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Failure to raise sunken barge results in charges

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A large barge (above) remains on the bottom of Urbanna Creek. It had been docked at Urbanna Yachting Center when it began to sink on March 28, 2012. The white buoys in the creek mark the sides and end of the barge as a warning to boaters. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

The Virginia Marine Police has charged the owner of a sunken barge because he failed to raise it off the bottom of Urbanna Creek where it sank on March 28, 2012.

The barge is over 50 feet long.

Last Friday, June 21, a marine police officer served Raymond E. Watson of Mechanicsville with 2 misdemeanor summonses, according to documents filed in Middlesex General District Court. One summons alleges that Watson failed to “remove obstruction/hazard” from state waters, a Class 3 misdemeanor. The other summons charges that Watson did “impair use of state waters by dumping,” a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Watson is scheduled to be arraigned in Middlesex District Court on July 1 at 8:30 a.m.

“New documentation” was obtained that persuaded Middlesex Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Hurd “to authorize the Virginia Marine Police to serve Mr. Watson with a notice to remove the barge from the state-owned water bottom within 30 days.”

The deadline for Watson to raise the barge “expired several days ago,” wrote Travelstead in his June 19 letter.

Watson was a partner or involved with Potomac Timber Investments LLC, which purchased Urbanna Yachting Center in 2007. The marina was at the center of a $4.5 million lawsuit filed in 2008 by Potomac Timber against the Town of Urbanna for denying its site plan, which sought the construction of 14 proposed condominiums on marina property.

Potomac Timber withdrew its lawsuit in July 2011.

The 1.47-acre property is scheduled to be sold at public auction at a “trustee’s sale” on Friday, June 28, at 11 a.m. at the Middlesex County Circuit Court, 73 Bowden Street, Saluda. See “Notices” in the June 6, June 13 or June 20 Southside Sentinel for details on the June 28 sale.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 06.26.2013

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