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COMMISSION ACTIONS DECEMBER 10, 2013


COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD OPENED THE MEETING BY INTRODUCING NEW ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER JAMES CLOSE, A WATERMAN FROM MOON WHO WAS APPOINTED RECENTLY BY GOVERNOR MCDONNELL TO FILL THE SEAT DESIGNATED TO REPRESENT COMMERCIAL WATERMEN.
[Audio Associate Commissioner Close]

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  AFTER ADDING NEW AGENDA ITEM 21, PERTAINING TO OYSTER CULLING REQUIREMENTS, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE MEETING AGENDA.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BRYAN PLUMLEE WAS ABSENT FROM THE MEETING. 
[Audio Agenda]

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE OCTOBER MEETING WERE APPROVED.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THESE FIVE SO-CALLED PAGE TWO AGENDA ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS ITEMS 2A THROUGH 2E, WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSNONE.
[Audio Item 3-4]

4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  NONE.

5.  COLONIAL PIPELINE COMPANY, #05-2245, requests an extension to an existing Wetland Permit previously issued by the City of Chesapeake and set to expire December 31, 2013, authorizing the repair and/or maintenance of underground petroleum pipelines at six (6) designated stream crossings in the City of Chesapeake.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION.
[Audio Item 5]

6.  VIRGINIA ELECTRIC AND POWER COMPANY, #13-1284, requests authorization to construct a 1,050 linear foot riprap revetment adjacent to their facility at 2701 Vepco Street situated along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake.  The project requires a wetlands permit.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION.
[Audio Item 6]

7.  SUSTAINABILITY PARK LLC, #12-0925, requests authorization to construct a boat launch facility, including two (2) boat ramps with fixed tending piers and a floating dock adjacent to property situated along the James River at 13101 North Enon Church Road in Chesterfield County.  The project requires a wetlands permit and a subaqueous permit.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION, WITH A ROYALTY OF $2,947 FOR ENCROACHMENT OVER 760 SQUARE FEET OF WATER BOTTOM.
[Audio Item 7]

8.  PACE HOMES, INC., #13-1052.  Appeal of the Hampton Wetlands Board decision to deny a riprap storm water outfall apron along the Hampton River at the terminus of North Boxwood Street in the City of Hampton.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REMAND THE PROJECT BACK TO THE HAMPTON WETLANDS BOARD FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE DIRECT IMPACTS OF THE RIPRAP APRON ON TIDAL WETLANDS.
[Audio Item 8]

9.  ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, #13-1115, requests authorization to dredge approximately 48,000 cubic yards of fossilized oyster laden sediment from two established shell dredge sites, in the vicinity of Tribell Shoals, in the James River for the placement of approximately 24,000 cubic yards of clean oyster shell on seven (7) established oyster reef sanctuary sites on Baylor Grounds in the Great Wicomico River in Northumberland County, including the placement of Class I riprap on the sanctuary sites to deter poaching.  The project is protested by area waterman.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 5-2 TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AFTER THE CORPS AGREED TO A NUMBER OF REFINEMENTS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF, BUT THE COMMISSION DID NOT APPROVE THE CORPS’ PROPOSAL TO PLACE RIPRAP BOULDERS WITHIN THE SANCTUARIES AS A POACHING DETERRENT.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS ED TANKARD AND KEN NEILL VOTED NO BECAUSE THEY WANTED THE RIPRAP DEPLOYED AS POACHING DETERRENTS.
[Audio Item 9]

10.  XANTERRA KINGSMILL, LLC, #13-1345, requests authorization to construct an approximately 526-foot long elevated boardwalk with two (2) 695 square foot gazebos with 17.5-foot high roof structures and timber rails and a 6-foot wide by 90-foot long community pier with a 60-foot T-head and a 695 square foot gazebo with a 17.5-foot high roof structure and timber rails associated with the construction of the Kingsmill Resort Riverwalk adjacent to property situated along the James River in James City County.  The project is protested by numerous residents of the Kingsmill Community.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO DENY THE PROPOSED ELEVATED BOARDWALK ALONG 526 FEET OF STATE-OWNED WATER BOTTOM, BUT UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROPOSED COMMUNITY PIER AND GAZEBO, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION.
[Audio Item 10]

11.  PAUL AND MECHELE HALDER, #12-1726, request after-the-fact authorization to retain a concrete boat ramp and a 77-foot by 55-foot pier with an 820 square foot boathouse adjacent to property situated along the Port Walthall Channel of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield County.  The project requires a wetlands permit and a subaqueous permit.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 4-3 TO APPROVE THE AFTER-THE-FACT PERMIT BUT DID NOT ORDER ANY OF THE STRUCTURES REMOVED AND DECLINED TO LEVY A CIVIL CHARGE IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS TANKARD, ERSKINE AND HAYNIE VOTED NO, PREFERRING A CIVIL CHARGE BE LEVIED.
[Audio Item 11]

