Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
Chapter 6. Planting Grounds

§ 28.2-630. Rights of riparian owners to build bulkhead or wharf.

All assignments or leases of oyster or clam grounds under this chapter shall be subject to the rights vested in riparian claimants under Article 1 (§ 28.2-600 et seq.) of this chapter and also to the following condition: That any landowner who desires to erect a bulkhead or wharf in front of his property or to open a channel, and who is not a lessee or riparian holder of suitable bottoms for that purpose, shall give the lessee or other holder of oyster or clam grounds in front of his property twelve months' notice of such intention; and upon the expiration of that time, the rights of the lessee or holder of so much of the oyster or clam grounds as are reasonably needed for building the bulkhead, wharf, or channel shall cease. This twelve-month notice and waiting period shall not apply if, at the time the landowner provides notice to the lessee or other holder of the oyster or clam grounds in front of his property, the landowner provides the Commissioner sufficient information describing the dimensions and location of the bulkhead, wharf or channel and the Commissioner subsequently finds, in writing, that the proposed bulkhead, wharf or channel will not adversely impact commercially productive oyster or clam grounds. For purposes of this section "commercially productive oyster or clam grounds" are those areas which can be demonstrated to have (i) suitable substrate for oyster or clam production and (ii) evidence of commercial oyster or clam production within the past three years. If the bulkhead, wharf, or channel has not commenced as specified in the notice within three months after the oyster or clam grounds were vacated, the former lessee or holder shall have the right to resume possession of the oyster or clam grounds he has vacated in favor of such landowners, subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any person constructing a channel under this section shall compensate the lessee of any oyster or clam grounds for all losses or damages including the value of the ground taken for the construction of the channel. The lessee shall have recourse under action of the law in the court of the proper jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Virginia to recover damages.

Code 1950, § 28-134; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-118; 1992, c. 836; 2000, c. 167.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.