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12.23.2014 Firm News

Williams Mullen Announces Coastal Flooding Practice

Williams Mullen is proud to announce the formation of a dedicated Coastal Flooding & Resiliency practice team to assist businesses and communities with the complex issues posed by recurring flooding, higher storm surges, and threatened inundation affecting properties and infrastructure.

Virginia and North Carolina coastal communities are experiencing flooding more frequently and more severely.  The recurring nature of this flooding and accompanying higher storm surges are being driven by localized effects of sea level rise, land subsidence, and changing ocean currents.  These growing threats can pose significant challenges to capital and infrastructure investment, business and governmental operations, and land use planning and construction design, triggering evolving legal and environmental risks as well.

Led by Henry R. “Speaker” Pollard, V, the firm’s cross-functional team of attorneys and government relations professionals advises and assists clients by shaping strategies to manage and minimize the risks and by seeking innovative solutions and pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities that can help to overcome the challenges.  Attorneys from our real estate and land use, environmental, infrastructure, lending, public finance, litigation and governmental affairs practice groups provide specific knowledge and experience where needed and constitute a team that can offer a holistic and strategic perspective.

“Virginia’s and North Carolina’s economies and quality of life depend greatly on healthy coastal communities, economies, military facilities and ports.  But current trends show that coastal areas of Virginia and North Carolina are facing evolving risks to private and public property, infrastructure and routine and emergency transportation of people and goods,” Mr. Pollard said.  “These trends point to the need for good planning by public and private sectors to manage these concerns. How government and businesses respond to these concerns has now become one of the most complex challenges faced in each state, but it also presents opportunities for innovative planning and private sector roles to address these concerns.” 

Shipyards, marinas, ports and other shoreline-dependent industries and public facilities are vulnerable to recurrent flooding and storm surge, but any facility or operation dependent on goods and services moving through coastal communities bears these risks as well.  Lending and insurance markets are also being compelled to react to property loss.  

Through Williams Mullen’s inter-disciplinary Coastal Flooding and Resiliency practice team, its attorneys can assist facility owners and operators affected by recurrent flooding and sea level rise threats on matters related to property rights and access, regulatory compliance, facility and operations risk management, capital investment siting and financing, site development and construction requirements, and permitting.  They can also help communities with such issues as land use authority, defensive and adaptive infrastructure measures, utilization of existing natural resources that can mitigate the flooding threats, funding and financing, and opportunities for public-private partnerships to address these needs.