By Jonathon Lubrano, VPCP graduate research fellow
The Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) has recently partnered with Southeast CARE Coalition to help the Southeast Community of Newport News tackle issues related to sea level rise, recurrent flooding, zoning, land use, and more.
“What has stood out the most about this partnership is the Center’s understanding that such a partnership must be long term,” says Erica Holloman, coordinator of Southeast CARE Coalition. “Through this long-term commitment and leveraging of resources and networks, the Coalition and Center look forward to educating and empowering the City of Newport News, members of the Southeast Community, and the broader Hampton Roads about effective strategies and implementable solutions that create resilient communities facing climate change impacts.”
Southeast CARE Coalition is a community-based partnership that addresses environmental concerns in the Southeast Community of Newport News. The organization’s goals are twofold: to fill an information gap regarding pollutants’ effects on the environment and health of residents in the Southeast Community and to spur action that will improve environmental quality and reduce risks to residents.
To help achieve these goals, two students in the VCPC, Alfred Gabbin and Emily Gabor, have already begun work as part of this partnership. Gabbin and Gabor met with residents of the Southeast Community, representatives of the City of Newport News, and representatives of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Through these meetings, the students have learned that both residents and the government seek to enhance their communication skills.
Gabbin and Gabor have also started to review Newport News planning documents, including the Jefferson Avenue Corridor Plan and Urban Waterfront Development Study.
“It appears that the city’s plans have largely not addressed increased recurrent flooding from stormwater and imminent sea level rise,” Gabbin says. “Part of our job is to find out if the city has considered these sorts of things in their plan for development and if they have, how.”
Through their analysis, VCPC students will serve as a bridge: highlighting the areas of concern the government still needs to address, and providing the Southeast CARE Coalition the information they need to improve and protect their community.
An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.