*** Commissioner Bull introduced Chad Ballard III of Norfolk and John E. Zydron of Chesapeake,
two new Associate Commissioners recently appointed by Governor McAuliffe.
** APPROVAL OF AGENDA. THE AGENDA WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS WRITTEN
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1. MINUTES of previous meeting. THE MINUTES OF THE JUNE MEETING WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS WRITTEN
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2. PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval). THE SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW AS 2A AND 2B WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
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3. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS. NONE
4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE
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5. WILLIE SKENES, JR., #14-0686, requests authorization to construct a replacement bulkhead adjacent to his property at 1157 Sunlight Drive situated along a manmade canal to the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake. The project requires a wetlands permit. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
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6. COTTAGE LINE CIVIC LEAGUE, #13-1899-D, NICHOLAS VANDERGRIFT, #13-1809-D, JUDITH SWYSTUN ET AL., #13-1808-D, CATHERINE McCOY, #13-1803-D, CATHERINE McCOY, #13-1804-D, THOMAS AND THELMA DRAKE, #13-1799-D. Commission review on appeal by 52 freeholders of the June 11, 2014, decision by the Norfolk Wetlands Board to approve the above-referenced applications in modified form with special conditions, to include excavating sand from the dune as proposed or to a minimum height of 14 feet, and relocating the excavated sand channelward of the existing dune face along the Ocean View shoreline adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. BASED UPON A REQUEST BY THE APPLICANTS AND COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM SKIP STILES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF WETLANDS WATCH, THE REVIEW WAS CONTINUED TO THE SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 COMMISSION MEETING.
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7. WHITE CLOUD NINE VENTURES L.P., #12-0164, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain the placement of 130 cubic yards of Class II riprap on State-owned subaqueous bottom and an 18-foot wide access road crossing with an open box culvert over 35 linear feet of the Little River at a parcel identified as MCPI#397-26-7021 near the confluence of the Little River and Hungry Run in Loudoun County. THE COMMISSION VOTED 4-3 TO APPROVE THE AFTER-THE-FACT REQUEST TO RETAIN THE BRIDGE WITHOUT THE ASSESSMENT OF CIVIL CHARGES OR HIGHER AFTER-THE-FACT FEES. ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS BALLARD, ERSKINE, AND NEIL VOTED NO.
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8. EDMUND S. RUFFIN, JR. #14-0362, requests authorization to construct an 18-foot by 36-foot open-sided boathouse over an existing boatslip at a private, non-commercial open-pile pier adjacent to his property situated along the Ware River at 6740 Ware Neck Road in Gloucester County. The project is protested by an adjoining property owner. Continued from the May 27, 2014, Commission meeting. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT CONSISTENT WITH A REVISED DRAWING OFFERED BY THE APPLICANT THAT REDUCED THE HEIGHT OF THE BOATHOUSE ROOF AND WHICH CHANGED THE DESIGN OF THE ROOF FROM A GABLE TO A HIP ROOF DESIGN.
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9. GRANT ETHRIDGE, #14-0691, requests authorization to construct a 5-foot by 222-foot open-pile private use pier to include a 5-foot by 52-foot finger pier, a 5-foot by 12-foot jet-ski finger pier, and to construct a 17-foot by 39-foot open-sided boathouse roof adjacent to his property situated along the Nansemond River at 2603 Nansemond Drive South, in the City of Suffolk. The request is protested by the oyster ground leaseholder over whose lease the pier will encroach. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A COMPROMISE REACHED DURING THE MEETING BETWEEN THE LEASEHOLDER AND THE APPLICANT PROVIDED THE REVISED LOCATION IS NOT OBJECTED TO BY THE ADJOINING PROPERTY OWNERS. THE COMPROMISE ALIGNS THE PROPOSED PIER APPROXIMATELY 80 FEET TO THE SOUTH OF THE ORIGINALLY PROPOSED ALIGNMENT AND ALLOWS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE REQUESTED ACCESSORY STRUCTURES AND BOATHOUSE.
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10. DISCUSSION: Update on implementation of procedures and permits to authorize log recovery from State-owned bottoms. THE COMMISSION RECEIVED AN UPDATE FROM STAFF REGARDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PERMITTING PROCEDURES AND CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH LOG RECOVERY PERMITS. THE FIRST OF TWO EXISTING PERMITS WAS ISSUED APPROXIMATELY 2 YEARS AGO. STAFF INDICATED THE PROCESS WAS WORKING WELL AND THE ORIGINAL PERMITTEE WAS PROMPTLY COMPLYING WITH ALL PERMIT CONDITIONS. NO RECOVERY OPERATIONS HAVE OCCURRED UNDER THE SECOND PERMIT. STAFF SAID THEY SAW NO REASON TO MODIFY THE PROCESS ENDORSED BY THE COMMISSION PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF THE ORIGINAL PERMIT OTHER THAN A CHANGE TO ALLOW USE OF A TIMBER CONSULTANT TO DETERMINE THE VALUE OF EACH RECOVERED LOG, NOR WAS THERE A NEED FOR FURTHER UPDATES UNLESS THERE WERE PROBLEMS WITH ANY PERMITS .
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11. PUBLIC COMMENT. NONE
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12. REPEAT OFFENDERS. THE COMMISSION HEARD FOUR REPEAT OFFENDER CASES. EACH CASE INVOLVED MULTIPLE OYSTER HARVEST VIOLATIONS, WHICH THE COMMISSION TAKES VERY SERIOUSLY AS THE REPRESENT A THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE OYSTER INDUSTRY. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE THE LICENSES OF TWO INDIVIDUALS FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS, AND TO REVOKE ALL TIDAL WATER FISHING PRIVILEGES OF TWO INDIVIDUALS FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS.
