Boat Ramp Fee Goes to Hearing

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By Carol Vaughn —

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted to hold a public hearing next month on an ordinance that, if approved, will impose parking fees at some county boat ramps.
The board Wednesday reviewed the draft ordinance, after members at a previous meeting directed staff to craft a policy to institute a boat facility parking fee, with exemptions for people who pay real estate and personal property taxes in Accomack County.
“It’s a good, solid ordinance,” said Supervisor Robert Crockett.
Section 102 of the county code governs use of public boating facilities.
Changes proposed to the section include the addition of parking fees at 18 public boat ramps, according to the draft version: Annis Cove, Folly Creek, Gargatha Landing, Greenbackville Harbor, Hack’s Neck, Hammock, Harborton, Johnson’s Landing, Kegotank Landing, Gladding Landing, the Old NASA Ferry Dock, Parkers Creek Landing, Pitts Landing, Queen Sound, Quinby Harbor, Schooner Bay, Southside Chesconessex, and Young Creek.
“This is not going to apply to every facility out there. There are certain facilities that have certain restrictions with them that will not allow you to impose a permit on users of that facility,” Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason told the board.
Queen Sound is likely one of those, Mason said, noting staff are still researching the matter.
Town boating facilities are not included in the county ordinance.
A daily permit would cost $7 per vehicle and/or boat trailer. An annual permit, for 12 months starting July 1, would cost $40 per vehicle and/or boat trailer.
Owners with a valid Virginia saltwater recreational fishing license would pay a reduced fee of $5 per day or $30 per year per vehicle and/or trailer.
Supervisor Harris Phillips recommended adding a discounted rate for people age 65 and over, similar to a discount offered for fishing licenses in the state.
Supervisor Paul Muhly was the only board member to vote against the ordinance as written. He said during discussion that the fees are too low.
The permits would be for purchase online or at the Accomack County treasurer’s office, according to the draft document.
Vehicles and boat trailers owned by a person who pays county real estate or personal property taxes, or owned by the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or Accomack County, would be exempt from the fees, as would vehicles and trailers owned by a person who leases a slip or mooring location from Accomack County.
In the likely scenario, permits would be mailed for free to the owners of around 5,200 boats on the county personal property tax rolls, at the same time they get their tax bill.
People who pay only real estate taxes in Accomack County also could obtain a free permit, but would have to go to the treasurer’s office or perhaps online to get it.
The ordinance allows for reciprocity with Northampton County, should Northampton decide to charge a similar fee for its boating facilities.