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Supervisor: Plan is ‘a good start’

by Larry Chowning

At the end of the public hearing on the Middlesex County Public Waterfront Access Vision Plan on May 9, supervisors explained their reasoning for having graduate student Douglas Diedrichsen go through the process of creating such a plan and their expectations for the future.

Hartfield District supervisor Bob LeBoeuf told the public “what we wanted was to compare sites to determine which ones were potentially better for development. Different sites offer different advantages. Some of it is about cost too. We may like the idea of public access [at a certain site] but at what cost? If it is going to cost millions of dollars [to make a site work], then it won’t work because it will cost us too much. Part of this plan was to look at all available assets and gather as much information as possible.”

LeBoeuf also mentioned the possibility of partnerships for certain sites. He said the Stamper’s Bay site at Hartfield might be one where the county and state could be partners. The site is maintained by the state but there is not enough parking space there, he said. “This might well be a site where we can partner with the state and help finance a larger parking lot.”

LeBoeuf also mentioned the Grey’s Point Beach project as one to be partners with the state. The beachfront property is owned by the state. “This would make a good beach for residents and visitors,” he said. “But with every potential project we are going to have to decide—yes, we like this project or, no, we don’t like it.”

LeBoeuf praised the work of graduate student Diedrichsen and thanked him for “giving us a really good start.” Throughout the hearing, citizens and supervisors thanked Diedrichsen for a job well done.

Jamaica District supervisor Wayne Jessie said the vision plan is just the beginning. “We have a lot of work to do and we are a long, long ways before we put a shovel in the ground.”

Saluda District supervisor Pete Mansfield said he knows there is a need for public access to the water but “with it comes responsibility.” He suggested the county ask the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office for more police surveillance of current public access areas.

posted 05.17.2017

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