwater Road, Blackwater River west of its forks located at a point approximately 6400 feet due west of the point where Blackwater Road crosses the Blackwater River at the village of Blackwater, and Millbank Creek west of Blackwater Road.

"Person" means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, company, business, trust, joint venture, or other legal entity.

"Vegetated wetlands" means lands lying between and contiguous to mean low water and an elevation above mean low water equal to the factor one and one-half times the mean tide range at the site of the proposed project in the county, city, or town in question, and upon which is growing any of the following species: saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), saltwort (Salicornia spp.), sea lavender (Limonium spp.), marsh elder (Iva frutescens), groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia), wax myrtle (Myrica sp.), sea oxeye (Borrichia frutescens), arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides), rice cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), wildrice (Zizania aquatica), bulrush (Scirpus validus), spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), sea rocket (Cakile edentula), southern wildrice (Zizaniopsis miliacea), cattail (Typha spp.), three-square (Scirpus spp.), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), dock (Rumex spp.), yellow pond lily (Nuphar sp.), marsh fleabane (Pluchea purpurascens), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), marsh hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), beggar's tick (Bidens sp.), smartweed (Polygonum sp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), water hemp (Amaranthus cannabinus), reed grass (Phragmites communis), or switch grass (Panicum virgatum).

"Vegetated wetlands of Back Bay and its tributaries" or "vegetated wetlands of the North Landing River and its tributaries" means all marshes subject to flooding by normal and wind tides but not hurricane or tropical storm tides, and upon which is growing any of the following species: saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens), black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), marsh elder (Iva frutescens), groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia), wax myrtle (Myrica sp.), arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides), rice cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), wildrice (Zizania aquatica), bulrush (Scirpus validus), spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), cattail (Typha spp.), three-square (Scirpus spp.), dock (Rumex sp.), smartweed (Polygonum sp.), yellow pond lily (Nuphar sp.), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), marsh hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), beggar's tick (Bidens sp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria sp.), water hemp (Amaranthus cannabinus), reed grass (Phragmites communis), or switch grass (Panicum virgatum).

"Wetlands" means both vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands.

"Wetlands board" or "board" means a board created pursuant to § 28.2-1303 of the Code of Virginia.

§ 3. The following uses of and activities in wetlands are authorized if otherwise permitted by law:

1. The construction and maintenance of noncommercial catwalks, piers, boathouses, boat shelters, fences, duckblinds, wildlife management shelters, footbridges, observation decks and shelters and other similar structures, provided that such structures are so constructed on pilings as to permit the reasonably unobstructed flow of the tide and preserve the natural contour of the wetlands;

2. The cultivation and harvesting of shellfish, and worms for bait;

3. Noncommercial outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, boating, trapping, hunting, fishing, shellfishing, horseback riding, swimming, skeet and trap shooting, and shooting on shooting preserves, provided that no structure shall be constructed except as permitted in subdivision 1 of this section;

4. Other outdoor recreational activities, provided they do not impair the natural functions or alter the natural contour of the wetlands;

5. Grazing, haying, and cultivating and harvesting agricultural, forestry or horticultural products;

6. Conservation, repletion and research activities of the Commission, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and other conservation-related agencies;

7. The construction or maintenance of aids to navigation which are authorized by governmental authority;

8. Emergency measures decreed by any duly appointed health officer of a governmental subdivision acting to protect the public health;

9. The normal maintenance and repair of, or addition to, presently existing roads, highways, railroad beds, or facilities abutting on or crossing wetlands, provided that no waterway is altered and no additional wetlands are covered;

10. Governmental activity in wetlands owned or leased by the Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof;

11. The normal maintenance of man-made drainage ditches, provided that no additional wetlands are covered. This subdivision does not authorize the construction of any drainage ditch; and

12. The construction of living shoreline projects authorized pursuant to a general permit developed under subsection B of § 28.2-104.1

§ 4. A. Any person who desires to use or develop any wetland within this..........… (county, city, or town), other than for the purpose of conducting the activities specified in § 3 of this ordinance, shall first file an application for a permit directly with the wetlands board or with the Commission.

B. The permit application shall include the following: the name and address of the applicant; a detailed description of the proposed activities; a map, drawn to an appropriate and uniform scale, showing the area of wetlands directly affected, the location of the proposed work thereon, the area of existing and proposed fill and excavation, the location, width, depth and length of any proposed channel and disposal area, and the location of all existing and proposed structures, sewage collection and treatment facilities, utility installations, roadways, and other related appurtenances or facilities, including those on adjacent uplands; a description of the type of equipment to be used and the means of equipment access to the activity site; the names and addresses of owners of record of adjacent land and known claimants of water rights in or adjacent to the wetland of whom the applicant has notice; an estimate of cost; the primary purpose of the project; any secondary purposes of the project, including further projects; the public benefit to be derived from the proposed project; a complete description of measures to be taken during and after the alteration to reduce detrimental offsite effects; the completion date of the proposed work, project, or structure; and such additional materials and documentation as the wetlands board may require.

C. A nonrefundable processing fee shall accompany each permit application. The fee shall be set by the applicable governing body with due regard for the services to be rendered, including the time, skill, and administrator's expense involved.

§ 5. All applications, maps, and documents submitted shall be open for public inspection at the office designated by the applicable governing body and specified in the advertisement for public hearing required under § 6 of this ordinance.

§ 6. Not later than 60 days after receipt of a complete application, the wetlands board shall hold a public hearing on the application. The applicant, local governing body, Commissioner, owner of record of any land adjacent to the wetlands in question, known claimants of water rights in or adjacent to the wetlands in question, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Water Control Board, the Department of Transportation, and any governmental agency expressing an interest in the application shall be notified of the hearing. The board shall mail these notices not less than 20 days prior to the date set for the hearing. The wetlands board shall also cause notice of the hearing to be published at least once a week for two weeks prior to such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in this.......… (county, city, or town). The published notice shall specify the place or places within this..........… (county, city, or town) where copies of the application may be examined. The costs of publication shall be paid by the applicant.

§ 7. A. Approval of a permit application shall require the affirmative vote of three members of a five-member board or four members of a seven-member board.

B. The chairman of the board, or in his absence the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. Any person may testify at the public hearing. Each witness at the hearing may submit a concise written statement of his testimony. The board shall make a record of the proceeding, which shall include the application, any written statements of witnesses, a summary of statements of all witnesses, the findings and decision of the board, and the rationale for the decision.

C. The board shall make its determination within 30 days of the hearing. If the board fails to act within that time, the application shall be deemed approved. Within 48 hours of its determination, the board shall notify the applicant and the Commissioner of its determination. If the board fails to make a determination within the 30-day period, it shall promptly notify the applicant and the Commission that the application is deemed approved. For purposes of this section, "act" means taking a vote on the application. If the application receives less than four affirmative votes from a seven-member board or less than three affirmative votes from a five-member board, the permit shall be denied.

D. If the board's decision is reviewed or appealed, the board shall transmit the record of its hearing to the Commissioner. Upon a final determination by the Commission, the record shall be returned to the board. The record shall be open for public inspection at the same office as was designated under § 5 of this ordinance.

§ 8. The board may require a reasonable bond or letter of credit in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it, securing to the Commonwealth compliance with the conditions and limitations set forth in the permit. The board may, after a hearing held pursuant to this ordinance, suspend or revoke a permit if the applicant has failed to comply with any of the conditions or limitations set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the work described in the application. The board may, after a hearing, suspend a permit if the applicant fails to comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the application.

§ 9. In fulfilling its responsibilities under this ordinance, the board shall preserve and prevent the despoliation and destruction of wetlands within its jurisdiction while accommodating necessary economic development in a manner consistent with wetlands preservation.

§ 10. A. In deciding whether to grant, grant in modified form or deny a permit, the board shall consider the following:

1. The testimony of any person in support of or in opposition to the permit application;

2. The impact of the proposed development on the public health, safety, and welfare; and

3. The proposed development's conformance with standards prescribed in § 28.2-1308 of the Code of Virginia and guidelines promulgated pursuant to § 28.2-1301 of the Code of Virginia.

B. The board shall grant the permit if all of the following criteria are met:

1. The anticipated public and private benefit of the proposed activity exceeds its anticipated public and private detriment.

2. The proposed development conforms with the standards prescribed in § 28.2-1308 of the Code of Virginia and guidelines promulgated pursuant to § 28.2-1301 of the Code of Virginia.

3. The proposed activity does not violate the purposes and intent of this ordinance or Chapter 13 (§ 28.2-1300 et seq.) of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia.

