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COMMISSION ACTIONS SEPTEMBER 2013

The following are the agenda items from the Commission's regular meeting held September 24, 2013 at Commission headquarters.  The Commission's actions are in bold.

*DEPUTY FISHERIES CHIEF JOE GRIST INTRODUCED TO THE COMMISSION JASON SCHAFFLER, A FISHERY MANAGEMENT ANALYST WHO WILL WORK ON ATLANTIC MENHADEN AND STRIPED BASS ISSUES.  THREE ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS WERE ABSENT FROM THE MEETING. 
[Audio Jason Schaffler's Introduction]

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.
[Audio Agenda]

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION’S AUGUST MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIOUSLY.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THREE SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS ITEMS 2A, 2B, AND 2C, WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS.
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSTHIS SINGLE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM, DELINEATED BELOW AS ITEM 3A, FAIRFIELD INN MOTEL’S AFTER-THE-FACT REQUEST, WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICANT’S PREVIOUS AGREEMENT TO PAY A CIVIL CHARGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,000 IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT ACTION AND WITH A ROYALTY IN THE AMOUNT OF $300 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE PIER OVER 300 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $1.00 PER SQUARE FOOT.
[Audio Item 3]

4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  NONE.
[Audio Item 4]

5.  MATHEWS LAND CONSERVANCY, #12-1539, requests authorization to install an observation deck encroaching over 914 square feet of State-owned subaqueous bottom, install two 16-foot wide floating piers extending 103 feet channelward of the observation deck, and install an 8-foot wide open-pile pier extending 62 feet channelward of an existing bulkhead with a 14-foot wide by 100-foot long T-head deck along the East River at 1039 Williams Wharf Road in Mathews County.  The project is protested by numerous nearby residents.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED WITH THE ASSESSMENT OF A ROYALTY OF $5,901 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OVER 5,901 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $1.00 PER SQUARE FOOT.  COLONEL STEVE WILSON AND DR. LINDA WILSON TESTIFIED IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT.  MR. JIM SMITH, MS. NANCY WELCH AND MS. AMY STUART TESTIFIED IN SUPPORT OF THE APPLICATION AND THE APPLICANTS WERE REPRESENTED BY THEIR LEGAL COUNSEL, MR. LEE STEPHENS.
[Audio Item 5]

6.  DIANE and CHARLES McCOY, #13-0437, request authorization to install a 446 linear foot bulkhead aligned a maximum of two (2) feet channelward of an existing, deteriorating bulkhead, to include a 20 foot timber jetty adjacent to 1721 Cloncurry Road situated along the Lafayette River in Norfolk.  The project is protested by an adjacent property owner.  THE PROJECT WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS PROPOSED WITH THE ASSESSMENT OF A ROYALTY OF $1.00 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE BULKHEAD AND ASSOCIATED BACKFILL AND $0.50 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE JETTY ON STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND.  MR. MCCOY TESTIFIED ON HIS OWN BEHALF AND HE WAS REPRESENTED BY HIS AGENT, MR. TOM LANGLEY.
[Audio Item 6]

7.  GEORGE TREIBER, #13-0282, requests authorization to replace 157 linear feet of an existing 18-inch wide finger pier with a 5-foot wide finger pier, to install a 72-foot long timber wavescreen and an additional 3-foot wide by 30-foot long finger pier, to relocate an existing 8-foot wide by 23-foot long floating dock, and to retain a previously unauthorized 7-foot wide by 31-foot long floating dock, adjacent to an existing, private, non-commercial pier servicing 3932 High Street situated along the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED AND ACCEPTED THE APPLICANT’S AGREEMENT TO PAY A CIVIL CHARGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,000 IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT MEASURES FOR THE PREVIOUSLY UNAUTHORIZED CONSTRUCTION.  MR. TREIBER TESTIFIED ON HIS OWN BEHALF AND MR. JOHN KRISTICH ALSO PROVIDED SUPPORTING TESTIMONY.
[Audio Item 7]

8.  O. OAKEY MITCHELL, #12-0300, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain a previously unauthorized partially enclosed 29-foot by 29-foot boathouse, and additional pier decking, and to remove and realign a portion of his existing private-use pier, to include a bridge portion over an unnamed tidal stream tributary of Grays Creek at his property located near the end of Blue Heron Drive in Surry County.  The request to retain the existing structures is protested by the Kings Landing Owners Association.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE AFTER-THE-FACT REQUEST AND AGREED TO ACCEPT A CIVIL CHARGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,000 IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT ACTION.  MR. MITCHELL TESTIFIED ON HIS OWN BEHALF AND MR. BILL GOAD TESTIFIED IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT.
[Audio Item 8]

9.  JENNIFER BONNIVILLE, #2013-0019 and #2013-0020, requests authorization to lease approximately 150 acres and 100 acres respectively, of oyster planting grounds, in the York River in York and Gloucester counties.  Both applications are protested by Mr. Billy Bonniville.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO LEASE ONLY PART OF THE NORTHERN PORTION OF THE LEASE REQUESTED ON THE YORK COUNTY SIDE OF THE YORK RIVER, AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF.  AS REVISED, THE LEASE ENCOMPASSES 84.52 ACRES.  THE COMMISSION DENIED THE APPLICATION FOR THE SECOND OYSTER GROUND LEASE. 
[Audio Item 9]