12.  ROBERT “TRES” IRBY, #12-1783, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain previously unauthorized concrete rubble placed along his property shoreline to be used as base material for a proposed 365 linear foot riprap revetment situated along the James River at 1519 Rustling Cedar Lane in Henrico County.  This project requires a wetlands permit and a subaqueous permit.  The project is also protested by nearby property owners. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE AFTER-THE-FACT PERMIT, WITH A CIVIL CHARGE OF $100 IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT, BUT STIPULATED THE APPLICANT MUST COMPLETE THE PROJECT WHERE THE UNAUTHORIZED RUBBLE WAS PLACED WITHIN 180 DAYS.
[Audio Item 12]

13.  PUBLIC COMMENT.  AT THE REQUEST OF WATERMAN CHRIS LUDFORD, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE AN EMERGENCY REGULATION TO INCREASE THE DAILY TRIP LIMIT FOR COMMERCIAL SPINEY DOGFISH LANDINGS FROM 3,300 POUNDS TO 4,000 POUNDS AS OF JANUARY 1, AND TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE ON THE MATTER AT ITS JANUARY 28 MEETING.  THIS DOES NOT INCREASE THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF SPINY DOGFISH ANNUAL QUOTA THAT CAN BE CAUGHT, IT ONLY INCREASES THE DAILY LANDING LIMIT FOR PERMITTED HARVESTERS.

ALSO, ATTORNEY JAMES LANG OF VIRGINIA BEACH GAVE A 30-MINUTE PRESENTATION ON A LARGE NUMBER OF DILAPIDATED VESSELS THAT HAVE BUILT UP OVER THE YEARS NEAR A VESSEL SALVAGE COMPANY LOCATED IN A COVE OF THE ELIZABETH RIVER IN NORFOLK.  HE SAID THE VESSELS CONSTITUTE A “FLOATING JUNKYARD” AND A POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND NAVIGATIONAL HAZARD.  HE ASKED THAT THE COMMISSION ORDER THEIR REMOVAL, WHICH IS SOMETHING THE CITY OF NORFOLK HAS BEEN WORKING ON FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS.

AFTER A LEGAL DISCUSSION, COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD ORDERED THE VIRGINIA MARINE POLICE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH THE CITY OF NORFOLK TO INVESTIGATE, DETERMINE OWNERSHIP OF THE VESSELS (SOME OF WHICH ARE RESTING ON STATE-OWNED WATERBOTTOMS), TO ORDER THEIR REMOVAL AND TO TAKE THE APPROPRIATE LEGAL STEPS TO COMPEL THEIR REMOVAL, IF NECESSARY.
[Audio Item 13]

14.  REPEAT OFFENDERS.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE THE LICENSE OF A COMMERCIAL WATERMAN FOR REPEATED OYSTER HARVEST VIOLATIONS, FOLLOWED BY ONE YEAR OF PROBATION, AND PLACED ANOTHER WATERMAN ON PROBATION FOR ONE YEAR FOR STRIPED BASS VIOLATIONS.
[Audio Item 14]

15.  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 REVOKE TWO WATERMEN’S LICENSES FOR SIX MONTHS FOR FAILING TO FILE TIMELY MONTHLY HARVEST REPORTS, AS REQUIRED, WHILE ON PROBATION FOR FAILING TO FILE TIMELY MONTHLY HARVEST REPORTS. WHEN THEIR REVOCATIONS ARE LIFTED, THEY WILL BE ON PROBATION FOR ONE YEAR, THE COMMISSION DECIDED.

THE COMMISSION ALSO PLACED ANOTHER WATERMEN ON PROBATION FOR TWO YEARS AND PLACED TWO ADDITIONAL WATERMEN ON PROBATION FOR ONE YEAR, FOR FAILING TO FILE TIMELY HARVEST REPORTS.
[Audio Item 15]

16.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-900-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs” to establish commercial management measures for the 2014 fishing season.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH THE 2014 HORSESHOE CRAB QUOTA, DAILY TRIP LIMITS, PERMIT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR LICENSE OR PERMIT TRANSFERS AND TO ENACT A PROHIBITION ON USING HORSESHOE CRAB DREDGE GEAR WITHIN THE BLUE CRAB SANCTUARY AREA 2.
[Audio Item 16]

17.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendment to Chapter 4VAC20-252-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass” to establish the recreational and commercial striped bass harvest quota and management measures for the 2014 fishing season.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO INCREASE THE 2014 RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS QUOTA BY 14 PERCENT EACH, BUT NOTED THAT JUVENILE RECRUITMENT HAS TRENDED DOWNWARD IN RECENT YEARS AND THE FEMALE SPAWNING STOCK BIOMASS IS WELL BELOW THE TARGET LEVEL AND NEAR THE CURRENTLY ESTABLISHED THRESHOLD.  THE COMMISSION ALSO CONCURRED WITH STAFF’S RECOMMENDATION TO ALLOW FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVES TO REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDENS IN THE COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS FISHERY.
[Audio Item 17]