C. If the board finds that any of the criteria listed in subsection B of this section are not met, the board shall deny the permit application but allow the applicant to resubmit the application in modified form.

§ 11. The permit shall be in writing, signed by the chairman of the board or his authorized representative, and notarized. A copy of the permit shall be transmitted to the Commissioner.

§ 12. No permit shall be granted without an expiration date established by the board. Upon proper application, the board may extend the permit expiration date.

§ 13. No permit granted by a wetlands board shall in any way affect the applicable zoning and land use ordinances of this..........… (county, city, or town) or the right of any person to seek compensation for any injury in fact incurred by him because of the proposed activity.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.1, 62.1-13.5; 1973, cc. 382, 388; 1975, c. 268; 1979, c. 418; 1982, c. 300; 1985, c. 541; 1988, c. 587; 1989, c. 360; 1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 274; 2014, cc. 112, 143; 2014, cc. 112, 143.

§ 28.2-1303. Appointment, terms, compensation, etc., of local wetlands boards; jurisdiction of county wetlands board over wetlands in town.

A. Every county, city, or town that enacts a wetlands zoning ordinance pursuant to this chapter shall create a wetlands board, consisting of five or seven residents of that jurisdiction appointed by the local governing body. All board members' terms shall be for five years, except that the term of at least one of the original appointments shall expire during each of the succeeding five years. The chairman of the board shall notify the local governing body at least 30 days prior to the expiration of any member's term and shall promptly notify the local governing body if any vacancy occurs. Vacancies shall be filled by the local governing body without delay upon receipt of such notice. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired portion of the term. Members may serve successive terms. A member whose term expires shall continue to serve until his successor is appointed and qualified. Members of the board shall hold no public office in the county or city other than membership on the local planning or zoning commission, the local erosion commission, the local board of zoning appeals, a board established by a local government to hear cases regarding ordinances adopted pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, or as director of a soil and water conservation board. When members of these local commissions or boards are appointed to a local wetlands board, their terms of appointment shall be coterminous with their membership on those boards or commissions. The governing body shall also appoint at least one but not more than three alternate members to the board. The qualifications, terms, and compensation of alternate members shall be the same as those of members. Any member who knows that he will not be able to attend a board meeting shall notify the chairman at least 24 hours in advance of such meeting. The chairman shall select an alternate member to serve in place of the absent member at the board meeting, which shall be noted in the records of the board.

B. Upon a hearing with at least 15 days' notice thereof, any board member may be removed for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or for other just cause, by the local governing body. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, a member of a local wetlands board may be removed from office by the local governing body without limitation in the event that the board member is absent from any three consecutive meetings of the board, or is absent from any four meetings of the board within any 12-month period. In either such event, a successor shall be appointed by the governing body for the unexpired portion of the term of the member who has been removed.

C. If a town does not enact a wetlands zoning ordinance within one year of its enactment by the surrounding county, application for permits to use and develop wetlands within the town shall be made to the county wetlands board.

D. Any county, city, or town that creates a local wetlands board pursuant to this section may compensate the members of the board in accordance with such terms and conditions as the locality may prescribe.

E. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Town of Dumfries in Prince William County may enact a wetlands zoning ordinance pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.6, 62.1-13.8; 1977, c. 15; 1978, c. 585; 1982, cc. 300, 446; 1983, c. 87; 1987, c. 62; 1992, c. 836; 2004, c. 277; 2005, c. 104; 2006, c. 687.

§ 28.2-1304. Officers, meetings, rules, etc., of wetlands boards; records and reports.

The board shall annually elect from its membership a chairman and such other officers as it deems necessary for terms of one year. For the conduct of any hearing and the taking of any action, a quorum shall be not less than three members of a five-member board nor less than four members of a seven-member board. The board may make, alter, and rescind rules and forms for its procedures, provided they are consistent with state law and local ordinances. The board shall keep a full public record of its proceedings and shall submit a report of its activities to the local governing body at least once each year. The board shall forward a copy of each report to the Commission.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.7; 1977, c. 15; 1982, c. 446; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1305. Local governing body to supply meeting space and services for wetlands board.

Every county, city, or town creating a wetlands board shall supply the board with reasonable meeting space and necessary secretarial, clerical, legal, and consulting services. The local governing body is authorized to expend the public funds necessary to comply with the provisions of this section.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.8; 1992, c. 836.

Article 3. Permits and Review.

§ 28.2-1306. Permits required for certain activities; issuance of permits by Commission.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any activity which would require a permit under a wetlands zoning ordinance without such a permit. Until the county, city, or town in which a person proposes to conduct an activity which would require a permit under a wetlands zoning ordinance adopts the wetlands zoning ordinance, the person shall apply for a permit directly to the Commission, except as provided in subsection C of § 28.2-1303. If an applicant desires to use or develop wetlands owned by the Commonwealth, he shall apply for a permit directly to the Commission, and in addition to the application fee required by the wetlands zoning ordinance, he shall pay those fees and royalties assessed under § 28.2-1206.

B. Upon notification by any county, city, or town that it has adopted the wetlands zoning ordinance, the Commission shall immediately forward to that jurisdiction's wetlands board any pending permit application over which that board would have had jurisdiction if the ordinance had been in effect at the time the application was filed. However, if requested by the applicant, the application shall remain within the Commission's jurisdiction.

C. The Commission shall process permit applications in accordance with the provisions of the wetlands zoning ordinance and the Commissioner, or his authorized representative, shall sign such permit; however, the Commission may designate one or more hearing officers who may, in lieu of the Commission, conduct public hearings as required under § 28.2-1302, and thereafter report their findings and recommendations to the Commission.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.5, 62.1-13.9; 1973, cc. 382, 388; 1975, c. 268; 1979, c. 418; 1982, c. 300; 1985, c. 541; 1988, c. 587; 1989, c. 360; 1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 125.

§ 28.2-1307. Expedited permits; administrative procedures.

A. The Commission may, in conjunction with local wetlands boards and other affected state and federal agencies, develop administrative procedures to expedite the processing of applications for permits required under this chapter. Whenever an application is received by the Commission for a permit over which a local board has jurisdiction under a wetlands zoning ordinance, the Commission shall forward a copy of the application to that board within seven days.

B. The Commission shall, in conjunction with local wetlands boards and other affected state and federal agencies, develop an expedited process for issuing general wetlands permits to be used by applicants during emergency situations in which a determination has been made that there is a threat to public or private property, or to the health and safety of the public. The development of the general wetlands permit shall be in accordance with subdivision A 8 of § 2.2-4006.

1982, c. 300, § 62.1-13.5:2; 1992, c. 836; 1997, c. 868; 2010, c. 65.

§ 28.2-1308. Standards for use and development of wetlands; utilization of guidelines.

A. The following standards shall apply to the use and development of wetlands and shall be considered in the determination of whether any permit required by this chapter should be granted or denied:

1. Wetlands of primary ecological significance shall not be altered so that the ecological systems in the wetlands are unreasonably disturbed; and

2. Development in Tidewater Virginia, to the maximum extent practical, shall be concentrated in wetlands of lesser ecological significance, in vegetated wetlands which have been irreversibly disturbed before July 1, 1972, in nonvegetated wetlands which have been irreversibly disturbed prior to January 1, 1983, and in areas of Tidewater Virginia outside of wetlands.

B. The provisions of guidelines promulgated by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-1301 shall be considered in applying the standards listed in subsection A of this section.

C. When any activity authorized by a permit issued pursuant to this chapter is conditioned upon compensatory mitigation for adverse impacts to wetlands, the applicant may be permitted to satisfy all or part of such mitigation requirements by the purchase or use of credits from any wetlands mitigation bank, including any banks owned by the permit applicant, that has been approved and is operating in accordance with applicable federal and state guidance, laws, or regulations for the establishment, use and operation of mitigation banks as long as (i) the bank is in the same fourth order subbasin, as defined by the hydrologic unit boundaries of the National Watershed Boundary Dataset or by the hydrologic unit system or dataset utilized and depicted or described in the bank's approved mitigation banking instrument, as the impacted site, or in an adjacent subbasin within the same river watershed, as the impacted site, or it meets all the conditions found in clauses (a) through (d) and either clause (e) or (f) of this subsection; (ii) the bank is ecologically preferable to practicable on-site and off-site individual mitigation options, as defined by federal wetland regulations; and (iii) the banking instrument, if approved after July 1, 1996, has been approved by a process that included public review and comment. When the bank is not located in the same subbasin or adjacent subbasin within the same river watershed as the impacted site, the purchase or use of credits shall not be allowed unless the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Commission that (a) the impacts will occur as a result of a Virginia Department of Transportation linear project or as the result of a locality project for a locality whose jurisdiction encompasses multiple river watersheds; (b) there is no practical same river watershed mitigation alternative; (c) the impacts are less than one acre in a single and complete project within a subbasin; (d) there is no significant harm to water quality or fish and wildlife resources within the river watershed of the impacted site; and either (e) impacts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are mitigated within the Chesapeake Bay watershed as close as possible to the impacted site or (f) impacts within subbasins 02080108, 02080208, and 03010205, as defined by the National Watershed Boundary Dataset, are mitigated in-kind within those subbasins as close as possible to the impacted site. After July 1, 2002, the provisions of clause (f) shall apply only to impacts within subdivisions of the listed subbasins where overlapping watersheds exist, as determined by the Department of Environmental Quality, provided the Department has made such a determination by that date. For the purposes of this subsection, the hydrologic unit boundaries of the National Watershed Boundary Dataset or other hydrologic unit system may be adjusted by the Department of Environmental Quality to reflect site-specific geographic or hydrologic information provided by the bank sponsor.

