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Creek dispute leads to civic lessons in Lancaster County

Posted on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 8:29 am

ancaster County’s Board of Supervisors were treated to civics lessons ranging from the Watergate cover-up to the Declaration of Independence by opponents and supporters of a contemplated public boat ramp on Dymers Creek clashed for more than two hours at the board’s meeting Thursday night.
The talk-a-thon took place during the meetings public comment period before the board turned to actual matters it needed to vote on. Opponents of the ramp used the occasion because there have yet to be any opportunity for public comment on the contemplated ramp although, should the Board decide to go ahead with the ramp there will be public hearings, certainly by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission which would have to approve its construction and possibly by the county if in building the ramp it wished to deposit dredged material on uplands, Land Use Administrator Don Gill pointed out.
The cause for the conflict, Gill explained Monday, is the gift of almost six acres of land to the county from Bob Sowder who owns an additional 17 acres next to the land where the ramp might be built. Gill noted that Sowder had approached the county about donating the land in late 2012 and until January 2014 when the deed was given to the county the county had been looking into whether it should accept the property. That process involved getting advice from the VMRC, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Army Corps of Engineers as to whether a ramp on the land was feasible. Until the decision to accept the land was made, the Board had taken no action and no public announcements had been made. Gill noted that public hearings are not required when the county acquires land but are when it disposes of it. He also pointed out that the gift came with no strings attached and if the Board decides not to build the ramp it will have a valuable piece of waterfront property.
During the meeting, Gill pointed out that…

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