97 acres on Severn River donated for public access

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Mar 06, 2013 - 01:35 PM

Photo: A Florida man has donated a 97-acre tract at Naxera, including this dock on the Severn River, to the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority.

A Florida man has donated a 97-acre tract at Naxera, including this dock on the Severn River, to the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority.

The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (PAA) recently received a donation of approximately 97 acres of waterfront property located on the Severn River at Naxera. Officials said the site could include such uses as home to the Gloucester High School rowing program, and a place for public meetings and wedding receptions in the years to come.

The property, valued at $1.6 million, includes 21 parcels, said Lewis Lawrence, executive director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, the agency which furnishes staff for the PAA. In addition, there are three dwellings (one a 7,000-square-foot house), a dock, a boat ramp, a pool house, and a large pole barn.

The donation includes part of the Land’s End subdivision off Featherbed Lane, but does not include the nearby historic Land’s End house that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. James W. Laird, who resides in Florida and had a summer residence on part of the property, was the donor. Lawrence did not provide further details about Laird.

According to PAA policy, the representative from the host county (in this case, Gloucester) can suggest uses for the donated land. Lawrence said that Louise Theberge, Gloucester’s representative on the authority and its chairman, told the PAA board members during a visit to the site Friday that she thinks the property might be a good base for the Gloucester High School crew.

Lawrence said he has spoken to crew representatives and they seemed eager to get a waterfront home. The pole barn is about 150 feet long, Lawrence said, and could easily hold the 65-foot rowing shells. No agreement has been signed for the crew to use part of the site, Lawrence said Tuesday.