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(A) Purpose and intent. It is the intent of the county that private and public access to waterways be adequately provided and properly designed, particularly as it relates to boating facilities, and in such a way that the environmental quality of shorelines is not compromised.
(B) Plan of development submittal requirements.
(1) For shoreline development which includes docks, piers, marinas, boat ramps, and other water-related development a joint Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) permit application for filling, dredging, or construction in wetlands or waterways shall be submitted by the developer with the plan of development. The joint application will be forwarded to VMRC (by applicant) which will coordinate permit review with the County Wetlands Board, the Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other local, state, and federal agencies as required.
(2) The preliminary plat or site plan shall show the location of all proposed docks, piers, marinas, boat ramps, community water access, and other water-related structures and facilities, together with water depths by contours or otherwise, current flow directions, tidal action, and the location and extent of beaches, wetlands, swamps, subaquatic vegetation, and shellfish beds.
(3) Design of waterfront facilities or construction in wetlands and other subaqueous areas shall comply with this chapter and the Subaqueous Guidelines and Criteria for Siting of Marinas or Community Facilities for Boat Mooring of the State Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Wetlands Guidelines, and other applicable state and federal guidelines, criteria, and regulations.
(4) The county shall require and utilize the following information in its review of marina proposals:
(a) Existing natural shoreline and backshore features and uses;
(b) Geohydraulic processes and flushing characteristics;
(c) Biological resources and habitats for the backshore, foreshore, and aquatic environments;
(d) Area of surface waters appropriated;
(e) Site orientation; exposure to wind, waves, flooding, or tidal/storm surges; type and extent of shore defense works or shoreline stabilization and flood protection necessary;
(f) Impact upon existing shoreline and water uses including public access and recreation;
(g) The regional need for additional facilities; and
(h) The location and design of the facilities, including information pertaining to the prevention and control of fuel spillage, collection, treatment, and/or disposal of sewage and solid waste, shoreline modifications, covered and open moorage location, size, and general design, and impact on shoreline views in the marina and from adjacent private and public properties.
(5) Proposals for piers or docks shall include at a minimum the following information:
(a) Description of the proposed structure, including its size, location, design, and any shoreline stabilization or other modification required by the project;
(b) Ownership of tidelands, shorelands, and bedlands;
(c) Proposed location of piers or docks relative to property lines, mean high water, and mean low water; and
(d) Location and length of piers or docks on adjacent properties.
(C) Public access.
(1) All developments shall be designed to protect views and visual access, as well as public access to the water and shorelines.
(2) County officials may negotiate with developers on major plans of development, if agreeable to both parties, to provide view corridors, public accessways, trails easements, or other amenities provided that they do not conflict with the proposed use, adjacent uses, or public safety nor adversely impact the shoreline environment.
(3) Any agreements reached in division (C)(2) above shall be recorded on a property deed or appear on the recorded plat as a condition running in perpetuity with the land.
(4) Signs which indicate the public’s right of access shall be installed and maintained in conspicuous locations at public access sites. Public use may be limited to daylight hours.
(5) As far as possible, public access sites shall have direct and easy access from a public right-of-way.
(6) Public access will not be sought where:
(a) Unavoidable hazards to the public in gaining access exist;
(b) Inherent security requirements cannot be satisfied;
(c) Unavoidable interference with the use would occur;
(d) The cost of providing the access is unreasonably disproportionate to the total cost of the proposed development; or
(e) Public access at the particular location cannot be designed or developed to provide an interesting or pleasant view or recreational experience.
(7) Public access sites approved as part of a plan of development shall be fully developed and available for public use at the time of occupancy of the development.
(D) General standards for public access facilities.
(1) Boating facilities shall be located and designed to minimize adverse effects upon beneficial shoreline geohydraulic processes such as erosion, littoral, or riparian transport and accretion, as well as scarce and valuable shore features including accretion shoreforms and natural wetlands.
(2) Areas which have been identified as hazardous due to storm tides, high winds, or flooding shall not be considered as potential marina sites.
(3) Shallow water embayments with poor flushing action shall not be considered for marina sites.
(4) Boating facilities shall be located, designed, and operated to provide maximum feasible protection of all forms of aquatic, littoral, or land life forms including animals, fish, shellfish, birds, and plants, their habitats and their migratory routes. When possible, marinas should be located in areas of low biologic productivity.
(5) Boating facilities shall be located and designed so that adjacent, fragile, or unique natural and cultural features are preserved.
(6) Regional as well as local needs may be considered when determining the appropriateness of marina proposals.