D. Where an agreed-upon permit condition requires the contribution of in-lieu fees to offset permitted wetland losses, the wetlands board shall credit the applicant for any in-lieu fee payments made to the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund or another dedicated wetlands restoration fund with reference to the same activity.

For the purposes of this section, "river watershed" means the Potomac River Basin, Shenandoah River Basin, James River Basin, Rappahannock River Basin, Roanoke and Yadkin Rivers Basin, Chowan River Basin (including the Dismal Swamp and Albemarle Sound), Tennessee River Basin, Big Sandy River Basin, Chesapeake Bay and its Small Coastal Basins, Atlantic Ocean, York River Basin, and the New River Basin.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.3; 1982, c. 300; 1992, c. 836; 1996, c. 736; 1999, c. 8; 2011, c. 253; 2014, cc. 131, 332.

§ 28.2-1309. Emergency sand grading activities on nonvegetated wetlands located on the Atlantic Shoreline of Virginia Beach [Not set out].

Not set out. ( 1992, c. 836.)

§ 28.2-1310. Commissioner to review all decisions of wetlands boards.

The Commissioner shall review all decisions of wetlands boards and request the Commission to review a decision only when he believes the board failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the wetlands zoning ordinance.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.10; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1311. When Commission to review decision of wetlands board.

A. The Commission shall review a decision of a wetlands board when any of the following events occur:

1. An appeal is taken from the decision by the applicant or the county, city, or town where the wetlands are located.

2. The Commissioner requests the review. In order to make the request, the Commissioner shall notify the board, applicant, and the county, city, or town where the wetlands are located within ten days of receiving notice of the board's decision.

3. Twenty-five or more freeholders of property within the county, city, or town in which the proposed project is located sign and submit a petition to the Commission requesting the review. The petition shall indicate those specific instances where the petitioners allege that the board failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the wetlands zoning ordinance.

B. All requests for review or appeal shall be made within ten days of the date of the board's decision. The Commission shall hear and decide the review or appeal within forty-five days of receiving the request for review or notice of appeal. A continuance may be granted by the Commission on a motion of the applicant, the freeholders specified in subsection A of this section, or the county, city, or town where the wetlands are located.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.11; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1312. Procedure for review; notice of decision.

A. The Commissioner shall cause notice of the review or appeal to be given to the board, the applicant, the county, city, or town where the wetlands are located, and where applicable, to the freeholders specified in § 28.2-1311.

B. The Commission shall hear the appeal or conduct the review of the record transmitted by the board to the Commissioner. The Commission may take such additional evidence as may be necessary to resolve any controversy as to the correctness of the record. The Commission, in its discretion, may also receive such other evidence as the ends of justice require.

C. The Commission shall notify the parties of its decision within forty-eight hours of the appeal or review hearing.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.12, 62.1-13.14; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1313. When Commission to modify, remand, or reverse decision of wetlands board.

The Commission shall modify, remand, or reverse the decision of the wetlands board if:

1. The wetlands board, in reaching its decision, failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the wetlands zoning ordinance; or

2. The substantial rights of the appellant or the applicant have been prejudiced because the findings, conclusions, or decisions of the board are:

a. In violation of constitutional provisions;

b. In excess of statutory authority or jurisdiction of the wetlands board;

c. Made upon unlawful procedure;

d. Affected by other error of law;

e. Unsupported by the evidence on the record considered as a whole; or

f. Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.13; 1975, c. 467; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1314. Time for issuance of permit.

No permit shall be issued until the period within which a request for review or an appeal to the Commission may be made has expired. If a request for review is made or an appeal is noted, no activity for which the permit is required shall be commenced until the Commission has notified the parties of its determination.

1973, c. 65, § 62.1-13.14:1; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1315. Judicial review.

An appeal from any Commission decision granting or denying a permit or from any Commission decision on the review of or appeal from a board decision may be taken by the applicant, any of the freeholders specified in subsection A of § 28.2-1311, or the county, city, or town where the wetlands are located. Judicial review shall be pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.15; 1982, c. 300; 1986, c. 615; 1992, c. 836.

Article 4. Enforcement and Penalties.

§ 28.2-1316. Investigations and prosecutions.

The Commission may investigate all projects, whether proposed or ongoing, which alter wetlands. The Commission may prosecute all violations of any order, rule, or regulation of the Commission or of a wetlands board, or violation of any provision of this chapter. Wetlands boards may investigate all projects, whether proposed or ongoing, which alter wetlands located within their jurisdiction. Wetlands boards may prosecute all violations of their orders and any violation of the wetlands zoning ordinance under which they were established.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.16; 1975, c. 467; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1317. Monitoring, inspections, compliance, and restoration.

A. The Commissioner or board chairman may require a permittee to implement monitoring and reporting procedures they believe are reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the permit and this chapter.

B. The Commissioner or board chairman may require such on-site inspections as he believes are reasonably necessary to determine whether the measures required by the permit are being properly performed, or whether the provisions of this chapter are being violated. Prior to conducting any inspection, the Commissioner or board chairman shall provide notice to the resident owner, occupier, or operator, who shall be given an opportunity to accompany the site inspector. If it is determined that there is a failure to comply with the permit, the Commissioner or board chairman shall serve notice upon the permittee at the address specified in his permit application or by delivery at the site of the permitted activities to the person supervising those activities and designated in the permit to receive the notice. The notice shall describe the measures needed for compliance and the time within which these measures shall be completed. Failure of the person to comply within the specified period is a violation of this section.

C. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from the designated enforcement officer, the Commissioner or board chairman may, in conjunction with or subsequent to a notice to comply as specified in subsection B of this section, issue an order requiring all or part of the activities on the site to be stopped until the specified corrective measures have been taken. In the case of an activity not authorized under this chapter or where the alleged permit noncompliance is causing, or is in imminent danger of causing, significant harm to the wetlands protected by this chapter, the order may be issued without regard to whether the person has been issued a notice to comply pursuant to subsection B of this section. Otherwise, the order may be issued only after the permittee has failed to comply with the notice to comply. The order shall be served in the same manner as a notice to comply, and shall remain in effect for a period of seven days from the date of service pending application by the enforcing authority, permittee, resident owner, occupier, or operator for appropriate relief to the circuit court of the jurisdiction where the violation was alleged to have occurred. Upon completion of corrective action, the order shall immediately be lifted. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Commissioner or board chairman from taking any other action specified in § 28.2-1316.

D. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from a designated enforcement officer, the Commission or a wetlands board may order that the affected site be restored to predevelopment conditions if the Commission or board finds that restoration is necessary to recover lost resources or to prevent further damage to resources. The order shall specify the restoration necessary and establish a reasonable time for its completion. The order shall be issued only after a hearing with at least thirty days' notice to the affected person of the hearing's time, place, and purpose, and shall become effective immediately upon issuance by the Commission or board. The Commission or board shall require any scientific monitoring plan they believe necessary to ensure the successful reestablishment of wetlands protected by this chapter and may require that a prepaid contract acceptable to the Commission or board be in effect for the purpose of carrying out the scientific monitoring plan. The Commission or board may also require a reasonable bond or letter of credit in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it securing to the Commonwealth compliance with the conditions set forth in the restoration order. The appropriate court, upon petition by the Commission or board, may enforce any such restoration order by injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate remedy. Failure to complete the required restoration is a violation of this chapter.

E. The duties of the Commissioner or the board chairman under this section may be delegated to their respective designees; however, these designees shall not be designated enforcement officers.

1987, c. 436, § 62.1-13.16:1; 1990, c. 811; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1318. Violations; penalty.

