Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
Chapter 6. Planting Grounds
6/26/2022

Article 1. Riparian Oyster-Planting Grounds.

§ 28.2-600. Riparian planting ground assignments; eligibility; fee.

A. Any owner of land bordering on a body of water in the oyster-growing area of the Commonwealth whose shore front measures at least 205 feet at the low-water mark, who has not had as much as one-half acre of ground already assigned him on the front, or whose lease has terminated and is not to be renewed, may apply for planting grounds to the Commissioner.

The Commissioner shall assign to him only a riparian planting ground that the Commissioner, in his discretion, deems appropriate to encompass as much as one-half acre of ground, subject to the Commissioner's discretion with respect to the precise location, and provided that the ground does not encroach into an existing oyster-planting ground lease assigned under Article 2 (§ 28.2-603 et seq.). The Commissioner may consider assigning an area that the owner designates within his riparian waters. Such ground shall not exceed one-half acre, and shall not be less than 105 feet wide along the shore, beginning at low-water mark, extending out not more than 210 feet, or to the nearest edge of the channel or the middle of the body of water, whichever is the shorter distance.

B. Upon the transfer of a lease, a ground shall be assigned only within an area deemed appropriate by the Commissioner to encompass as much as one-half acre of ground within the landowner's riparian waters.

C. The grounds shall be surveyed, plotted, marked, assigned, and recorded as provided for assignments to persons in Article 2 (§ 28.2-603 et seq.).

D. Any riparian assignment that was duly recorded in the clerk's office of the county or city where the grounds are located, or at the Commission office prior to July 1, 1986, shall continue in effect.

Code 1950, §§ 28-39, 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1952, c. 649; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-44, 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, cc. 168, 184; 1992, c. 836; 2019, cc. 152, 164.

§ 28.2-601. Riparian assignments; entitlements; obligations.

The riparian leaseholder shall have the exclusive right to the use of such ground for planting or gathering oysters and clams.

The assignment made pursuant to § 28.2-600 shall pass with the transfer of the adjacent highland to the subsequent owner of highland and cannot be held separated from the highland. A transfer of highland ownership shall require a transfer of the riparian assignment within eighteen months after the transfer of the highland ownership under the following conditions:

1. The application for transfer shall be in the form prescribed by the Commission and shall be filed with the Commissioner.

2. The Commissioner shall require a new survey if there is not a survey of the exact parcel or parcels of grounds to be transferred.

3. The cost of any new surveys required under this section shall be borne by the person making the transfer, and the cost and fees shall be the same as for surveys of general oyster-planting ground.

4. The application shall be accompanied by a transfer fee of five dollars.

5. The Commissioner shall return the approved application for transfer and plat with any correction to the applicant. A copy of the transfer and plat shall be recorded at the Commissioner's office.

6. If no application for transfer is received by the Commissioner within eighteen months after the transfer of the highland ownership, the riparian assignment shall become vacant and open to assignment.

Code 1950, § 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, c. 168; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-602. Riparian assignments; special terms and conditions.

The provisions of this article apply to all Virginia counties and cities bordering on bodies of water in oyster-growing areas, except they shall not apply to riparian lands located above the James River bridge in the James River or its tributaries. In any Virginia county or city where more than one-half acre of ground per waterfront tract has been assigned to a riparian owner, the ground in excess of one-half acre shall be ground held under a regular lease and assignment, and not a riparian assignment.

For Northampton County, however, § 6 of Chapter 254 of the 1883-1884 Acts of Assembly, not this article, shall govern the quantity of land to be assigned to and held by riparian owners. Nothing in this article authorizes a rental of a lesser amount per acre than that provided by law for riparian owners in Northampton County of the land assigned them as such riparian owners. Nothing in the section which restores to riparian owners in Northampton County one-fourth of their waterfronts suitable for planting oysters, permits the owners of waterfronts to compel occupants of the fronts to remove their oysters from any fourth of the shores, if the residue of the shore is already in the landowner's possession or is unoccupied.

Riparian landowners may erect wharves, landings, or other structures as otherwise permitted by law.

Code 1950, § 28-123; 1950, p. 987; 1956, c. 586; 1958, c. 184; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-108; 1964, c. 393; 1968, c. 747; 1972, c. 644; 1976, c. 256; 1978, c. 548; 1984, cc. 100, 244, 259; 1986, c. 168; 1992, c. 836.