Industrial Waterfront Study

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Historically, the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River (“Southern Branch”) has been a heavy industrial corridor with good access to the Chesapeake Bay and the Port of Virginia. High demand for waterfront industrial, residential, commercial, and recreational uses requires a balanced approach that prioritizes space for industrial businesses critical to the local economy and tax base while finding opportunities to connect the community to the river. 

The Hampton Roads region is experiencing the nation-wide phenomenon of sea level rise, stormwater flooding, and recurrent flooding events. The resilience and adaptation element of this project will have multiple benefits, including recommendations for strengthening and protecting the City's valued industrial waterfront businesses; better information for affected businesses and residents in making long-term plans; and guidance for the City's Operating and Capital Improvement Budgets. This study could also help inform and augment the Public Works Department's Master Drainage Plan and supporting drainage area studies.

The Industrial Waterfront Study Story map provides a walkthrough that visually explains the project overview, study area, and major goals of the study.

Community Survey

We invite you to take our Community Survey. Your feedback helps us better understand your interactions with the Elizabeth River waterfront as well as your concerns and experiences with flooding and coastal hazards. Your input will be used to inform the final Industrial Waterfront Study and allow us to benchmark existing conditions along the waterfront, help us understand the public perception of the Elizabeth River, and create tools and resources to support communities experiencing flood risk. You can use the interactive map below to highlight specific locations of interest, opportunity, and concern. 

The major goals of this study are:

  • To understand the current conditions of Chesapeake’s “industrial waterfront,” and what influences the use of the land and success of the land for economic development;

  • To determine preferred future land uses based on current and anticipated future conditions relative to coastal hazards associated with heavy rain events, recurrent flooding, and sea level rise, which may impact future preferred uses;

  • To identify the range of adaptation strategies that can increase the resilience of coastal and riverine areas and increase opportunities for economic development;

  • To understand the type and magnitude of costs and benefits associated with each strategy; and

  • To establish a framework by which other communities in the City can evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of different approaches for particular coastal or flood-prone areas.

Industrial Waterfront Map

For more information about this study, please contact project manager Lucy Stoll by email at