10.  PUBLIC COMMENTS.  COMMERCIAL WATERMAN CHRIS LUDFORD SPOKE ON THE BEHALF OF COMMERCIAL HOOK AND LINE FISHERMEN, A NUMBER OF WHOM ATTENDED THE MEETING, AND PUBLICLY THANKED SEVERAL FORMER ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS FOR THEIR WORK ON BEHALF OF SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES OVER THE YEARS.
[Audio Item 10]

11.  REPEAT OFFENDERS. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE FOR TWO YEARS THE COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSES OF THREE WATERMEN WHO WERE CONVICTED OF REPEATED OYSTER VIOLATIONS.
THE COMMISSION ALSO SUSPENDED THE COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSES OF TWO OTHER WATERMEN FOR A YEAR EACH, FOLLOWED BY A YEAR OF PROBATION, FOR REPEATED OYSTER VIOLATIONS.
THE COMMISSION SIGNALED IT WILL HAVE NO PATIENCE OR TOLERANCE FOR OYSTER POACHING, OR OTHER SERIOUS OYSTER VIOLATIONS, AND IS FULLY PREPARED TO REVOKE AS MANY FISHING LICENSES AS ARE NECESSARY TO COMBAT OYSTER THEFT THAT HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY COMMON AS OYSTER STOCKS IMPROVE.
IN FACT, COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD SAID HE INTENDED TO VOTE IN THE FUTURE IN KEEPING WITH A STATE LAW. SECTION § 28.2-528 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA, THAT REQUIRES SIX MONTH TO ONE YEAR LICENSE REVOCATIONS FOR ANYONE CONVICTED OF UNLAWFULLY TAKING OYSTERS.
[Audio Item 11]

12.  FAILURE TO REPORT:  Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting.”  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PUT FIVE COMMERCIAL WATERMEN ON PROBATION FOR TWO YEARS, AND PUT ANOTHER WATERMAN ON PROBATION FOR ONE YEAR, FOR THEIR FAILURE TO FILE TIMELY HARVEST REPORTS AS REQUIRED.
[Audio Item 12]

13.  PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-950-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass,” to allow for the culture of black sea bass by permitted aquaculture facilities.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ALLOW FOR TIGHTLY CONTROLLED BLACK SEA BASS AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS.
[Audio Item 13]

14.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest," to establish the 2013 public oyster harvest season, by hand scrape, for Pocomoke Sound Public Ground Numbers 9 and 10.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH A NEW ROTATION OYSTER HARVEST AREA IN THE POCOMOKE SOUND, AS REQUESTED BY MEMBERS OF THE INDUSTRY.
THE COMMISSION ALSO ENACTED THROUGH EMERGENCY REGULATION TWO TECHNICAL CHANGES TO THE WORDING OF THE OYSTER CULLING REGULATION AND CULLING INSPECTION PROCEDURES.

[Audio Item 14]

15.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-500-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Catching of Eels,” to establish gear-specific harvest seasons, and amend size and possession limits, for the harvesting of American eel.  These amendments are proposed for compliance with the interstate fishery management plan requirements for American eel.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLYTO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AT ITS DEC. 10 MEETING TO CONSIDER LOWERING THE SIZE AND CREEL LIMITS FOR AMERICAN EELS.  AN ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION BENCHMARK STOCK ASSESSMENT IN 2012 CONCLUDED THE STOCK IS DEPLETED AND MANDATED HARVEST REDUCTIONS BY JANUARY 2014.
[Audio Item 15]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE 2 AGENDA ITEMS (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A.  WESTMORELAND COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, #13-0350, requests authorization to reconstruct a 15-foot high by 25-foot wide, 230-foot long earthen dam with associated stabilization and geosynthetic clay liner core to restore Placid Lake, a manmade impoundment adjacent to Mattox Creek in Westmoreland County.

2B.  BAE SYSTEMS, #13-0827, requests authorization to deploy, on an as-needed basis, 685 linear feet of security barrier between the Old Dominion Drydock and Pier 4, consisting of fencing secured to large fender floats with four anchor points, which will encroach over 10,960 square feet of State-owned submerged land adjacent to their facility at 750 West Berkley Avenue situated along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk.  The security barrier is proposed in order for BAE Systems to comply with a request by the Department of the Navy for additional security.  Permittee agrees to ensure that no portion of the proposed project encroaches into the federal navigation project.  Encroachment includes but is not limited to, the location of the "Catenary" at any stage of tide or weather condition.

2C.  DELTAVILLE MARINA, #13-1133,
requests authorization to redevelop an existing marina on Jackson Creek at 274 Bucks Lane in Middlesex County.  The project will include the removal of a 270-foot long fixed pier and installation of a new, 270-foot long floating pier in the same footprint.  The total number of slips will be reduced from 36 to 34 and the number of covered slips will also be reduced from 30 to 4.  Recommend approval with no royalty, pursuant to §28.2-1206(B) of the Code of Virginia.

THE FOLLOWING PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

3A.  FAIRFIELD INN MOTEL, #13-1176, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain a 75-foot long by 4-foot wide unauthorized pier situated adjacent to their property along Chincoteague Channel at 3913 Main Street in the Town of Chincoteague.  The applicant has agreed to pay a civil charge in the amount of $1,000.00 in lieu of further enforcement action along with a royalty in the amount of $300.00 for the encroachment over 300 square feet of State-owned subaqueous land at a rate of $1.00 per square foot.  Staff recommends approval and acceptance of the aforementioned civil charge and royalty.


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