Hearing Tuesday on Williams Wharf road abandonment

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 22, 2012 - 02:25 PM

A public hearing on abandoning the road and landing at Williams Wharf will be held during the Mathews County Board of Supervisors meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the multi-purpose room of Thomas Hunter Middle School.

The action is being taken as the first step in a process that will eventually result in the county turning over ownership of the Williams Wharf property to the Mathews Land Conservancy, as provided for in a 1994 agreement between the county and the conservancy. At the time of transfer, an agreement would also be enacted that would give residents a perpetual public easement over the entire property—an easement that County Attorney Richard Harfst said would be "in the nature of a park for the people of Mathews."

Conservancy president Jim Smith said during a recent interview that abandoning the road is necessary because the road interferes with development plans.

"We have to act like there’s a road in the middle of the property with 50-foot setbacks," Smith said. "Even though there’s a parking lot already there, we want to turn it into something. We can’t have an entrance; we can’t gate the property for security reasons; we can’t set aside parking or septic tanks and drainfields—all would be affected. It would be like having a road in the middle of your property."