Any person who knowingly, intentionally, or negligently violates any order, rule, or regulation of the Commission or of a wetlands board established pursuant to this chapter, any provision of this chapter or of a wetlands zoning ordinance enacted pursuant to this chapter, or any provision of a permit granted pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Following a conviction, every day the violation continues is a separate offense.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.18; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1319. Injunctions.

Upon the petition of the Commission or a wetlands board to the circuit court of the county or city where any act is done or threatened which is unlawful under this chapter, the court may enjoin the unlawful act and order the defendant to take any steps necessary to restore, protect, and preserve the wetlands involved. This remedy shall be exclusive of and in addition to any criminal penalty which may be imposed under § 28.2-1318.

1973, c. 65, § 62.1-13.18:1; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1320. Penalties.

A. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or who violates or fails, neglects, or refuses to obey any Commission or wetlands board notice, order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter shall, upon such finding by an appropriate circuit court, be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 for each day of violation. Such civil penalties may, at the discretion of the court assessing them, be directed to be paid into the treasury of the county, city, or town in which the violation occurred for the purpose of abating environmental damage to or restoring wetlands therein, in such a manner as the court may, by order, direct, except that where the violator is the county, city, or town itself, or its agent, the court shall direct the penalty to be paid into the state treasury.

B. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, and with the consent of any person who has violated any provision of this chapter or who has violated or failed, neglected, or refused to obey any Commission or wetlands board order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter, the Commission or wetlands board may provide, in an order issued by the Commission or wetlands board against such person, for the one-time payment of civil charges for each violation in specific sums, not to exceed $10,000 for each violation. Civil charges shall be in lieu of any appropriate civil penalty which could be imposed under subsection A of this section. Civil charges may be in addition to the cost of any restoration ordered by the Commission or a wetlands board.

1990, c. 811, § 62.1-13.18:2; 1992, c. 836.

Chapter 14. Coastal Primary Sand Dunes and Beaches.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 28.2-1400. Definitions.

A. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Beach" means the shoreline zone comprised of unconsolidated sandy material upon which there is a mutual interaction of the forces of erosion, sediment transport and deposition that extends from the low water line landward to where there is a marked change in either material composition or physiographic form such as a dune, bluff, or marsh, or where no such change can be identified, to the line of woody vegetation (usually the effective limit of stormwaves), or the nearest impermeable man-made structure, such as a bulkhead, revetment, or paved road.

"Coastal primary sand dune" or "dune" means a mound of unconsolidated sandy soil which is contiguous to mean high water, whose landward and lateral limits are marked by a change in grade from ten percent or greater to less than ten percent, and upon which is growing any of the following species: American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata); beach heather (Hudsonia tomentosa); dune bean (Strophostyles spp.); dusty miller (Artemisia stelleriana); saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens); seabeach sandwort (Honckenya peploides); sea oats (Uniola paniculata); sea rocket (Cakile edentula); seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens); Japanese sedge or Asiatic sand sedge (Carex kobomugi); Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana); broom sedge (Andropogon virginicus); and short dune grass (Panicum amarum). For purposes of this chapter, "coastal primary sand dune" or "dune" shall not include any mound of sand, sandy soil, or dredge spoil deposited by any person for the purpose of temporary storage, beach replenishment or beach nourishment, nor shall the slopes of any such mound be used to determine the landward or lateral limits of a coastal primary sand dune.

"Coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance" means the ordinance set forth in § 28.2-1403.

"County, city or town" means the governing body of the county, city or town.

"Governmental activity" means any of the services provided by Commonwealth or a county, city or town to its citizens for the purpose of maintaining public facilities, including but not limited to, such services as constructing, repairing and maintaining roads; providing street lights and sewage facilities; supplying and treating water; and constructing public buildings.

"Wetlands board" or "board" means the board created pursuant to § 28.2-1303.

B. Although separately defined in subsection A of this section, the terms "coastal primary sand dune," "dune," and "beach," when used in this chapter, shall be interchangeable.

1980, c. 660, §§ 62.1-13.21, 62.1-13.22; 1984, c. 556; 1985, c. 589; 1987, c. 499; 1989, c. 342; 1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112; 1998, c. 160; 2008, c. 20.

§ 28.2-1401. Powers and duties of Commission.

A. The Commission may receive gifts, grants, bequests, and devises of coastal primary sand dunes, beaches, and money which shall be held for the uses prescribed by the donor, grantor, or testator and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

B. The Commission shall preserve and protect coastal primary sand dunes and beaches and prevent their despoliation and destruction. Whenever practical, the Commission shall accommodate necessary economic development in a manner consistent with the protection of these features. The Commission shall manage any coastal primary sand dunes and beaches it receives as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of this title.

C. In order to perform its duties under this section and to assist counties, cities and towns in regulating coastal primary sand dunes and beaches, the Commission shall, with the advice and assistance of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, promulgate guidelines which describe the consequences of use of these dunes and beaches.

D. In developing guidelines or regulations under this chapter, the Commission shall consult with all affected state agencies. Consistent with other legal rights, consideration shall be given to the importance of coastal primary sand dunes with their unique physiographic features which, in their natural state, serve as protective barriers from the effects of flooding and erosion caused by coastal storms, thereby protecting life and property; provide an essential source of natural sand replenishment for beaches and an important natural habitat for coastal fauna; and enhance the scenic and recreational attractiveness of Virginia's coastal area.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.17; 1980, c. 660, §§ 62.1-13.21, 62.1-13.24; 1984, c. 556; 1989, c. 342; 1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112; 1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1402. Expired.

Expired.

Article 2. Coastal Primary Sand Dune Ordinance and Boards.

§ 28.2-1403. Certain counties, cities and towns authorized to adopt coastal primary sand dune ordinance.

Any of the following counties, cities and towns which adopt a wetlands zoning ordinance pursuant to § 28.2-1302 may adopt the coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance which is set out in this section: the Counties of Accomack, Arlington, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Essex, Fairfax, Gloucester, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Prince George, Prince William, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Surry, Westmoreland, and York; and the Cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk, Petersburg, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Richmond, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg; and the Town of Cape Charles. In the event that a locality has not adopted a wetlands zoning ordinance pursuant to Chapter 13 (§ 28.2-1300 et seq.) or repeals it if already adopted, such locality may adopt or continue to administer the ordinance contained herein provided the locality appoints a wetlands board following the procedure specified in § 28.2-1303. Any county or city which has adopted the Coastal Primary Sand Dune Zoning Ordinance prior to October 1, 1992, shall amend the ordinance to conform it to the ordinance contained herein by October 1, 1992. The following ordinance is the only coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance under which any board shall operate after October 1, 1992.

Coastal Primary Sand Dune Zoning Ordinance

§ 1. The governing body of ____________________, acting pursuant to Chapter 14 (§ 28.2-1400 et seq.) of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia, adopts this ordinance regulating the use and development of coastal primary sand dunes. Whenever coastal primary sand dunes are referred to in this ordinance, such references shall also include beaches.

§ 2. As used in this ordinance, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Beach" means the shoreline zone comprised of unconsolidated sandy material upon which there is a mutual interaction of the forces of erosion, sediment transport and deposition that extends from the low water line landward to where there is a marked change in either material composition or physiographic form such as a dune, bluff, or marsh, or where no such change can be identified, to the line of woody vegetation (usually the effective limit of stormwaves), or the nearest impermeable man-made structure, such as a bulkhead, revetment, or paved road.

"Coastal primary sand dune" or "dune" means a mound of unconsolidated sandy soil which is contiguous to mean high water, whose landward and lateral limits are marked by a change in grade from ten percent or greater to less than ten percent, and upon which is growing any of the following species: American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata); beach heather (Hudsonia tomentosa); dune bean (Strophostyles spp.); dusty miller (Artemisia stelleriana); saltmeadow hay (Spartina patens); seabeach sandwort (Honckenya peploides); sea oats (Uniola paniculata); sea rocket (Cakile edentula); seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens); Japanese sedge or Asiatic sand sedge (Carex kobomugi); Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana); broom sedge (Andropogon virginicus); and short dune grass (Panicum amarum). For purposes of this ordinance, "coastal primary sand dune" shall not include any mound of sand, sandy soil, or dredge spoil deposited by any person for the purpose of temporary storage, beach replenishment or beach nourishment, nor shall the slopes of any such mound be used to determine the landward or lateral limits of a coastal primary sand dune.

"Commission" means the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Marine Resources.

"County, city and town" means the governing body of the county, city and town.

"Governmental activity" means any of the services provided by the Commonwealth or a county, city or town to its citizens for the purpose of maintaining public facilities, including but not limited to, such services as constructing, repairing, and maintaining roads; providing street lights and sewage facilities; supplying and treating water; and constructing public buildings.

