Planners recommend setback regulations for piers

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 16, 2012 - 12:08 PM

The Mathews County Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to recommend that the board of supervisors place yard setback regulations on piers.

Planner Chris Ingram requested the change during a public hearing on the matter, explaining that there was an instance last year in which an applicant was asked to submit a variance application in order to reduce the front yard setback for a proposed pier on Old Ferry Road from 50 feet to 14 feet.

However, in conversations with the county attorney, it was determined that, since piers are not buildings, setback requirements can’t be applied. This means that the planning office must issue permit exemptions for piers rather than zoning permits, she said, leading to possible public safety issues.

The board of supervisors will be asked to consider the change at its meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting in the historic courthouse, planners also heard a request from planning director John Shaw that they consider adding definitions and permitting requirements for aquaculture to the zoning ordinance. Under the current ordinance, aquaculture is defined only as finfish farming on land and doesn’t take into consideration shellfish farming or water-based economic activities.