A proposed rowing and sailing center at Williams Wharf Landing in Mathews got the green light from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission last Tuesday, as the commission voted unanimously to uphold the Mathews County Wetlands Board’s decision to approve the project.
In providing rationale for upholding the board’s finding, commission members cited the value the project would have to the community as a whole, the fact that wetlands will be preserved as much as possible, the proposed on-site mitigation of lost wetlands, and the care and consideration the wetlands board used in working through the issues involved.
Residents of Williams Wharf Road had gathered the signatures of 40 Mathews stakeholders in their effort to have the decision of the wetlands board reversed. Speaking before the commission, adjacent property owner Steve Wilson argued that the proposed center was "far too large for the small site" and that its modern design was "inconsistent with the historical nature of the site."
He said that previous plans for the center had shown it located primarily over land, but that the newer design gives "higher priority to parking than wetlands."
The proposed common room is non-water-dependent, said Wilson, pointing out that the proposed structure as a whole will be three to five times larger than the structure it’s replacing. He also objected to possible rental of the building for commercial uses.