On June 20, 2019, the Back Bay Restoration Foundation (BBRF) filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, to force the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to rescind their permit allowing the City of Virginia Beach and a California developer from destroying wetlands in the Back Bay watershed for parking lots.
“Despite our submittal of five pages of comments, and many individual letters of our members imploring the Corps to accept public input at public hearings and for them to fully evaluate alternatives in an Environmental Impact Statement, the Corps issued the same, nonresponsive form letter to all commenters on May 23, 2019”, said Jared Brandwein, executive Director of the Back Bay Restoration Foundation. The form letter, without rationale, served as public notice that the Corps has issued a permit to destroy natural wetlands for a parking lot in the Ashville Park housing projects in Virginia Beach, VA.
Although BBRF has proposed solutions to restore and increase wetlands in Ashville Park, a development in Virginia Beach, neither the Corps, the City nor the California developer have allowed for a transparent process for public participation and alternative analysis.
The Corps’ action in issuing the Permit violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with the law in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. “As the only non-profit group with a mission to conserve Back Bay, BBRF will continue to pursue legal relief until the Corps, City and Developer agree to consider alternatives to outdated housing project development schemes”, said David Johnson, Board President.
About the Back Bay Restoration Foundation
The mission of the Back Bay Restoration Foundation is to serve and protect the residents of the Back Bay and the fragile Southern watersheds which are subject to increasingly severe flooding and to create solutions which foster responsible development.