On March 27th at 7:00 PM the Lancaster County Board of Supervisors met in regular session and was confronted by a crowded room of opponents to the proposed ramp and parking lot. Residents stood and addressed the Board during their “public input” period before regular business: not a hearing, but the only opening available for residents to be heard.
The Board chairman began by giving County planner/land use director Don Gill the opportunity to review the history of the County’s comprehensive plan and his efforts since 2012 to develop the site on Simmons Cove.
Opponents of the ramp were each limited to five minutes. Dozens of citizens spoke, with facts about boating safety, water quality and depth, dredging effectiveness and cost, habitat destruction, poor comparison to open water at other public ramp facilities, underdeveloped cost estimates, critical expenditure needs elsewhere in the county, and alternative ramp solutions. Several spoke with passion regarding the secrecy the County used this time in developing the Simmons plan, and how it was presented as a fait accompli. Adjacent property owners, whose families have resided on the land for generations, spoke about the County planners’ disrespect for them by giving only a day’s notice before information appeared in the newspaper and the Board’s acted publicly for the first time.
Citizens spoke for two hours. Board members were cordial and listened quietly, asking no questions. Clarification was given about a Board member’s interest in fishing piers as apart from boat ramps. The County planner was directed to meet with anyone interested after he developed responses to the issues raised. There was no further indication given of the Board’s plans for this issue.