"Wetlands board" or "board" means the board created pursuant to § 28.2-1303 of the Code of Virginia.

§ 3. The following uses of and activities in dunes are authorized if otherwise permitted by law:

1. The construction and maintenance of noncommercial walkways which do not alter the contour of the coastal primary sand dune;

2. The construction and maintenance of observation platforms which are not an integral part of any dwelling and which do not alter the contour of the coastal primary sand dune;

3. The planting of beach grasses or other vegetation for the purpose of stabilizing coastal primary sand dunes;

4. The placement of sand fences or other material on or adjacent to coastal primary sand dunes for the purpose of stabilizing such features, except that this provision shall not be interpreted to authorize the placement of any material which presents a public health or safety hazard;

5. Sand replenishment activities of any private or public concern, provided no sand shall be removed from any coastal primary sand dune unless authorized by lawful permit;

6. The normal maintenance of any groin, jetty, riprap, bulkhead, or other structure designed to control beach erosion which may abut a coastal primary sand dune;

7. The normal maintenance or repair of existing roads, highways, railroad beds, and facilities of the United States, this Commonwealth or any of its counties or cities, or of any person, provided no coastal primary sand dunes are altered;

8. Outdoor recreational activities, provided the activities do not alter the natural contour of the coastal primary sand dune or destroy the vegetation growing thereon;

9. The conservation and research activities of the Commission, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and other conservation-related agencies;

10. The construction and maintenance of aids to navigation which are authorized by governmental authority;

11. Activities pursuant to any emergency declaration by the governing body of any local government or the Governor of the Commonwealth or any public health officer for the purposes of protecting the public health and safety;

12. Governmental activity in coastal primary sand dunes owned or leased by the Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof; and

13. The construction of living shoreline projects authorized pursuant to a general permit developed under subsection B of § 28.2-104.1.

§ 4. A. Any person who desires to use or alter any coastal primary sand dune within this ____________________ (county, city or town), other than for the purpose of conducting the activities specified in § 3 of this ordinance, shall first file an application directly with the wetlands board or with the Commission.

B. The permit application shall include the following: the name and address of the applicant; a detailed description of the proposed activities and a map, drawn to an appropriate and uniform scale, showing the area of dunes directly affected, the location of the proposed work thereon, the area of any proposed fill and excavation, the location, width, depth and length of any disposal area, and the location of all existing and proposed structures, sewage collection and treatment facilities, utility installations, roadways, and other related appurtenances or facilities, including those on adjacent uplands; a description of the type of equipment to be used and the means of equipment access to the activity site; the names and addresses of owners of record of adjacent land; an estimate of cost; the primary purpose of the project; any secondary purposes of the project, including further projects; the public benefit to be derived from the proposed project; a complete description of measures to be taken during and after the alteration to reduce detrimental offsite effects; the completion date of the proposed work, project, or structure; and such additional materials and documentation as the wetlands board may require.

C. A nonrefundable processing fee shall accompany each permit application. The fee shall be set by the applicable governing body with due regard for the services to be rendered, including the time, skill, and administrator's expense. No person shall be required to file two separate applications for permits if the proposed project will require permits under this ordinance and Chapter 13 (§ 28.2-1300 et seq.) of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia. Under those circumstances, the fee shall be established pursuant to this ordinance.

§ 5. All applications, maps, and documents submitted shall be open for public inspection at the office of the recording officer of this ____________________ (county, city or town).

§ 6. Not later than 60 days after receipt of a complete application, the wetlands board shall hold a public hearing on the application. The applicant, local governing body, Commissioner, owner of record of any land adjacent to the coastal primary sand dunes in question, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the State Water Control Board, the Department of Transportation, and any governmental agency expressing an interest in the application shall be notified of the hearing. The board shall mail these notices not less than 20 days prior to the date set for the hearing. The wetlands board shall also cause notice of the hearing to be published at least once a week for two weeks prior to such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in this ____________________ (county, city or town). The costs of publication shall be paid by the applicant.

§ 7. A. Approval of a permit application shall require the affirmative vote of three members of a five-member board or four members of a seven-member board.

B. The chairman of the board, or in his absence the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. Any person may appear and be heard at the public hearing. Each witness at the hearing may submit a concise written statement of his testimony. The board shall make a record of the proceeding, which shall include the application, any written statements of witnesses, a summary of statements of all witnesses, the findings and decision of the board, and the rationale for the decision.

C. The board shall make its determination within 30 days of the hearing. If the board fails to act within that time, the application shall be deemed approved. Within 48 hours of its determination, the board shall notify the applicant and the Commissioner of its determination. If the board fails to make a determination within the 30-day period, it shall promptly notify the applicant and the Commission that the application is deemed approved.

D. If the board's decision is reviewed or appealed, the board shall transmit the record of its hearing to the Commissioner. Upon a final determination by the Commission, the record shall be returned to the board. The record shall be open for public inspection at the office of the recording officer of this ____________________ (county, city or town).

§ 8. The board may require a reasonable bond or letter of credit in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it, securing to the Commonwealth compliance with the conditions and limitations set forth in the permit. The board may, after a hearing held pursuant to this ordinance, suspend or revoke a permit if the applicant has failed to comply with any of the conditions or limitations set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the work described in the application. The board may, after a hearing, suspend a permit if the applicant fails to comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the application.

§ 9. In fulfilling its responsibilities under this ordinance, the board shall preserve and protect coastal primary sand dunes and beaches and prevent their despoliation and destruction. However, whenever practical, the board shall accommodate necessary economic development in a manner consistent with the protection of these features.

§ 10. A. In deciding whether to grant, grant in modified form, or deny a permit, the board shall consider the following:

1. The testimony of any person in support of or in opposition to the permit application;

2. The impact of the proposed development on the public health, safety, and welfare; and

3. The proposed development's conformance with standards prescribed in § 28.2-1408 of the Code of Virginia and guidelines promulgated pursuant to § 28.2-1401 of the Code of Virginia.

B. The board shall grant the permit if all of the following criteria are met:

1. The anticipated public and private benefit of the proposed activity exceeds its anticipated public and private detriment.

2. The proposed development conforms with the standards prescribed in § 28.2-1408 of the Code of Virginia and guidelines promulgated pursuant to § 28.2-1401 of the Code of Virginia.

3. The proposed activity does not violate the purposes and intent of this ordinance or Chapter 14 (§ 28.2-1400 et seq.) of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia.

C. If the board finds that any of the criteria listed in subsection B of this section are not met, the board shall deny the permit application but allow the applicant to resubmit the application in modified form.

§ 11. The permit shall be in writing, signed by the chairman of the board, and notarized. A copy of the permit shall be transmitted to the Commissioner.

§ 12. No permit shall be granted without an expiration date established by the board. Upon proper application, the board may extend the permit expiration date.

§ 13. No permit granted by a wetlands board shall in any way affect the right of any person to seek compensation for any injury in fact incurred by him because of the permitted activity.

1980, c. 660, §§ 62.1-13.21, 62.1-13.25; 1984, c. 556; 1989, c. 342; 1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112; 1998, c. 160; 2008, c. 20; 2014, cc. 112, 143; 2014, cc. 112, 143.

§ 28.2-1404. Meetings, quorum, rules, etc., of wetlands boards; records and reports.

For the conduct of any wetlands board hearing and the taking of any action, a quorum shall be not less than three members of a five-member board nor less than four members of a seven-member board. The board may make, alter, and rescind rules and forms for its procedures, provided they are consistent with state law and local ordinances. The board shall keep a full public record of its proceedings and shall submit a report of its activities to the local governing body at least once each year. The board shall forward a copy of each report to the Commission.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1405. Local governing body to supply meeting space and services for wetlands board.

Every county, city or town enacting an ordinance pursuant to this chapter shall supply the board with reasonable meeting space and necessary secretarial, clerical, legal, and consulting services. The local governing body is authorized to expend the public funds necessary to comply with the provisions of this section.

1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112.

Article 3. Permits and Review.

§ 28.2-1406. Permits required for certain activities; issuance of permits by Commission.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any activity which would require a permit under a coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance without such a permit. Until the county, city or town in which a person proposes to conduct an activity which would require a permit under the ordinance adopts the ordinance, such person shall apply for a permit directly to the Commission. Permit applicants desiring to use or develop dunes or beaches owned by the Commonwealth shall also apply directly to the Commission.

B. The Commission shall process permit applications in accordance with the provisions of the Coastal Primary Sand Dune Zoning Ordinance and the Commissioner, or his authorized representative, shall sign any permit granted; however, the Commission may designate one or more hearing officers who may, in lieu of the Commission, conduct public hearings as required under § 28.2-1403 and thereafter report their findings and recommendations to the Commission.

