Letter: Williams Wharf right of way should be retained
The Feb. 9, 2012 Gazette-Journal article titled "Mathews board to consider vacating Williams Wharf right of way" requires clarification. First, the Feb. 28 public hearing in the old courthouse is scheduled for 7 p.m., not 1 p.m. Second, the statements attributed to Mr. Smith that "the land conservancy needs to be able to respond to neighbors’ request for a security plan for the property" and that "while the conservancy currently has no plans to gate the property, it needs that option if security issues arise" are very misleading.
The adjacent property owners and those who live in close proximity to Williams Wharf Landing have not requested a security plan, nor has such a plan been needed before. The conservancy has already installed security cameras to safeguard the landing.
The conservancy has always told residents it cannot erect a gate because school buses need access to turn around. If the conservancy plans to limit access to the landing or to install a gate, it is to suit the conservancy’s purposes; it is not to address neighbors’ concerns. In fact, the conservancy continues to ignore its Nov. 10, 1994 agreement with the county to "... assist in the coordination of the Project with property owners in the Project area." This public hearing is yet another example of residents learning about an issue from the paper instead of the conservancy.
The citizens of Mathews, whose tax dollars allowed the conservancy to acquire the landing in 1994, should ask how vacating the road right of way would improve public access. Approval could result in the county losing any influence over public access when the conservancy closes the site for private events or installs a gate. Citizens should urge the Board of Supervisors to retain the county’s easement rights to assure public access to Williams Wharf Landing.
Stephen E. Wilson