Sen. Kaine tours flood-prone areas in Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Some residents have first-hand experience with flooding in the low-lying “mermaid” city. Scientists blame rising sea levels. But Norfolk has spent millions of dollars on improvements to ease the problem, and city officials gave Sen. Tim Kaine an afternoon tour on Thursday.

Along Richmond Crescent, homes have been raised several feet higher thanks to federal funds. Sarah Baker, who lives in the neighborhood, told that in the past during the flooding she had to take alternate routes and couldn’t drive in the area. “You had to go elsewhere,” she said. Now she said the area is fine.

Photos: Sen. Kaine tours flood-prone areas

“That’s why we changed our zoning ordinance about 18 months ago to require new construction or 50 percent of renovations be 3 feet above base flood elevation,” deputy city manager Ron Williams said. “[It’s] building for the future.”

Norfolk has made changes across the city over the past few years. Its part of a comprehensive plan. Kaine admitted he was impressed with the steps taken so far.

“I’ve learned how Norfolk is attacking the challenge today with investments but also with zoning changes and things like that. Norfolk can be a good model,” he said

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