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13. 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 HEARD FOUR CASES INVOLVING FAILURE TO REPORT COMMERCIAL HARVEST. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO PLACE FOUR INDIVIDUALS ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS.
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14. POUND NET: Case involving protests of an application to the Commission to license a pound net at a new location, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-25-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Pound Net Siting Public Interest Review.” THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFFS’ RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE THE APPLICATION TO LICENSE THE POUND NET AT THE NEW LOCATION NEAR CAPE CHARLES.
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15. PUBLIC HEARING: To amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-450-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Bluefish,” to establish the Virginia 2014 commercial bluefish quota as 886,040 pounds. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-450-10 ET SEQ. “PERTAINING TO BLUEFISH” TO ESTABLISH THE 2014 COMMERCIAL BLUEFISH QUOTA AS 886,040 POUNDS.
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16. PUBLIC HEARING: To amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-1090-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Licensing Requirements and License Fees” to update the recreational license fees for the Combined Sportfishing License, the 5-day Combined Sportfishing Trip License, and the Tidal Boat Sport Fishing License. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1090-10 ET SEQ. “PERTAINING TO LICENSE REQUIREMENTS AND LICENSE FEES” TO UPDATE THE RECREATIONAL LICENSE FEES PRESENTED TO THE COMMISSION. THE PRICING FOR THE FRESHWATER LICENSE FEES INCREASED, SO THE PRICING LISTED IN THE VMRC REGULATION NEEDED TO BE UPDATED IN ACCORDANCE.
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17. 2014 – 2015 OYSTER FISHERY ISSUES: (1) Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest,” to establish the 2014-2015 public oyster harvest seasons; (2) Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-260-10 et seq., ”Pertaining to Designation of Seed and Clean Cull Areas,” to modify oyster culling procedures; (3) Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1230-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Restrictions on Shellfish,” to require Shellfish Harvest Safety Certification of all shellfish harvesters by 2015; and (4) proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-610-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting”, to require each individual harvester to report his harvest of public oysters separately. DISCUSSION WAS HELD ON SEVERAL OYSTER FISHERY ISSUES, INCLUDING ESTABLISHING THE 2014-2015 SEASON, MODIFYING OYSTER CULLING PROCEDURES, REQUIRING THE SHELLFISH HARVEST SAFETY CERTIFICATION TO ALL SHELLFISH HARVESTERS BY 2015, AND CHANGES TO MANDATORY REPORTING OF PUBLIC OYSTERS. THESE ISSUES ARE BEING DISCUSSED IN AN EFFORT TO SLOW DOWN AN INCREASE IN PUBLIC OYSTER HARVEST AND PARTICIPATION, AND PRESERVE THE FUTURE PUBLIC OYSTER STOCK. THE VMRC STAFF WILL RECEIVE INDUSTRY FEEDBACK AT THE SHELLFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING ON JULY 23, 2014. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A REQUEST FOR AN AUGUST 26, 2014 PUBLIC HEARING.
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18. DISCUSSION: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass” to extend the overall 2014 recreational season by three days in September, pending a final decision by the ASMFC. PENDING A FINAL FEDERAL DECISION BY THE ASMFC, THE RECREATIONAL SEASON OF BLACK SEA BASS MAY BE EXTENDED BY THREE DAYS IN SEPTEMBER. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A REQUEST FOR AN AUGUST 26, 2014 PUBLIC HEARING, PENDING A FINAL DECISION BY THE ASMFC.
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19. DISCUSSION: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-751-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Setting and Mesh Size of Gill Nets” to limit the amount of gill nets, set by any individual harvester, east and north of Chincoteague Inlet. THIS ISSUE WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMISSION BY THE FINFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE. THE FINFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO PLACE A REGULATION THAT LIMITS THE NUMBER OF NETS TO 2 NETS (UP TO 1,200 FEET), PER LICENSEE PER VESSEL, LIMIT THE USE OF AGENTS, AND ADJUST TENDING REQUIREMENTS FROM SEPTEMBER THROUGH OCTOBER IN THIS AREA. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A REQUEST FOR AN AUGUST 26, 2014 PUBLIC HEARING.
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20. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Amendments to Chapter 4VAC 20-70-10 et seq., ”Pertaining to the Harvesting of Clams”, to establish a gear license for hand- held “water vacuums or water rakes” for the harvesting of cultured hard clams on leased ground. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A REQUEST FOR AN AUGUST 26, 2014 PUBLIC HEARING TO ALLOW ESTABLISH A GEAR LICENSE FOR HAND-HELD “WATER VACUUMS OR WATER RAKES.” AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1090-10 ET SEQ. “PERTAINING TO LICENSE REQUIREMENTS AND LICENSE FEES” WILL ALSO NEED TO BE ADDRESSED TO INCLUDE THE NEW GEAR LICENSE.
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THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:
2A. CITY OF ALEXANDRIA and ARLINGTON COUNTY, #14-0724, requests authorization to conduct a stream restoration project including the use of rock j-hooks, fill and excavation, relocation of the non-tidal stream channel, the construction of a temporary riprap access road with four (4) temporary culverts, and the use of temporary cofferdams along an approximately one-mile stretch of Four Mile Run between Mount Vernon Avenue and Route 1 in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. All instream construction will adhere to a time-of-year restriction for anadromous fish from February 15 - June 30, as well as standard conditions for erosion and sediment control and instream construction.
2B. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #14-0509, requests authorization to replace the fender system at 52 locations along the north and south sides of piers 9 and 10 situated along Hampton Roads at Naval Station Norfolk. Each fender module will consist of five (5) pre-stressed concrete piles faced with low-friction panels and an 8-foot by 14-foot foam filled fender.