1972, c. 711, § 62.1-13.9; 1980, c. 660, § 62.1-13.26; 1992, c. 836; 1994, cc. 112, 125.

§ 28.2-1407. Administrative procedures.

The Commission may, in conjunction with local wetlands boards and other affected state and federal agencies, develop administrative procedures to expedite the processing of applications for permits required under this chapter. Whenever an application is received by the Commission for a permit over which a local board has jurisdiction under a coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance, the Commission shall forward a copy of the application to that board within seven days.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1408. Standards for use of coastal primary sand dunes.

No permanent alteration of or construction upon any coastal primary sand dune shall take place which would (i) impair the natural functions of the dune, (ii) physically alter the contour of the dune, or (iii) destroy vegetation growing thereon unless the wetlands board or the Commission, whichever is applicable, determines that there will be no significant adverse ecological impact, or that the granting of a permit is clearly necessary and consistent with the public interest, considering all material factors.

1980, c. 660, § 62.1-13.23; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1408.1. Expired.

Expired.

§ 28.2-1408.2. Exemptions.

A. Notwithstanding the requirements of § 28.2-1408 or any other provision of this Code, the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board shall make an ongoing determination in the Sandbridge Beach Subdivision to determine which structures or properties are in clear and imminent danger from erosion and storm damage due to severe wave action or storm surge. The owners of such structures or properties shall not be prohibited from erecting and maintaining protective bulkheads or other equivalent structural improvements of the type, size, and configuration as approved by the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board. As used in this section, "Sandbridge Beach Subdivision" means the area that is bounded on the north by Dam Neck Naval Base, on the west by Sandpiper Road, and on the south by Little Island Park.

The Virginia Beach Wetlands Board shall not impose arbitrary or unreasonable conditions upon its approval of any such bulkhead or other structural improvement. The Virginia Beach Wetlands Board shall maintain a continuing responsibility to ensure that each bulkhead or structural improvement constructed under the authority of this section is maintained in a condition that is safe, structurally sound, and otherwise in conformity with the conditions imposed by the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board.

Upon submission of an application to the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board pursuant to this section, as a requirement for approval, the applicant must consent in writing to any subsequent construction approved by the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board whereby an adjacent property owner desires to tie in a bulkhead at no additional cost with the bulkhead proposed by the applicant. Such consent shall constitute a waiver of property line defenses relating to the bulkhead line.

B. 1. The Virginia Beach Wetlands Board may develop and adopt, after holding a public hearing, a General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles for properties in the Sandbridge Beach Subdivision. The Virginia Beach Wetlands Board shall publish notice of each hearing at least once a week for two consecutive weeks prior to such hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in Virginia Beach.

2. The Norfolk Wetlands Board may develop and adopt, after holding a public hearing, a General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles for properties in the City of Norfolk. The Norfolk Wetlands Board shall publish notice of each hearing at least once a week for two consecutive weeks prior to such hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in the City of Norfolk.

C. Any General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles adopted by a wetlands board pursuant to subsection B shall set forth sand management practices that require owners of real property in the permit area to undertake responsible, cost-effective sand management practices that (i) protect and enhance the value and use of their property and (ii) preserve and protect coastal primary sand dunes and public beaches and prevent their despoliation and destruction. The General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles shall specify all permissible sand management practices, including the manner in which sand removed from these properties shall be transported to and placed upon an appropriate sand placement and spreading zone as may be designated in the Placement Profiles adopted by the wetlands board. The sand shall be in the condition of clean beach sand prior to such transport and placement. A wetlands board may from time to time revise such General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles as appropriate, in accordance with this subsection and subsections B and D.

D. Following adoption of the General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profiles, the owner of real property in the permit area, or the designee of such owner, may apply for coverage under the applicable General Permit for Sand Management and Placement Profile by submitting a registration statement to the local wetlands board on a form to be developed by the wetlands board requiring the following information: (i) owner's name; (ii) owner's address; (iii) owner's telephone number and email address; (iv) address of property or properties; (v) designee's name, if any; (vi) designee's address; (vii) designee's telephone number and email address; (viii) identification of the applicable Placement Profile for the property; (ix) signature of owner or designee; and (x) date of application. The wetlands board may impose a reasonable fee in connection with processing the registration statement.

The wetlands board shall, within 30 days of receipt of a registration statement, notify the owner or his designee in writing whether the registration statement is approved or disapproved. The wetlands board's written notice of approval or disapproval may be delivered to the applicant via email at the email address stated in the registration statement or it may be delivered via United States mail at the address stated in the registration statement, or both. If the wetlands board fails to notify the applicant in writing within 30 days of receipt of a registration statement, then the registration statement is deemed approved. If the registration statement is disapproved, the wetlands board shall provide in its notification to the applicant a complete statement of the reason for the disapproval. Notwithstanding the requirements of § 28.2-1408 or any other provision of law, if the registration statement is approved, then the applicant is authorized to manage sand in accordance with the applicable General Permit for Sand Management for a period of three years from the date of the application. The approval or disapproval of a registration statement submitted by an applicant is a decision of the wetlands board that is reviewable pursuant to § 28.2-1411.

2009, c. 391; 2017, c. 338.

§ 28.2-1409. Emergency sand grading activities on sand dunes located on the Atlantic Shoreline of Virginia Beach [Not set out].

Not set out. ( 1992, c. 836.)

§ 28.2-1410. Commissioner to review all decisions of wetlands boards.

The Commissioner shall review all decisions of wetlands boards and request the Commission to review a decision only when he believes the board failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1411. When Commission to review decision of wetlands board.

A. The Commission shall review a decision of a wetlands board when any of the following events occur:

1. An appeal is taken from the decision by the applicant or by the county, city or town where the dunes are located.

2. The Commissioner requests the review. In order to make the request, the Commissioner shall notify the board, applicant, and county, city or town where the dunes are located within ten days of receiving notice of the board's decision.

3. Twenty-five or more freeholders of property within the county, city or town in which the proposed project is located sign and submit a petition to the Commission requesting the review. The petition shall indicate those specific instances where the petitioners allege that the board failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance.

B. All requests for review or appeal shall be made within ten days of the date of the board's decision. The Commission shall hear and decide the review or appeal within forty-five days of receiving the request for review or notice of appeal. A continuance may be granted by the Commission on a motion of the applicant, the freeholders specified in subsection A of this section, or the county, city or town where the dunes are located.

1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112.

§ 28.2-1412. Procedure for review; notice of decision.

A. The Commissioner shall cause notice of the review or appeal to be given to the board, the applicant, the county, city or town where the dunes are located, and where applicable, to the freeholders specified in § 28.2-1411.

B. The Commission shall hear the appeal or conduct the review on the record transmitted by the board to the Commissioner. The Commission may take such additional evidence as may be necessary to resolve any controversy as to the correctness of the record. The Commission, in its discretion, may receive such other evidence as the ends of justice require.

C. The Commission shall notify the parties of its decision within forty-eight hours of the appeal or review hearing.

1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112.

§ 28.2-1413. When Commission to modify, remand or reverse decision of wetlands board.

The Commission shall modify, remand or reverse the decision of the wetlands board if:

1. The wetlands board, in reaching its decision, failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance; or

2. The substantial rights of the appellant or the applicant have been prejudiced because the findings, conclusions, or decisions of the board are:

a. In violation of constitutional provisions;

b. In excess of statutory authority or jurisdiction of the wetlands board;

c. Made upon unlawful procedure;

d. Affected by other error of law;

e. Unsupported by the evidence on the record considered as a whole; or

f. Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1414. Time for issuance of permit.

No permit shall be issued until the period within which a request for review or an appeal to the Commission may be made has expired. If a request for review is made or an appeal is noted, no activity for which the permit is required shall be commenced until the Commission has notified the parties of its determination.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1415. Judicial review.

An appeal from any Commission decision granting or denying a permit or from any Commission decision on the review of or appeal from a board decision may be taken by the applicant, any of the freeholders specified in subsection A of § 28.2-1411, or by the county, city or town where the dunes or beaches are located. Judicial review shall be pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

1992, c. 836; 1994, c. 112.

Article 4. Enforcement and Penalties.

§ 28.2-1416. Investigations and prosecutions.

The Commission may investigate all projects, whether proposed or ongoing, which alter dunes or beaches. The Commission may prosecute all violations of any order, rule, or regulation of the Commission or of a wetlands board, or violation of any provision of this chapter. Wetlands boards may investigate all projects, whether proposed or ongoing, which alter dunes or beaches located within their jurisdiction. Wetlands boards may prosecute all violations of their orders and any violation of any provision of the coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance which they administer.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1417. Monitoring, inspections, compliance, and restoration.

