Mathews resident Joanie Beatley is fired up about a proposal to vacate a VDOT right of way to Williams Wharf Landing so the Mathews Land Conservancy can take ownership and create broader public access at the site.
Beatley said she’s concerned that the county will give up the right of way only for the Land Conservancy to place restrictions on the property, such as gating the entrance to limit access or charging an access fee.
"The supervisors had this right of way established in 1920 to give the people of Mathews access," she said. "Do we need to go and fight again?"
A 20-year resident of Todds Creek subdivision off Williams Wharf Road, Beatley said she and her family always enjoyed going to the wharf to fish, look for oysters at low tide, or just skip stones.
But since the conservancy has been in charge of the property, she said she feels such access has been restricted. Signs now limit fishing to a specific area along the bulkhead; people can no longer pull their boats up to the wharf because of a restriction against motorized vessels; and swimming is prohibited. In addition, a large area close to the pavilion has been roped off to prevent cars from parking there.