(7) Marinas and public use launch ramps are preferred over the development of individual docking facilities for private, noncommercial pleasure craft. The use of boat launching ramps and dry storage of recreational boats or other new technologies should be considered as alternatives to boathouses.
(8) Boating facilities shall be located and designed so their structures, other features, and operations will be aesthetically compatible with or enhance the area visually affected.
(9) Boating facilities shall not unreasonably impair shoreline views of local residents and user groups.
(10) Structures shall be built to conform to the county building codes.
(11) Multiple use and expansion of existing piers, wharves, and docks should be encouraged over the addition and/or proliferation of new facilities. Joint use facilities are preferred over new single use piers and docks.
(12) The use of mooring buoys should be considered in preference to either piers or docks.
(13) All waterfront access facilities shall be constructed and maintained in a safe and sound condition. Abandoned or unsafe facilities shall be removed or repaired promptly by the owner. Where any such structure constitutes a hazard to the public, the county may, following notice to the owner, abate the structure if the owner fails to do so within a reasonable time, and shall impose a lien on the related shoreline property in an amount equal to the cost of the abatement.
(E) Marinas and public boat ramps.
(1) Marina facilities should be designed to accommodate public access and enjoyment of the shoreline location, including provisions for walkways, view points, restroom facilities, and other recreational uses according the scale of the facility.
(2) Marinas and boat launch ramps shall locate on stable shorelines where water depths are adequate to eliminate or minimize the need for offshore or foreshore channel construction dredging, maintenance dredging, spoil disposal, filling, beach feeding, and other river-, lake-, harbor-, and channel-maintenance activities.
(3) Marinas and boat ramp shall locate in areas where there is adequate water mixing and flushing and shall be designed so as not to retard or negatively influence flushing characteristics.
(4) Marina and boat ramp entrances shall not be located near beaches commonly used for swimming or valuable commercial fishing areas.
(5) Marine railways for boat launching shall be located on the existing grade where feasible and shall not obstruct shoreline views.
(6) Marinas and launch ramps shall be located, designed, and operated so that neighboring water-dependent uses and residential areas are not adversely affected, whether such other uses are existing or planned.
(7) Marinas and boat ramps shall not locate at or along:
(a) Significant littoral drift sectors, including resource material areas, such as feeder bluffs and accretion beaches, points, spits, and hooks;
(b) Marshes, bogs, swamps, and lagoons;
(c) Habitat areas for threatened or endangered species;
(d) Fish and shell fish spawning and rearing areas;
(e) Poorly-flushed lagoons and backwaters; or
(f) Along meandering river channels where the channel is subject to change in direction or alignment or on point bars and other accretion beaches.
(8) River marinas and boat ramps shall be located so as not to adversely affect flood channel capacity or otherwise create a flood hazard.
(9) Proposals for marinas shall include boat launch facilities unless the applicant can demonstrate the infeasibility of providing such facilities.
(10) Marina design shall provide thorough flushing of all enclosed water areas and shall not restrict the movement of aquatic life requiring shallow water.
(11) The marina design shall minimize interference with geohydraulic processes and disruption of existing shore forms.
(12) All signs shall adhere to the policies and regulations for signs except that a marina or boat ramp facility may add no more than one advertising sign oriented to the water, not exceeding ten feet in total height or 25 square feet in area. Signs for fueling facilities shall not exceed 15 feet in total height.
(13) Landscape plans shall mitigate adverse development impacts on adjacent properties.
(14) Where wet moorage is offered, pump out, holding, and/or treatment facilities shall be provided by the marina for sewage contained on boats or vessels. They shall be located so as to be conveniently available to all boats. The responsibility for the adequate collection and dumping of marine originating sewage, solid waste, and petroleum waste is that of the marina operator.
(15) All pipes, plumbing, wires, and cables at a marina site shall be placed at or below ground and dock levels.
(16) All marinas shall provide restrooms for boaters’ use. They shall be kept clean and be located within 200 feet from the dock or pier. There shall be one toilet and handwashing facility for each sex per 50 moorage sites or fraction thereof. Signs shall be posted so that the restrooms are easily identifiable.
(17) Marina operators shall post the following signs where they are readily visible to all marina users which pertain to the following:
(a) Regulations pertaining to handling and disposal of waste, sewage, or toxic materials;
(b) Regulations prohibiting the use of marine toilets while moored unless these toilets are self-contained or have an approved treatment device; and
(c) Regulations prohibiting the disposal of fish or shellfish cleaning wastes, scrap fish, viscera, or unused bait in or near the marina.
