Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 360. Criteria for the Siting of Marinas or Community Facilities for Boat Mooring
3/29/2020

4VAC20-360-30. Background.

The pressures to develop shoreline property and state-owned subaqueous lands are increasing at an unprecedented rate. Boat mooring facilities have become an attractive and effective mechanism to enhance the marketing of subdivided lots in proximity to state waters.

In the process of providing mooring facilities to serve such developments, private benefits are realized but public detriments are often increased. Automatic shellfish closures may result; water quality can deteriorate; habitat values can be irrevocably affected and the character of the water body can be permanently changed.

The Commonwealth is historically a key shellfish producing state. Unfortunately, current shellfish leasing practices encourage the acquisition of shellfish leases by developers in order to eliminate or reduce opposition to seasonal shellfish closures which may result from the siting of mooring facilities.

In order to protect public health, the Bureau of Shellfish Sanitation of the state Department of Health has established a policy which requires the establishment of buffer zones around boat mooring facilities within which shellfish cannot be harvested for direct marketing during the months of April through October. These buffer zones are as follows:

1. 0-50 slips - 1/8 mile in all directions;

2. 51-100 slips - ¼ mile in all directions;

3. Over 100 slips - ½ mile in all directions.

As a result of this policy, the State Water Control Board, also as a matter of policy, considers it a violation of water quality standards if a proposed facility will result in a seasonal shellfish closure. The commission is required by law to give due consideration to water quality standards established by the Water Control Board and to enforce the shellfish closures established by the Department of Health.

Statutory Authority

§§ 28.2-201 and 28.2-1204 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0047 § 3, Volume 04, Issue 21, eff. August 17, 1988.

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