VMRC approves Williams Wharf application

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Oct 09, 2013 - 01:13 PM

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously on Sept. 24 to approve the Mathews Land Conservancy application concerning Williams Wharf along the East River in Mathews County.

The conservancy requested authorization to install an observation deck encroaching over 914 square feet of state-owned subaqueous bottom, to install two 16-foot-wide floating piers extending 103 feet channelward of the observation deck, and install an eight-foot wide open-pile pier extending 62 feet channelward of an existing bulkhead with an 14-foot wide by 100-foot-long T-head deck. The project is located at 1039 Williams Wharf Road.

At its August meeting, VMRC voted unanimously to uphold the Mathews County Wetlands Board’s decision to approve the project. A number of Williams Wharf Road residents had tried to have the decision of the wetlands board reversed.

The wetlands board had three public hearings on the application. After a January public hearing, the project was tabled when the wetlands board told the conservancy it couldn’t support the project without wetlands mitigation. In May, the board approved the project, but when it went before VMRC, the commission sent it back to the board because some residents hadn’t been permitted to speak during the public hearing. The wetlands board again approved the project in July.

VMRC spokesman John Bull said the commission approved the conservancy application with an assessment of a royalty of $5,901 for the encroachment over 5,901 square feet of state-owned submerged land, at a rate of $1 per square foot.