(18) Garbage or litter receptacles shall be provided and maintained by the marina operator at several locations convenient to users.
(19) The dock facilities shall be equipped with adequate lifesaving equipment such as life rings, hook, and ropes.
(20) Adequate fire protection shall be required.
(21) If dredging at marina entrances or marina construction changes the littoral drift processes and adversely affects adjacent shores, the marina operator shall be required to periodically replenish these shores with the appropriate quantity and quality of aggregate.
(22) Space for transient moorage shall be provided.
(F) Private boat ramps.
(1) Boat ramps are permitted on stable non-erosional banks, where no or a minimum number of current deflectors or other stabilization structures will be necessary.
(2) Boat ramps are permitted for individual residences where the upland slope within 25 feet of mean high water does not exceed 15% and where substantial cutting, grading, filling, or defense works are not necessary.
(3) Boat launching ramps and minor accessory buildings and haul out facilities shall be designed to be in character and scale with the surrounding neighborhood.
(4) Ramp structures may be built from flexible, hinge segmented pads which can adapt to changes in beach profiles.
(5) Ramps shall be placed and kept flush with the shore slope to minimize the interruption of geohydraulic processes.
(G) Boathouses. Private or individual boathouses are not permitted over the waters adjacent to the shores of the county. Boathouses over the water for marinas may be considered as part of the application submittal for rezoning or general development plan (county wetlands permit may also be required).
(H) Piers and docks. Piers and docks should be designed to cause minimum interference with the public use of the water surface and shorelines.
(a) New development shall be encouraged to provide community docks.
(b) No more than one private, noncommercial dock is permitted per platted shoreline lot or unplatted shoreline tract owned for residential or recreational purposes, except that any property with frontage on two or more distinct bodies of water may have a single private noncommercial dock along the shore of each body of water.
(2) Use of piers versus floating docks. On tidal shorelines, floating docks shall be encouraged. Such facilities shall be securely anchored to pilings or other appropriate structures to allow for changes in water level and shall be able to withstand 100-year frequency flooding.
(3) Size. The size of a pier or dock should not exceed that which is required for the water-dependent purposes for which it was constructed.
(4) Length. Maximum length of a private pier or dock shall be only so long as to obtain a depth of five feet of water as measured at mean low water (MLW) on tidal shorelines or the normal water level on nontidal water, except that the length of any private pier or dock shall not exceed 150 feet from mean low water (MLW) on tidal shorelines or 40 feet from the normal water line on nontidal waters.
(a) For private, single use docks, maximum width parallel to shore shall not exceed six feet.
(b) For community piers and docks, maximum width will be permitted by the county on a case-by-case basis.
(6) Height. Dock height shall comply with state and federal standards.
(7) Side yard setback. Docks shall be setback a minimum of 30 feet from side property lines, except that community and shared piers and docks may be located upon a side property line when mutually agreed to by contract with the owners of the adjacent property, a copy of which must be filed with the application for permit. For lots recorded prior to August 10, 1989, which are 100 feet or less and 50 feet or less in width, the side yard setback shall be reduced to 15 feet and ten feet respectively.
(a) Community docks and piers shall include no more than one moorage space per dwelling unit or lot.
(b) Piers and docks for use by the general public shall include no more than one moorage for each ten feet of waterfront up to 200 front feet plus one moorage for each additional five front feet.
(a) Piers shall utilize the minimum number of pilings necessary, favoring large spans on fewer pilings over smaller spans on more pilings.
(b) Pilings employed in piers or any other structure shall have a minimum vertical clearance of one foot above extreme high water.
(c) All floating docks shall include stops which will serve to keep the floats off the tidelands at low tide.
(d) When plastics or other nonbiodegradable materials are used in pier construction, precautions shall be taken to ensure their containment.
(e) Overhead wiring or plumbing is not permitted on piers or docks.
(10) Alignment. Docks and piers shall be constructed at approximately 90 degrees to the general run of the shoreline. Where it can be demonstrated that the required alignment will not provide the access to sufficient navigable water, other alignments may be considered provided adjoining property owners are in agreement with the proposed alignment.
(11) Appendages for private docks.
(a) Appendages considered appropriate include but are not limited to “L” or “T” head configurations.
(b) Appendages and finger piers shall be located channelward of mean low water (MLW) on tidal shorelines.
