These continue to be major factors.
Chesapeake is the second-largest city by land area in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the 17th-largest in the United States. Chesapeake is a diverse city in which a few urban areas are located; it also has many square miles of protected farmland, forests, and wetlands , including a substantial portion of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It has miles of waterfront industrial, commercial and residential property. In , the new independent city of Chesapeake was created when the former independent city of South Norfolk consolidated with Norfolk County.
The consolidation was approved and the new name selected by the voters of each community by referendum, and authorized by the Virginia General Assembly. Formed in in the Virginia Colony , Norfolk County had originally included essentially all the area which became the towns and later cities of Norfolk , Portsmouth , and South Norfolk. Its area was reduced after as these cities added territory through annexations. Becoming an independent city was a method for the former county to stabilize borders with neighbors, as cities could not annex territory from each other.
The relatively small city of South Norfolk had become an incorporated town within Norfolk County in , and became an independent city in Its residents wanted to make a change to put their jurisdiction on a more equal footing in other aspects with the much larger cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
In addition, by the late s, although immune from annexation by the bigger cities, South Norfolk was close to losing all the county land adjoining it to the city of Norfolk in another annexation suit. The consolidation that resulted in the city of Chesapeake was part of a wave of changes in the structure of local government in southeastern Virginia which took place between and The Chesapeake region was among the first areas settled in the state's colonial era , when settlement started from the coast.
Fought on December 9, , in the early days of the American Revolutionary War , the battle resulted in the removal of Lord Dunmore and all vestiges of English Government from the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. Until the late s and early s, much of Chesapeake was either suburban or rural, serving as a bedroom community of the adjacent cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach with residents commuting to these locations.
Beginning in the late s and accelerating in the s, however, Chesapeake saw significant growth, attracting numerous and significant industries and businesses of its own.
This explosive growth quickly led to strains on the municipal infrastructure, ranging from intrusion of saltwater into the city's water supply to congested roads and schools.
Chesapeake made national headlines in when, under a court-ordered change of venue , the community hosted the first trial of alleged Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo for shootings in A jury convicted him of murder but spared him a potential death sentence ; it chose a sentence of "life in prison without parole" for the young man, who was 17 years old at the time of the crime spree.
A jury in neighboring Virginia Beach convicted his older partner John Allen Muhammad and sentenced him to death for another of the attacks. The northeastern part of the Great Dismal Swamp is located in Chesapeake.
Chesapeake is one of the larger cities in Virginia and the nation in terms of land area. This poses challenges to city leaders in supporting infrastructure to serve this area. In addition, the city has many historically and geographically distinct communities. City leaders are faced with conflicts between development of residential, commercial and industrial areas and preservation of virgin forest and wetlands. Within the city limits in the southwestern section is a large portion of the Great Dismal Swamp.
Chesapeake consists of eight informal boroughs: One of the boroughs, South Norfolk, used to be its own independent city. The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Chesapeake has a humid subtropical climate , abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. As of the census  of , there were , people, 69, households, and 54, families residing in the city. The population density was There were 72, housing units at an average density of The racial makeup of the city was According to estimates There were 69, households out of which The average household size was 2.
The age distribution was: The median age was 35 years. For every females, there were For every females age 18 and over, there were According to Chesapeake's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,  the top employers in the city are:. Chesapeake's daily newspaper is The Virginian-Pilot. Chesapeake is served by a variety of radio stations on the AM and FM dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads area. Chesapeake is served by Cox Communications which provides LNC 5 , a local hour cable news television network.
The growth of Chesapeake and its predecessors has been fueled by its location and transportation considerations. These continue to be major factors. Funding for additional and replacement highways, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure is one of the major issues facing Chesapeake and much of the Hampton Roads region in the 21st century, as infrastructure originally built with toll revenues has aged without a source of funding to repair them or build replacements.
Tolls in Chesapeake are currently limited to the Chesapeake Expressway and the Veterans Bridge , but new ones may be imposed on some existing facilities to help generate revenue for transportation projects in the region.
Chesapeake is served by the nearby Norfolk International Airport in the City of Norfolk with commercial airline passenger service. Within the city limits, Chesapeake Regional Airport is a general aviation facility located just south of Great Bridge.
This airport caters to private airplane owners and enthusiasts. Navy and is an auxiliary landing field which is part of the large facility at NAS Oceana in neighboring Virginia Beach. The Intracoastal Waterway passes through Chesapeake. Chesapeake also has extensive frontage and port facilities on the navigable portions of the Western and Southern Branches of the Elizabeth River. The Dismal Swamp Canal runs through Chesapeake as well. The site of this canal was surveyed by George Washington , among others, and is known as "Washington's Ditch".
It is the oldest continuously used man made canal in the United States today and has been in service for over years. The canal runs through Chesapeake paralleling U. Five railroads currently pass through portions of Chesapeake, and handle some intermodal traffic at port facilities on Hampton Roads and navigable portions of several of its tributary rivers. Chesapeake is located on a potential line for high speed passenger rail service between Richmond and South Hampton Roads which is being studied by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
A new suburban passenger station near Bowers Hill would potentially be included to supplement a terminal in downtown Norfolk. Chesapeake is served by U. Highways 13 , 17 , 58 , and Interstate 64 , part of the Hampton Roads Beltway , crosses through the city, Interstate is a spur which connects it with downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth at the Berkley Bridge , and Interstate , which completes the Interstate loop from the Western Branch section of Chesapeake through the city of Newport News and into the city of Hampton.
State Route is also a major highway in the area. It includes the Chesapeake Expressway toll road. Chesapeake is the only locality in the Hampton Roads area with a separate bridge division.
The city maintains 90 bridges and overpasses. Included are five movable span draw bridges which open an estimated 30, times a year for water vessels. Portsmouth, Virginia - Kroger Stores. Depending on position, may require a valid driver's license in compliance with City driving standards.
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