** APPROVAL OF AGENDA. THE AGENDA WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS
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1. MINUTES of previous meeting. THE MINUTES OF THE JULY
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, 2B AND 2C WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
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3. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS. NONE
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4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. THE COMMISSION HELD A CLOSED MEETING TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL LITIGATION. UPON RETURNING TO OPEN SESSION THE COMMISSION VOTED TO APPEAL A JUDGE'S RULING TO REINSTATE TWO WATERMEN'S REVOKED LICENSES.
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5. ROBERT PY, #14-0439. Commission review on appeal by the applicant of the July 9, 2014, decision by the Norfolk Wetlands Board to deny his after-the-fact request to retain 80 linear feet of riprap revetment, to install 115 linear feet of concrete retaining wall, and restore vegetated wetlands adjacent to his property at 461 Peace Haven Drive situated along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. BASED UPON A REQUEST BY DR. PY'S ATTORNEY AND COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM NORFOLK CITY DEPUTY ATTORNEY CYNTHIA HALL, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CONTINUE THE REVIEW OF THIS MATTER TO THE OCTOBER 28, 2014 COMMISSION MEETING.
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6. MICHAEL and LINDA BRADLEY, #14-0450. Request authorization to construct a 17-foot by 28-foot open-sided boathouse adjacent to an existing private, noncommercial pier situated along the York River at 5436 York Haven Lane in Gloucester County. The project is protested by an adjoining property owner. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
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7. THOMAS PERRY, #14-0491. Requests authorization to deploy multiple lines of commercial oyster aquaculture floats, anchored to the bottom over 25 acres of Chesapeake Bay, approximately one-half mile north of Windmill Point in Lancaster County. The project is protested by a nearby riparian landowner. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT WITH A NUMBER OF SPECIAL CONDITION RECOMMENDED BY STAFF INCLUDING A RESTRICTION ON THE NUMBER OF FLOATS TO 500 FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS, AFTER WHICH TIME MR. PERRY COULD APPLY TO EXPAND. THE APPROVAL ALSO INCLUDED AN ANNUAL ROYALTY FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE FLOATS ON STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $0.005 PER SQUARE FOOT AND A SURETY BOND TO COVER THE COST OF REMOVAL OF ALL THE AQUACULTURE STRUCTURES SHOULD SUCH REMOVAL BECOME NECESSARY.
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8. LOUIS W. STONE, #11-0617. Commission consideration of a permit violation associated with a dredging project in an unnamed cove of Wilton Creek, adjacent to property at 61 Churchill Road in Middlesex County, including the role of the contractor, Haywood Marine Construction. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY FOUND BOTH MR. STONE AND HIS CONTRACTOR, HAYWOOD MARINE CONSTRUCTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIOLATION AND AGREED TO ACCEPT CIVIL CHARGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $6000.00 FROM BOTH PARTIES IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS. SHOULD THE PARTIES DECIDED NOT TO AGREE TO PAY THE CIVIL CHARGE, THE COMMISSION REQUESTED THE MATTER BE REFERRED TO THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN ORDER TO SEEK CIVIL PENALTIES.
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9. DONALD C. PORTER, SR., #12-087S. Requests authorization to lease 6.60 acres of Oyster Planting Ground situated near the State line in Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County. The application is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE LEASE.
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10. DONALD C. PORTER, SR., #13-104S. Requests authorization to lease 84.89 acres of Oyster Planting Ground situated in Pocomoke Sound near North End Point in Accomack County. The application is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE LEASE.
11. HARVEY A. DREWER, II, #13-027S. Requests authorization to lease 145.49 acres and 3.26 acres of Oyster Planting Ground situated in the Robin Hood Bay area of Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County. The application is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE LEASE
12. LEONARD WILLIAM WHITE, #13-102S. Requests authorization to lease 96.80 acres of Oyster Planting Ground situated adjacent to Public Ground #9 in Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County. The application is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO DENY THE LEASE APPLICATION CONSISTENT WITH THE RECOMMENDATION BY STAFF.
13. ADRON W. WILLIAMS, #13-114S. Requests authorization to lease 124.58 acres of Oyster Planting Ground situated west of Long Point in Pocomoke Sound, Accomack County. The application is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO DENY THE LEASE APPLICATION CONSISTENT WITH THE RECOMMENDATION BY STAFF.
14. PUBLIC COMMENT: NONE.
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15. UNLAWFUL TAKING OF OYSTERS OFFENDERS. THE COMMISSION HEARD TWO REPEAT OFFENDER CASES. EACH CASE INVOLVED OYSTER HARVEST VIOLATIONS FROM AN OYSTER SANCTUARY. EMPHASIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF OYSTERS AS A NATURAL RESOURCE OF VIRGINIA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF OYSTERS FOR CLEANING THE BAY AND SUPPLYING JOBS TO THE COMMONWEALTH, THE COMMISSION VOTED 7-1 (COMMISSION BULL VOTING AGAINST THE MOTION) TO REVOKE THE LICENSE OF ONE INDIVIDUAL FOR A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS, AND TO REVOKE THE LICENSE OF ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR.
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16. 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 CONSIDERED THREE CASES. TWO INDIVIDUALS DID NOT APPEAR FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE HEARING. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO SUSPEND THE LICENSES OF ONE INDIVIDUAL UNTIL HE IS ABLE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMISSION, TO POSTPONE ONE HEARING FOR A LATER MEETING, AND TO PLACE ONE INDIVIDUAL ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS.