A. The Commissioner or board chairman may require a permittee to implement monitoring and reporting procedures they believe are reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the permit and this chapter.

B. The Commissioner or board chairman may require such on-site inspections as he believes are reasonably necessary to determine whether the measures required by the permit are being properly performed, or whether the provisions of this chapter are being violated. Prior to conducting such inspections, the Commissioner or board chairman shall provide notice to the resident owner, occupier, or operator, who shall be given an opportunity to accompany the site inspector. If it is determined that there is a failure to comply with the permit, the Commissioner or board chairman shall serve notice upon the permittee at the address specified in his permit application or by delivery at the site of the permitted activities to the person supervising the activities and designated in the permit to receive the notice. The notice shall describe the measures needed for compliance and the time within which these measures shall be completed. Failure of the person to comply within the specified period is a violation of this section.

C. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from the designated enforcement officer, the Commissioner or board chairman may, in conjunction with or subsequent to a notice to comply as specified in subsection B of this section, issue an order requiring all or part of the activities on the site to be stopped until the specified corrective measures have been taken. In the case of an activity not authorized under this chapter or where the alleged permit noncompliance is causing, or is in imminent danger of causing, significant harm to the coastal primary sand dunes protected by this chapter, the order may be issued without regard to whether the person has been issued a notice to comply pursuant to subsection B of this section. Otherwise, the order may be issued only after the permittee has failed to comply with the notice to comply. The order shall be served in the same manner as a notice to comply, and shall remain in effect for a period of seven days from the date of service pending application by the enforcing authority, permittee, resident owner, occupier, or operator for appropriate relief to the circuit court of the jurisdiction wherein the violation was alleged to have occurred. Upon completion of corrective action, the order shall immediately be lifted. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Commissioner or board chairman from taking any other action specified in § 28.2-1416.

D. Upon receipt of a sworn complaint of a substantial violation of this chapter from a designated enforcement officer, the Commission or a wetlands board may order that the affected site be restored to predevelopment conditions if the Commission or board finds that restoration is necessary to recover lost resources or to prevent further damage to resources. The order shall specify the restoration necessary and establish a reasonable time for its completion. The order shall be issued only after a hearing with at least thirty days' notice to the affected person of the hearing's time, place, and purpose, and shall become effective immediately upon issuance by the Commission or board. The Commission or board shall require any scientific monitoring plan they believe is necessary to ensure the successful reestablishment of coastal primary sand dunes protected by this chapter and may require that a prepaid contract acceptable to the Commission or board be in effect for the purpose of carrying out the scientific monitoring plan. The Commission or board may also require a reasonable bond or letter of credit in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it securing to the Commonwealth compliance with the conditions set forth in the restoration order. The appropriate court, upon petition by the Commission or board, may enforce any such restoration order by injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate remedy. Failure to complete the required restoration is a violation of this chapter.

E. The duties of the Commissioner or the board chairman under this section may be delegated to their respective designees; however, these designees shall not be designated enforcement officers.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1418. Violations; penalty.

Any person who knowingly, intentionally, or negligently violates any order, rule, or regulation of the Commission or of a wetlands board, any provision of this chapter or of a coastal primary sand dune zoning ordinance enacted pursuant to this chapter, or any provision of a permit granted pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Following a conviction, every day the violation continues is a separate offense.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1419. Injunctions.

Upon the petition of the Commission or a wetlands board to the circuit court of the county or city where any act is done or threatened which is unlawful under this chapter, the court may enjoin the unlawful act and order the defendant to take any steps necessary to restore, protect, and preserve the dunes or beaches involved. This remedy shall be exclusive of and in addition to any criminal penalty which may be imposed under § 28.2-1418.

1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-1420. Penalties.

A. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or who violates or fails, neglects, or refuses to obey any Commission or wetlands board notice, order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter shall, upon such finding by an appropriate circuit court, be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 for each day of violation. Such civil penalties may, at the discretion of the court assessing them, be directed to be paid into the treasury of the county, city, or town in which the violation occurred for the purpose of abating environmental damage to or restoring dunes or beaches therein, in such a manner as the court may, by order, direct, except that where the violator is the county, city, or town itself, or its agent, the court shall direct the penalty to be paid into the state treasury.

B. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained under this chapter, and with the consent of any person who has violated any provision of this chapter or who has violated or failed, neglected, or refused to obey any Commission or wetlands board order, rule, regulation, or permit condition authorized by this chapter, the Commission or wetlands board may provide, in an order issued by the Commission or wetlands board against such person, for the one-time payment of civil charges for each violation in specific sums, not to exceed $10,000 for each violation. Civil charges shall be in lieu of any appropriate civil penalty which could be imposed under subsection A of this section. Civil charges may be in addition to the cost of any restoration ordered by the Commission or a wetlands board.

1990, c. 811, § 62.1-13.27:1; 1992, c. 836.

Chapter 15. Ungranted Shores of the Sea, Marshes and Meadowlands.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 28.2-1500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Beach" shall have the same meaning ascribed thereto in subsection A of § 28.2-1400.

"Initial inventory" means a set of maps prepared by, at the direction of, or with the approval of the Commission which have been filed prior to January 1, 1995, with the clerk of the circuit court and the commissioner of revenue in any county in that portion of the Commonwealth separated from the larger portion of the Commonwealth by the Chesapeake Bay and in which the ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands mapped therein are located.

"Inventory" means a set of maps prepared by, at the direction of, or with the approval of the Commission, mapping certain ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands in any county in that portion of the Commonwealth separated from the larger portion of the Commonwealth by the Chesapeake Bay.

"Marsh" or "meadowland" shall have the same meaning ascribed to vegetated wetlands in § 28.2-1300.

"Shores of the sea" means a beach or any unvegetated lands lying contiguous to mean low water and between mean low water and mean high water.

"Ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands" means (i) shores of the sea which were not conveyed by special grant or compact according to law prior to April 1, 1873, and which have not been conveyed by special grant of the General Assembly on or after that date and (ii) marsh or meadowlands which were not appropriated and remained ungranted prior to February 24, 1888, and which have not been conveyed by special grant of the General Assembly on or after that date.

"Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council" or "Council" means the Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council created pursuant to § 28.2-1505.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1501. Powers and duties of Commission.

A. The Commission may receive gifts, grants, bequests, and devises of shores of the sea, marsh, meadowlands, and money which shall be held for the uses prescribed by the donor, grantor, or testator in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Commission shall manage any shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands it receives as prescribed in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of this chapter.

B. The Commission may promulgate regulations and guidelines necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1502. Ownership of ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands.

All ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands shall remain the property of the Commonwealth. Such ungranted marsh and meadowlands which have been used as a commons by the people of the Commonwealth shall continue as a commons for the purpose of fishing, fowling, hunting, and the taking and catching of oysters and other shellfish. All ungranted shores of the sea may be used as a commons for the purpose of fishing, fowling, hunting, and the taking and catching of oysters and other shellfish. The Commission shall manage all ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of this chapter.

1995, c. 850.

Article 2. Management of Ungranted Shores of the Sea, Marsh and Meadowlands.

§ 28.2-1503. Management of lands.

The Commission shall manage all ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands, and all other lands of the Commonwealth for which management duties have been given to the Commission, as steward for the property interests of the Commonwealth. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall cooperate with the Commission and, upon request, shall assist the Commission in the performance of its duties and responsibilities under this chapter.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1504. Preparation of management plan.

A. The Commission shall prepare and implement a plan for the management of the Commonwealth's ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands. The management plan, and any regulations and guidelines promulgated to implement the management plan, shall conserve and protect the shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands, and the natural values and natural processes associated therewith. To the extent not inconsistent with that goal, the management plan shall also consider the traditional uses of such properties and the promotion of tourism and commerce. Through methods consistent with that goal, the management plan, and any regulations and guidelines promulgated to implement the management plan, shall recognize the use of such properties, where they have been so used in the past, as a commons by the people of the Commonwealth for the purpose of fishing, fowling, hunting, and the taking and catching of oysters and other shellfish. The Commission shall review the management plan every five years.

B. In developing regulations, guidelines, or management plans under this chapter, the Commission shall consult with the Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1505. Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council established.

A. There is hereby created the Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council. The Council shall advise the Commission on issues relating to the management of ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands, and shall advise the Commission on the development of the management plan prepared pursuant to § 28.2-1504.