18.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendment to Chapter 4VAC20-490-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Sharks” to establish commercial processing tolerances at seas for smooth dogfish.  These amendments are proposed for compliance with the fishery management plan requirements for smooth dogfish.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH A MAXIMUM SMOOTH DOGFISH FIN-TO-CARCASS WEIGHT RATIO OF 12 PERCENT, TO REFLECT THE REQUIREMENTS OF A CHANGE TO THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION’S INTERSTATE SPECIES MANAGEMENT PLAN, AND TO ALLOW COMMERCIAL WATERMEN TO PROCESS SMOOTH DOGFISH AT SEA YEAR ROUND.
[Audio Item 18]

19.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-500-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Catching of Eels,” to establish gear-specific harvest seasons, amend size and possession limits, for the harvesting of American eel, and establish buyer reporting requirements.  These amendments are proposed for compliance with the interstate fishery management plan requirements for American eel.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH A GEAR-SPECIFIC HARVEST SEASON CLOSURE FOR ALL COMMERCIAL GEARS, EXCEPT POTS AND TRAPS, FROM SEPT. 1 THROUGH DEC. 31; TO SET THE RECREATIONAL POSSESSION LIMIT OF 25 EELS PER DAY PER PERSON; TO INCREASE THE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL SIZE LIMIT FROM SIX TO NINE INCHES; AND TO ESTABLISH A CHARTER AND HEAD BOAT POSSESSION LIMIT OF 50 EELS PER CAPTAIN AND CREW PER DAY.  THE CHANGES WERE REQUIRED BY THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION BECAUSE THE COAST-WIDE EEL STOCK IS IN POOR SHAPE AND THE SPECIES IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR LISTING AS ENDANGERED.
[Audio Item 19]

20.  RECOMMENDATIONS:  From the Recreational and Commercial Fishing Advisory Boards, on funding projects from the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE $574,000 IN FUNDING FOR SEVEN FISHING-RELATED PROJECTS AND SCIENTIFIC STUDIES.
[Audio Item 20]

21.  CLARIFICATION OF OYSTER CULLING REQUIREMENTS:  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CLARIFY IN AN EMERGENCY REGULATION THAT UNDERSIZED OYSTERS THAT ARE SO CLOSELY ATTACHED TO A MARKET SIZE OYSTER THAT THEY CANNOT BE REMOVED WITHOUT KILLING THE ANIMAL ARE LEGAL TO KEEP.  THIS HAS BEEN A LONG-STANDING PRACTICE THE COMMISSION WISHES TO CONTINUE.  THE COMMISSION WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE ON THIS MATTER AT ITS JAN. 28, 2014 MEETING.
[Audio Item 21]

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

2A.  METRO FIBER NETWORKS, INC., #13-1568, requests authorization to install a new submerged fiber optic cable, by directional bore and jet plow method, beneath 4,115 linear feet of the York River between Yorktown and Gloucester Point, approximately 1,000 feet upstream of the Coleman Bridge, to provide additional connectivity to the VIMS campus and Gloucester Point residents in Gloucester County. Recommend approval with a royalty of $12,345.00 for the encroachment of the line beneath 4,115 linear feet of State-owned subaqueous bottom at a rate of $3.00 per linear foot.

2B.  LOUDOUN WATER, #10-2020, requests authorization to modify a previously-authorized permit for a water intake and associated infrastructure to include boring 15 linear feet a minimum of six (6) feet below Sycolin Creek for two (2) 8-inch electrical conduits, and one (1) 4-inch communication conduit as a part of the Potomac River Water Supply Project in Loudoun County. 

2C.  PER PROPERTIES, #12-0592, requests authorization to modify a previously approved project, to create 26,136 square feet of oyster reef next to an existing reef located north of the Jordan Bridge along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake.  The reef expansion is proposed as part of PER’s mitigation plan resulting from impacts associated with the construction of a grain terminal adjacent to their property at 3991 Elm Avenue situated on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. 

2D. 
ROANOKE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT, #13-0914, requests authorization to rehabilitate the existing 9th Street bridge, to include replacement of the existing superstructure with a 40-foot 10-inch wide bridge deck, across approximately 80 feet of the Roanoke River in the City of Roanoke.  No in-stream work is required.  Recommend approval contingent upon the acceptance of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Historic Resources and the permittee.

2E. CAVALIER GOLF AND YACHT CLUB, #13-0935, requests authorization to remove and replace the existing North and East fixed pier facilities (including slips and associated mooring piles) with floating docks and new mooring piles; to install a 10-foot by 150-foot floating attenuator pier; install an 8-foot by 60-foot paddle board dock; add a 5-foot by 10-foot gas dock extension; and add an 8-foot by 50-foot extension to the westernmost floating dock, all adjacent to the private marina located at 1052 Cardinal Road in the Birdneck Point subdivision, situated along Little Neck Creek in Virginia Beach.  Staff recommends approval with a royalty of $28,984.50 for the total encroachment over 19,323 square feet of State-owned submerged land at a rate of $1.50 per square foot.

PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM:  

None.


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