Neighbor expresses concerns about East River Boat Yard plans
East River Boat Yard, which is pretty much in his backyard. He’s not too happy about what the county is proposing to do with it.
For several years now, in keeping with a long-term commitment to providing more water access for county residents and visitors, the board of supervisors has planned to install a fishing dock and boat ramp at the site and offer other amenities if possible.
A recently-awarded $50,000 grant from the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is slated to be used for the boat launch and parking area, along with $162,750 in matching funds, while the county has applied for a Virginia Marine Resources Commission grant to build the dock.
Engler questioned the plan during last month’s board of supervisors meeting. He said the one-acre property floods and that Mill Lane becomes impassable at high tide for three to five days every month. In addition, he said, there’s only a foot of water at low tide in the area designated for a boat launch. He said he would like the board to have a public meeting at which the issues can be addressed.
During an interview following the board’s January meeting, Engler said that he’s all for improving the site, which he uses himself, and that he wouldn’t have purchased his property two years ago if there had been no plans for improvement of the boat yard. But he said a conceptual plan developed by the design and engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin several years ago is much larger in scope than just a fishing dock and boat launch; it includes a floating dock, fish-cleaning station, gazebo, concession stand, playground and restrooms.
He questioned whether putting money into the site makes sense, especially given the size of the lot and the flooding issue, which he said could require raising both the site and the access road. He said the county should concentrate its efforts at providing waterfront access in other locations, such as New Point Lighthouse.
“If they build up the site, it’s still fairly small for all those amenities,” he said. “If you raise everything, how do residents get to their driveways? Build a causeway?”