Rappahannock Record, March 27, 2014
Six years ago, Lancaster County announced it was going to put a boat ramp and pier on Ashley Cove. Much the same as Simmons Cove, which is also off of Dymer Creek and is now targeted for the same.
Like Ashley Cove, the Simmons site is shallow, requires dredging and will disrupt homes and wildlife lining its shores all the way to the Bay. There’s another similarity: both projects were sneak attacks, with no residents notified until the County was ready to approve the projects.
People who own waterfront property pay premium annual taxes for that privilege. So why the jihad against those who shoulder a heavier share of the tax burden?
Access to the Bay is not the question; that’s available whether the Simmons project is ultimately approved or not. The question is whether it is necessary to diminish waterfront residents’ enjoyment of their property in order to provide additional access to the Bay.
The answer is “no.” The County can do now what it should have done years ago: buy a deep water lot close to the Bay and put the ramp there. With ramp users passing fewer homes and with less environmental disruption, opposition would be minimal and the County would have what it wants.
Yes, it would cost more upfront than a “free” donation of land (read: proffer for future development rights), but if the project is as beneficial to the county at large as the Board of Supervisors would have us believe, then all of us should logically share the cost.
The County turned away from the Ashley Cove Project for good and sufficient reasons. There are plenty of reasons to drop the Simmons Cove idea as well. Then they should do it the right way.