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Editorial: Helping watermen

Gloucester supervisors are being asked to make it easier for commercial watermen to work and thrive in the county, specifically, in the Perrin River, where an overlay district for commercial seafood uses is proposed.

While the board can’t do a thing about the size of catches and the prices paid, it can work with its own land use regulations. And these rules, principally of the zoning ordinance, grew up decades after the commercial fishing industry started on the waterfront.

On Tuesday, the board gave a preliminary endorsement to the proposal and forwarded it to the planning commission for study.

What situation would the overlay district resolve?

As a report from the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority points out, present zoning rules were enacted to maximize the residential value of waterfront property, which provides a large part of the county’s revenue through the real estate property tax.

Generations before zoning, watermen worked out thei...

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