, 2015

Sowder gives county waterfront
tract to develop a boat ramp

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—A citizen concerned with the county’s struggle to obtain land for public access to the water, recently donated more than five acres near the headwaters of Dymer Creek for a public boat ramp and parking area.

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The star marks the approximate site of the proposed launch.

Bob Sowder of the Reserve at Lake Chase, LLC, said he wanted to help out the county after reading about a failed attempt to secure land for a fishing dock and boat ramp on Antipoison Creek several years ago.

“I’ve had a bit of luck...,” said Sowder. “I’d like to give back to the county. I want a situation where grandparents can get their grandchildren out on a boat and get their attention.”

According to planning and land use director Don Gill, Sowder bought the “Old Haynie Farm” off Fleets Bay Road in 2012 and portioned off 5.7-acres of the land to give to the county for public access.

“We’ve engaged a local design firm to draw up preliminary plans...and we’ve been approved for a $100,000 grant from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to put in a boat ramp,” said Gill. “The launch will be about two miles from the Chesapeake Bay, 1.9 miles from Kilmarnock and 4.2 miles from White Stone.”

Conditions of the grant require the project be completed in 18 months and include 35 parking places and increased police presence on Fleets Bay Road for security, he said.

Public hearings on the project will be held by the county wetlands board and Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Gill said the creek will need to be dredged in that area in order to provide the required depth to accommodate boats. The county will hold a public hearing on a special exception permit to remove the spoils from dredging.

Supervisors thanked Sowder for his generosity.

“We appreciate very much what you have done for the people of Lancaster County,” said District 2 supervisor Ernest Palin.

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