Accomack public hearing set on boat ramp parking rules

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BY CLARA VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing June 21 to receive feedback on proposed changes to rules overseeing parking permits required on vehicles and trailers parked at public boat ramps.

The changes the board is considering would allow the county to issue up to six annual parking permits to a charter boat captain that would be transferable among customers and reduce fees from $40 to $30 per permit if the captain has a saltwater fishing license.

The permits originated to address limited parking at public landings, but could be costing county taxpayers, Supervisor Ron Wolff said.

“Everybody in the county’s paying this whether they’re a fisherman or not, whether they’re a boat owner or not,” Wolff said. 

He and Supervisor C. Reneta Major asked if Accomack County staff can examine the cost of the program and any revenue it generates from parking violations.

“It was all done in good intention, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for information to see if this is working and I think we can do that next month during the public hearing,” Board of Supervisors Chair Robert Crockett said. 

One member of the public commented on the decal requirements.

“We’ve got to find a better solution, and especially for our people that are captains … They bring a lot of money into our county,” said Grayson Chesser of Saxis.

Wetlands mitigation

The board adopted new language providing a conditional use permitting process to approve wetlands mitigation sites and allowing for off-site mitigation “in an area that is neither located on the same parcel of land as the impact site, nor on a parcel (of) land contiguous to the parcel containing the impact site.”

Several members of the public urged the board to elect that option, citing the need for flexibility in identifying wetlands mitigation sites for local projects, during Wednesday’s public hearing.

“We have projects that cannot move forward in Accomack County … until mitigation is available,” said Chris McCabe, a Maryland-based environmental consultant working in Accomack and other areas.

The changes to the county’s code are “focused on the conditional use permit process,” Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason said, meaning the board of supervisors would approve or deny wetlands mitigations banks on a case-by-case basis.

Wetlands mitigation is used by developers to compensate for wetlands unavoidably destroyed during a construction project. Wetlands are protected under the federal Clean Water Act, the Virginia State Water Control Law, and local wetlands ordinances to achieve no net loss of wetlands as projects are planned and constructed.

Opioid grant

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors authorized the county administrator to apply for a $32,416 grant from the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority to combat the impacts of the opioid epidemic on the Eastern Shore.

County staff applied for the grant prior to its May 5 deadline, but needed a formal resolution from the board to accept the funds, if awarded.

“This money’s already committed to the existing County/ESCSB pilot project for opioid abuse abatement that is primarily focused on Tangier, but available to all the county residents as well,” Mason said.

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