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The following are the agenda items from the Commission's regular October meeting held October 28, 2003 at Commission headquarters. The Commission's action is in bold.

1. MINUTES of previous meeting. The Commission voted, 8-0, to approve the minutes as presented.

2. PERMITS (Projects over $50,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval). The Commission voted, 8-0, to approve the two permits.

3. CLOSED SESSION. No session was held.

4. DANIEL R. NEWTON, #03-1389. Commission review of the July 24, 2003, decision of the Accomack County Wetlands Board to approve the filling 6,000 square feet of vegetated wetlands along Chesconessex Creek in the Schooner Bay area of Accomack County. Continued from the October 7, 2003, Commission meeting. The Commission agreed to continue the case until its November meeting.

5. CHARLES W. DAVIS, #03-1147. Commission review on appeal by 25 or more freeholders of the August 21, 2003, decision by the Essex County Wetlands Board to approve a permit to construct a community fishing pier, a launch ramp for personal watercraft and canoes, and a vinyl bulkhead at community property situated along Piscataway Creek. The Commission voted, 5-3, to remand the case to the Essex County Wetlands Board for additional consideration.

6. VIRGINIA BEACH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #03-0641, requests authorization to construct/undertake improvements to the Rudee Inlet infrastructure to reduce shoaling in the inlet, improve navigation and increase the efficiency of maintenance dredging operations. The Commission voted, 8-0, to approve the permit with the following conditions: 1) the west end of the groin be no closer than 45 feet to the property lines; 2) the city use its best efforts to proceed with the project by March 29, 2004; 3) the replacement weir be no further south than the existing weir; 4) the weir and groin on the south side of the inlet be constructed first unless weather factors intercede; and 5) the dredging be conducted in a manner appropriate with federal guidelines and to protect the new weir and groin. 

6A. The Commission presented a certificate of Distinguished Service to former Commission member Dr. Henry Lane Hull of Northumberland County.

7. MIKE ZWICKLBAUER, #03-1161, requests authorization to construct a 5-foot by 115-foot open-pile private pier with a 12-foot by 18-foot L-head and 30-feet of 5-foot catwalk; 30 feet of 2-foot catwalk; one 11-foot by 11-foot floating dock and to construct a 16-foot by 33-foot open-sided boathouse adjacent to his property situated along Fishers Creek, a tributary to the James River in the City of Newport News. One adjoining property owner and three nearby residents protest the project. The protest was withdrawn and the permit will be handled administratively. 

8. DARRON CONNER, #03-1409, requests authorization to construct a 40-foot long by 17-foot wide open-sided boathouse at a previously authorized pier adjacent to property situated along Back Creek in York County. An adjacent property owner protests the project. The protestant and property owner agreed to a compromise and the Commission voted, 6-0, to approve the permit according to the compromise. 

9. PUBLIC COMMENTS: There were none.

10. PUBLIC HEARING: Request to lower quota and adjust trip limits for the 2003/04 Spiny Dogfish fishery through amendments to Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Sharks". The Commission voted, 4-3, to adopt a 500,000-pound quota with a 4,000-pound trip limit. 

11. Continued Discussion and Decision regarding proposed amendments to Regulation 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass", to establish provisions for the 2004 commercial black sea bass fishery. A public hearing was held on October 7, 2003. The Commission voted, 7-0, to approve the permits with five specifics: 1) assigned 17,000 pounds of the increased quota in 2004 (170,000 pounds) to medical hardship cases to be determined by a committee of the Commission; 2) set a bi-catch trip limit minimum of 200 pounds and from 200 to 500-pounds the bi-catch limit it is 10 percent of the aggregate species catch up to 500- pounds (maximum allowed bi-catch) ; 3) the 11,000 minimum eligibility requirement of 2003 for participation in the directed fishery was lowered to 10,000 pounds for 2004; and 4) half of the remainder of the 170,000 pound additional quota in 2004 (after 17,000-pounds is set aside for medical hardships) goes to a permitted by-catch vessel and the other half to directed fishery permit holders. 

12. PUBLIC HEARING: A proposal to lower the minimum cull size from 3 inches to 2 1/2 inches, for oysters taken from clean cull areas or harvested from areas for direct consumption. The Commission voted, 7-0, to maintain the 3-inch cull law.

13. Continued Discussion and Decision regarding proposed amendments to Regulation 4 VAC 20-650-10, et seq., to establish the 2003/04 oyster harvest rules. Deferred from the October 7 Commission meeting. The Commission voted, 5-0 with Associate Member Cowart abstaining, to prohibit harvesting within 300 feet of the oyster reef sanctuaries established by the Commission.

14. Continued Discussion and Decision regarding an industry proposal to modify Regulation 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest", to allow for oyster harvest on a rock below the Rappahannock River Bridge. Deferred from the October 7 Commission meeting. The Commission voted, 6-0, not to open any rocks below the (State Rt. 3) bridge over the Rappahannock River. The Commission voted, 7-0, to open portions of the lower Great Wicomico River and the lower James River to hand scrape harvest during February and March 2004.

15. The Commission voted, 7-0, to set its November meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18 and its December meeting to Monday, December 22, 2003. 

NEXT MEETING:  November 18,  2003

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