Defining a welcome ramp site

Rappahannock Record, April 3, 2014

The crowd that turned out to express opposition to the proposed boat ramp at Simmons Cove at last week’s board of supervisors meeting was unprecedented.

According to opponents of the proposed launch facility, more than 800 citizens of Lancaster County signed petitions opposing the project. That number represents far more than just the residents of Simmons Cove.

Other proposed launch sites have also encountered public opposition, but none has been opposed as vehemently and by so many as the Simmons Cove project. Why so much opposition?

The answer lies in two aspects of the project. First, residents are offended by the secrecy under which the proposal was developed. That issue has already been addressed by others. Second, is the very obvious inappropriate nature of the site proposed for the ramp.

Simmons Cove is a very quiet residential area. There is no boating traffic whatsoever in that area. Why?

Because there is not sufficient water to allow boats to operate.

The proposed ramp—that would require the dredging the length of two football fields—would transform that quiet residential area into a very busy, noisy, and possibly dangerous recreational facility. Even those who don’t live in the area are offended by the idea of local government forcing its will in a way that would fundamentally alter the character of a neighborhood.

I would prefer the county seek a site that is already commercial, or industrial in character. There are such sites available—sites with deep water, open water and close to where boaters want to go. At such sites, a boat ramp would be welcome and probably would be unopposed.

Elizabeth M. Southmayd
White Stone

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