Letter: Now it’s up to VMRC
This past Wednesday, the Mathews Wetlands Board unanimously approved plans to build a large boathouse on Williams Wharf for use of the MHS crew team and the Mobjack Rowing Association. We must now hope that the VMRC agrees when they review this decision. It is possible, however, that they will not and the Mathews Land Conservancy must be prepared for that and be willing to alter their plans accordingly.
As it is now planned, the project places the building partially over the water, thereby adversely impacting thousands of square feet of wetlands. The main reason for this, as I gathered at the meeting, is that if the building is moved landward, there will not be enough room for the large turning circle necessary for the unloading of boat trailers during regattas. In fact, there does appear to be adequate room if parking is eliminated during races and, since regattas are scheduled only three days a year, the VMRC may not agree. They may feel that this is a case of "the tail wagging the dog."
There is little question that the MHS crew team deserves a proper facility to store their boats and to train for their sport. The team is known nationally and internationally as a rowing powerhouse, in spite of the small size of the school. According to the handout at the meeting, the project will equal crew facilities at several Ivy League universities as well as elite private prep schools. It will be the envy of any high school in the United States, regardless of size, and a source of pride for the county.
Again, I hope that the VMRC agrees with the Wetland Board’s decision and that this project can proceed, while at the same time respecting the laws regarding wetlands to which all the rest of us must adhere.
Arthur Jennette, M.D.