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Yes. There is a "strip" of land around each reservoir that is owned by the city. The amount of land owned varies with the reservoir because of when they were built, and how property was acquired. Generally, there is a 25-foot strip around Lake Whitehurst and Little Creek Reservoir, and a 10-foot strip around Lake Smith. Even with erosion, Norfolk still owns the property around the reservoirs.
For Lakes Lawson, Prince, Western Branch, and Burnt Mills, the amount varies. Check your property plat for an indication of what Norfolk owns. A professional survey may be required to determine the exact amount of property owned by the City of Norfolk.
No. Norfolk owns the property and should be treated as your backyard neighbor. Don’t do to city property what you wouldn’t do to your next-door neighbor.
The short answer is "No". Remember, we are your backyard neighbor and a property owner. The property around the reservoir is not an easement. However, we understand that you want to be able to see the reservoir and we can work with you to create a "view corridor". Selective removal of lower tree limbs and trimming of bushes may be allowed, with the proper permits.
What about trees that are leaning or already on the ground or in the water? We will meet with you to discuss your concerns.
To discuss your concerns and set up a meeting, call 757-441-5678.
Removal of trees of any size is prohibited without the proper permits.
If you have a question about a tree in the lake or the safety of a tree on city of Norfolk property around the reservoirs, please call us at 757-441-5678.
Yes. The best method for protecting the shoreline from erosion is to leave the shoreline in a natural condition. Rooted plants are the best defense. Planting may be required to help reestablish the vegetation and this is the recommended option. However, we understand that some areas need extra protection. We have procedures in place that will allow for the construction of a rip-rap revetment.
A permit is required before any work can take place. All shoreline work will require a landscape plan and permit. Permit applications can be obtained by calling 757-441-5678 or from the internet.
Yes. A boat, canoe, or kayak can be placed into the reservoirs. Motors no larger than 10-horsepower may be used. If a boat with a larger motor is put in the reservoir, the larger motor must be disabled. All boats used on Norfolk reservoirs are required to have a Norfolk Boat Permit. For information on obtaining a permit, see the Boat Permit page.
Types of boats that are not allowed in the reservoirs are sailboats, houseboats, inflatables, and personal water craft (ex: jet skis), surfboards and similar devices, including stand-up paddleboards (SUPs).
Oceans East5785 Northampton Blvd #104Virginia Beach, VA 23455757-464-6544
Lake Whitehurst, Lake Smith, Lake Lawson, Little Creek Reservoir, Western Branch Reservoir, Lake Prince, and Lake Burnt Mills. All access to Lake Wright is prohibited, including fishing from shore.