(c) Appendages shall not exceed, in the aggregate, 400 square feet and with no dimension exceeding 20 feet in length. The main body of the dock or pier at the location of the appendage shall not be included in the maximum 20-foot dimension as well as the maximum 400 square foot area of the appendage.
(d) Finger piers five feet or less in width shall not be considered an appendage and shall not exceed 20 feet in length.
(12) Storage lockers. One storage locker is allowed per dock or pier. The storage locker may not exceed 72 cubic feet and may not be greater than four feet in height above the dock or pier.
(13) Boat lifts.
(a) Boat lifts may utilize davits, slings, cradles or similar devices to remove boats or personal watercraft from the water.
(b) Multiple boat or personal watercraft lifts may be allowed within a covered boat slip.
(c) Only three boat or personal watercraft lifts may be allowed on a pier or dock that is not served by a covered slip. Only two of these lifts may utilize pilings that are in addition to those that are part of the pier construction itself.
(d) Only two boat or personal watercraft lifts, positioned outside of a covered slip, may be allowed on a pier or dock that is served by a covered slip. Only one of these lifts may utilize pilings that are in addition to those that are part of the pier construction itself.
(I) Community and public recreational piers and docks.
(1) Major plans of development including, but not limited to, resorts and rural villages proposing to provide moorage facilities shall be required to construct single, joint-use moorage facilities, provided that the county may authorize more than one joint-use moorage facility if a single facility would be inappropriate or undesirable given the specific conditions of the site.
(2) Proposals for community piers and docks shall demonstrate that adequate maintenance of the structure and the associated upland area will be provided.
(3) In addition, all recreational piers or docks which are intended for use by the general public shall comply with the following regulations.
(a) An adequate number of approved solid waste containers shall be located conveniently for boater utilization.
(b) The dock facilities shall be equipped with adequate lifesaving equipment such as life rings, hooks, and ropes.
(c) Every facility shall be maintained in good repair and free from safety hazards.
(d) Boaters should not use their marine toilets while moored unless these toilets are self-contained or have an approved treatment device. Signs stating this shall be posted where they are readily visible to all boaters.
(4) Community and public recreational piers and docks are required to provide facilities for dumping holding tanks.
(J) Mooring buoys.
(1) Mooring buoys shall be located as close to the shore as possible. They shall not be located farther channelward than existing mooring buoys unless the drift of the boat dictates.
(2) Buoys must be discernible under normal daylight conditions at a minimum of 100 yards and must have reflectors for nighttime visibility.
(3) Only one mooring buoy will be allowed per waterfront lot unless there is a demonstration of greater need. Such demonstration may include a community park or residential development where lot owners both on and away from the shoreline share a shoreline open space area.
(K) Covered slips.
(1) Covered slips may not be used for any purpose other than watercraft protection.
(2) No more than one covered slip is permitted per individual private, non-commercial pier.
(3) Two covered slips shall be permitted adjacent to a shared private, non-commercial pier that has been constructed upon the shared property line.
(4) The property's waterfront frontage must be a minimum of 100 feet in width; said width to be measured in a straight line from the intersection of the side property lines with the mean low water line. Waterfront properties that cannot meet the minimum 100 feet in width must be approved by a special exception considered in accordance with DMP-b as specified in § 157.060(B)(2) and § 157.073.
(5) The channel ward limits of a covered slip shall not exceed 150 feet from mean low water (MLW) on tidal shorelines or 40 feet from the normal water line on nontidal waters.
(6) The covered slip must be constructed on the interior side of the pier (towards the center of the lot) and away from the nearest neighboring riparian area except for a covered slip upon a pier that is existing or proposed a minimum of 50 feet away from the nearest shared property line.
(7) The covered slip shall not exceed 700 square feet.
(8) The covered slip or attachment shall not extend more than 20 feet above the mean low water elevation; as measured from the top of the roof ridge.
(9) Roofing material must be non-reflective.
(10) Except for the support pilings, top plates or headers, all sides of the covered slip shall be open, with an unobstructed view from the waterline to the bottom of the top plate or support header.
(11) Catwalks five feet or less in width are permitted within the covered slip.
(12) The covered slip must meet requirements of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CofE).
(13) Covered slips or boathouses over the water for marinas may be considered as part of the application submittal for rezoning or general development plan (Richmond County Wetlands Permit may also be required).
(Ord. passed 11-9-1995; Ord. passed 1-8-1998; Ord. passed 6-8-2006; Ord. passed 11-8-2007; Ord. passed 4-10-2014; Ord. passed 10-10-2019; Ord. passed 10-10-2019) Penalty, see § 157.999