VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - After a two-day trial, a judge ruled Wednesday Chesapeake Beach, also known as Chic's Beach, can move forward with beach replenishment.
Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr. ruled tthe city has the right to maintain and protect the beach, which extends about one mile along the Chesapeake Bay from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story east to Joyce Avenue.
Chic's Beach is known as a local's spot with calmer waters. Property owners along the beach claimed they own the beach and the city must pay for the right to maintain it, but Judge Padrick ruled that the public has the right to stroll, sunbathe and relax on the beach.
“This is a victory for all residents of Virginia Beach,” City Attorney Mark D. Stiles said. “Evidence showed that Chesapeake Beach has been used as a public beach for many, many years. We are very pleased that Judge Padrick recognized the city’s right to maintain the beach for all to enjoy.”
Some residents are happy with the ruling.
"I'm glad the judge is maintaining that and I see the work the city does all year and they do really good work," said Sharon Rowley.
Another resident, Warren Newsom has lived in his home in Chic's Beach for 15 years. He's okay with the city maintaining the beach, but not with the beach being public.
"The people who come into this neighborhood who aren't locals don`t really appreciate it as much. They throw their trash all over the road," said Newsom.
According to Deputy City Attorney Chris Boynton, the rights come from several decades of public use of the beach and the city monitoring, tending and providing emergency services to the beach.
The city's Public Works Department will begin designing the beach and applying for permits from regulatory agencies, which will take several months. Roehrs said the project is moving along faster than previous ones. The City Council has included a $6.4 million project in its six-year plan to restore the beach. Council has not identified a source of funding for the project.
It is not yet known when replenishment will start. The city hopes to protect the beach by partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers to place needed sand along the beach.