Pictured: a view of the mouth of Cherrystone Creek. Picture courtesy of At Altitude Gallery.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s regulations from a watershed implementation plan raised the eyebrows of Northampton County’s board members Tuesday night.
Susan McGhee, Director of Zoning, updated the board on the plan. Recommendations were made by the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission to the DEQ, which used the recommendations to give regulations to Northampton County to implement by 2025.
McGhee noted a couple discrepancies between the numbers originally reported by the ANPDC and the ones that appeared in the DEQ’s guidelines. The first was the number of feet of shoreline that should be actively managed by the County. While ANPDC said the County should manage 51,296 feet of shoreline, the DEQ’s report recommended 2,566,294 feet.
Also, the ANPDC’s report recommended Northampton County conduct ‘forced planting’ of trees on seven acres of land and canopy planting on zero acres of land. However, the DEQ is calling on Northampton County to conduct planting on 1,064 acres of land. Northampton County will be responsible for the cost of planting.
These two discrepancies elicited a strong response from several supervisors, including Spencer Murray:
Supervisor Dave Fauber felt these rules have been on the books for many years, just not enforced:
Fauber called on the County to begin enforcing the buffer regulations in Northampton County.
The comment period for the plan is open until June 7, however the final plan will be mandatory.
The board directed McGhee to put their concerns in writing and submit them to the DEQ.