B. The Council shall consist of six members appointed by the Governor, who shall be residents of a county in which there are ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, and who shall represent tourism and commerce, traditional uses of shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands, and conservation interests; however, if any private person or entity owns more than fifty percent of the land area of the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore that are privately owned, such person or entity shall be one of such members. In appointing these members, the Governor shall consider recommendations submitted by the boards of supervisors of counties in which the Commission is managing the largest portions of the ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands. The Council shall also include (i) the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation or his designee, (ii) the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or his designee, and (iii) the Commissioner or his designee.

C. The term of office of each appointed member shall be for three years. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be made to fill the unexpired term.

D. Members shall receive no compensation for their services but shall receive reimbursement for actual expenses.

E. The Council shall meet at the call of the Commissioner or at least once per year.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1506. Filing of initial inventories; amended or supplemental inventories.

Whenever any privately owned land in any of such counties is to be transferred, and the transferor or the transferee requests clarification as to whether any portion of such land is claimed by the Commonwealth as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, the Commission shall review the matter, and, if it determines that all or any portion of such land constitutes ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, the Commission shall file an amended or supplemental inventory as it may deem appropriate. Any such amended or supplemental inventory shall be filed in the same offices as the initial inventory for such area. The Commission shall not prepare or file any such amended or supplemental inventory unless (1) such classification is requested by a transferor or transferee as provided herein, or (2) (a) the federal government has asserted title to any ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands excluding the Wallops Island Naval/Aegis facility and all land adjacent thereto lying to the south that is used for a federal National Wildlife Refuge, (b) both the Governor and Attorney General concur in writing that all or any of the property to which the federal government has asserted title constitutes ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, and (c) such amended or supplemental inventory only asserts the Commonwealth's title to the portion of such property that constitutes ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands as concurred in by the Governor and the Attorney General.

1995, c. 850.

Article 3. Inventories of Certain Ungranted Shores of the Sea, Marsh and Meadowlands.

§ 28.2-1507. Notice of filing of inventories.

A. The Commission shall cause to be published, within ninety days following the effective date of this section, in a newspaper of general circulation published at the state capital, in a newspaper having general circulation in the counties where the initial inventories have been filed, and in such other newspapers in the Commonwealth as the Commission generally publishes notices pursuant to § 2.2-4007.03, a notice of the filing of the initial inventories. The notice shall state that any person claiming ownership of an interest in lands designated in an initial inventory as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands is required to assert the claim as provided in § 28.2-1509 within two years following the effective date of this section, or any action to assert such claim shall be barred.

B. The Commission shall cause to be published a notice of the filing of any amended or supplemental inventory in a newspaper having general circulation in the county for which such amended or supplemental inventory applies. The notice shall refer to the initial inventory and any previous amended or supplemental inventory with respect thereto, and shall state that any person claiming ownership of an interest in lands designated therein as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands is required to assert the claim as provided in § 28.2-1509 within two years following the filing of the amended or supplemental inventory, or any action to assert such claim shall be barred.

C. The failure of the Commission to comply with the requirements of this section shall not impair the Commonwealth's rights of ownership in any ungranted shores of the sea, marsh, or meadowlands.

1995, c. 850; 2007, cc. 873, 916.

§ 28.2-1508. Effect of inventories.

The failure to include any ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands in an initial inventory shall not affect the Commonwealth's rights of ownership in such property.

1995, c. 850.

Article 4. Resolution of Conflicting Claims to Inventoried Property.

§ 28.2-1509. Claims to lands designated in an inventory.

A. Any person claiming ownership of an interest in lands designated as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland in an initial inventory, or in any amended or supplemental inventory, may bring an action for declaratory judgment to determine title to the land pursuant to § 8.01-184, an action to establish the boundaries to land pursuant to § 8.01-179, or an action of ejectment pursuant to § 8.01-131.

B. Any action pursuant to subsection A with respect to lands designated as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland in an initial inventory shall be brought within two years following the effective date of this section. Any action to assert a claim in such land shall be barred unless brought within such two-year period.

C. Any action pursuant to subsection A with respect to lands designated as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland in an amended or supplemental inventory shall be brought within two years following the filing of such amended or supplemental inventory. Any action to assert a claim in such lands shall be barred unless brought within such two-year period.

D. Upon entry of a final judgment ruling that any lands designated in an initial inventory, or in an amended or supplemental inventory, as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands are not property of the Commonwealth, the Commission shall file an amended inventory correcting its designation of such property.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1510. Approval of amended or supplemental inventory.

The Commission shall not approve an amended or supplemental inventory, if such amended or supplemental inventory initially designates a parcel of land as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, until notice of the Commission's intention so to do has been published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the county where such land is located. Such notice shall specify the time and place of a public hearing at which persons affected may appear and present their views. In addition, the Commission shall give written notice of the amended or supplemental inventory, and of the public hearing, to the owner or owners of each parcel so designated, if known, by postpaid mail to the address of the owner as shown in the land records of the circuit court for the county. Nothing in this section shall be construed to invalidate any subsequently filed amended or supplemental inventory because of the inadvertent failure of the Commission to give written notice to any person listed as having an ownership interest in such land in the land records of the circuit court for the county. After the public hearing, the Commission may approve, amend, or disapprove such amended or supplemental inventory.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1511. Claims to ungranted shores of the sea, marsh and meadowlands proposed for designation in amended or supplemental inventory.

A. The Commission shall not file any amended or supplemental inventory, if such amended or supplemental inventory initially designates a parcel of land as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland, unless the Commission has approved such amended or supplemental inventory as provided in § 28.2-1510. The Commission shall give notice of its intention to file such amended or supplemental inventory to any person listed as having an ownership interest in such land in the land records of the circuit court for the county. The notice shall be sent by postpaid mail to the address of the person as shown on the land book. The Commission shall also cause notice of its intent to file an amended or supplemental inventory to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where such land is located.

B. Any person claiming ownership of an interest in lands described in a notice given pursuant to subsection A may bring an action for declaratory judgment to determine title to the land pursuant to § 8.01-184, to establish the boundaries to land pursuant to § 8.01-179, or an action of ejectment pursuant to § 8.01-131. Any such action shall be brought within two years following publication of the notice pursuant to subsection A; however, the failure of a person claiming ownership of such lands to commence an action within the two-year period as provided in this subsection shall not bar such person from asserting a claim of ownership as provided in § 28.2-1509.

C. If an action is not commenced within the two-year period as provided in subsection B, the Commission may file an amended or supplemental inventory designating as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands the parcels as to which no action has been commenced. Upon filing the amended or supplemental inventory, the Commission shall cause to be published a notice as provided in subsection B of § 28.2-1507.

D. If an action is commenced within the two-year period as provided in subsection B, the Commission shall not, during the pendency of the action, file an amended or supplemental inventory designating the land which is the subject of the action as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands. Upon the entry of a final judgment ruling that any of such land is not the property of the Commonwealth, the Commission shall correct the amended or supplemental inventory to remove any designation of such land as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland. The Commission may then file the corrected amended or supplemental inventory. Upon the entry of a final judgment ruling that such land is the property of the Commonwealth, the Commission may file an amended or supplemental inventory designating such land as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowlands, and further such final judgment shall bar the assertion of a like claim in any action brought to assert ownership of such land pursuant to § 28.2-1509. Upon filing an amended or supplemental inventory, the Commission shall cause to be published the notice as provided in subsection B of § 28.2-1507.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1512. Effect of disability.

The provisions of § 8.01-237 shall apply with respect to the effect of disabilities on the preservation of a right to bring an action to establish ownership of land pursuant to §§ 28.2-1509 and 28.2-1511.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1513. Filing of notice of lis pendens.

The Commissioner is authorized to record a notice of lis pendens in order to provide notice of the Commonwealth's claim of ownership of any property designated in an initial inventory, or in an amended or supplemental inventory filed as provided in § 28.2-1506, as ungranted shores of the sea, marsh or meadowland. The notice shall set forth the name of any person who has, or has asserted, an interest in the property, a description of the property, and a statement that the Commission has determined that the property is ungranted shores of the sea, marsh, or meadowland and is designated as such on a filed inventory. The notice shall be admitted to record in the clerk's office of the county wherein the property is located.

1995, c. 850.

§ 28.2-1514. Historical evidence.

In any administrative proceeding before the Commission under this chapter, or in any proceeding for the resolution of conflicting claims to inventoried property under Article 4 (§ 28.2-1509 et seq.) of this chapter, the Commission or court may consider any relevant and credible evidence including, but not limited to, deeds, grants, maps, plats or other historical documents.

1995, c. 850.

Chapter 16. Water Column Leases for Aquaculture Purposes.

§ 28.2-1600. Not in effect.

Not in effect.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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