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17. PUBLIC HEARING: Amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-70-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Harvesting of Clams" and 4 VAC 20-1090-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Licensing Requirements and License Fees" to establish a gear license and limitations for use of hand held water vacuums, or water rakes, for the harvesting of cultured hard clams on leased ground. STAFF INFORMED THE COMMISSION THAT DUE TO A PROVISION IN THE VIRGINIA CODE PROHIBITING HYDRAULIC DREDGES, THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS ARE UNABLE TO BE MADE. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO TAKE NO ACTION ON THE AMENDMENT.
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18. PUBLIC HEARING: 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; modify tending requirements and provide a definition for small mesh gill nets. STAFF EXPLAINED THAT DUE TO A MISUNDERSTANDING WITH THE FINFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE, AN EMERGENCY REGULATION WAS NEEDED. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-751-10 ET SEQ. "PERTAINING TO THE SETTING AND MESH SIZE OF GILL NETS" TO DEFINE SMALL-MESH GILL NETS AS ANY GILL NET WITH A STRETCHED MESH SIZE OF FIVE INCHES OR LESS, AND TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF GILLNETS SET BY AN INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THE ASSATEAGUE ISLAND SMALL-MESH GILL NET AREA, FROM AUGUST 15 THROUGH OCTOBER 15TH, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 27, 2014. THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS TO REMOVE THE TENDING REQUIREMENT FOR SMALL-MESH GILL NETS ON THE OCEAN SIDE OF NORTHAMPTON AND ACCOMACK COUNTIES, FROM AUGUST 15 THROUGH OCTOBER 15, AND TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF AGENTS IN THE ASSATEAGUE SMALL-MESH GILL NET AREA, BUT PROVIDE THE COMMISSIONER DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY TO PERMIT SUCH USE, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 27, 2014. THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADVERTISE FOR ADOPTION OF THE EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS AT THE SEPTEMBER 23 PUBLIC HEARING.
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19. PUBLIC HEARING: 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. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE AMENDMENTS IN ORDER TO BE CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL MEASURES. THE 2014 RECREATIONAL BLACK SEA BASS SEASON HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 21, 2014.
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20. PUBLIC HEARING: (1) 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 and a management control date; (2) 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) 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) 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. THE STAFF RECOMMENDED AMENDMENTS TO EXTEND THE SEASON LENGTH, ESTABLISH A MANAGEMENT CONTROL DATE OF JULY 1, 2014, RETURN TO LOOSE-PILE CULLING, DEFINE MEASUREMENTS FOR REPORTING, AND REQUIRE AN ONLINE SAFETY CERTIFICATION OF THE SHELLFISH HARVESTER EDUCATION PROGRAM. STAFF RECOMMENDED AGAINST LOWERING THE VESSEL LIMIT OF PUBLIC OYSTERS, SHORTENING THE WORK DAY UNTIL NOON, AND REQUIRING INDIVIDUAL HARVESTER REPORTING. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF REQUIRING A RETURN TO CULLING OYSTERS INTO A PILE ON THE BOAT, RATHER THAN CULLING DIRECTLY INTO BASKETS DUE TO COMMENTS RECEIVED CONCERNING THE INCREASED EFFICIENCY AND PUBLIC SAFETY ATTRIBUTED TO THE BASKETS.
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21. DISCUSSION: Proposed amendment to Chapter 4 VAC 20-490-10
et seq., "Pertaining to Sharks" to raise Spiny dogfish trip limits; modify
the definition of small mesh gill nets and large mesh gill nets; and amend
shark finning regulations. THE
COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE A REQUEST FOR A SEPTEMBER 23,
2014 PUBLIC HEARING TO INCREASE THE COMMERCIAL SPINY DOGFISH TRIP LIMIT
FROM 4,000 POUNDS TO 5,000 POUNDS AND TO MODIFY THE DEFINITION OF SMALL
MESH GILL NETS AND LARGE MESH GILL NETS. THE COMMISSION WILL NOT BE
DISCUSSING AMENDMENTS TO SHARK FINNING REGULATIONS.
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22. SETTING DATE OF NOVEMBER/DECEMBER COMMISSION MEETING FOR DECEMBER 9. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE DATE FOR THE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER COMMISSION MEETING AS DECEMBER 9.
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THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:
2A. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #14-0415, requests authorization to construct a 223 linear foot timber pile breakwater to protect an open-pile boat ramp and floating tending pier situated along Willoughby Bay at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk.
2B. CHESAPEAKE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #11-0012, requests authorization to modify an existing permit associated with the construction of new north and southbound fixed-span bridges along the Dominion Boulevard (U.S. Route 17) crossing over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake. The modification request includes the installation of temporary cofferdams, two around each of the new river piers 13SB and 14SB associated with the southbound bridge, and two around each of the original abutments to be demolished, and the installation of two temporary falsework towers. Adherence to original permit conditions remain in effect.
2C. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, #13-1912, requests authorization to modify an existing permit to include the installation of 104 feet of replacement steel sheetpile bulkheading, encroaching a maximum of 2 feet channelward of the deteriorating structure, at Fort Belvoir and adjacent to Gunston Cove off Wilson Road in Fairfax County.