On August 28, 2012, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) voted unanimously to approve plans by Portsmouth Elizabeth River Properties (PER) to build a grain storage and shipping facility on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. The VMRC approved included 11 conditions that the developer must meet. The site of proposed facility—which would be designed to handle up to five million bushels of grain annually—is a 16-acre tract that lies next to the Atlantic Wood site, where contamination from decades of a creosote operation is being removed under the federal Superfund law. That complicated clean-up involves construction of a steel wall behind which contaminated river sediments will be placed, dried, and paved; it’s not currently clear who will own that new, potentially developable land. PER’s grain-port proposal involves filling in about an acre of the river to provide additional land. One additional complicating aspect of the proposed facility is that an owner of land next to the facility site claims that a King’s Grant gives him ownership of some river bottomlands in the area. The City of Portsmouth disputes that claim, and the matter is expected to go to court. Draft minutes of the August 28 VMRC meeting, with audio available, are online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/Commission_Summaries/cs0812.shtm.
Source: Va. regulators OK plan to turn site into grain port, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 8/29/12