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Corps spells out impact of shoreline update on Kerr / February 12, 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) held a series of public listening sessions this week in an attempt to alleviate concerns and stem the flow of misinformation surrounding their announcement of a moratorium on dock permits for the next several months.

Rangers and other officials with the Corps met with the public in South Hill, Clarksville and in Henderson, N.C. to answer questions about the proposed shoreline management plan update for Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake).

Michael Womack, operations project manager for the Wilmington District, said he hope people attending any of the sessions would come away with a better understanding of the process and would be reassured that the moratorium had no effect on their existing permits.

One of the most repeated questions heard at the Clarksville session was, “What happens if I sell my house, is my permit transferrable?” The answer to that question, said Womack, is, “Yes, your permit can be reissued in the new homeowner.” But, the new homeowner will receive the same permit as the prior owner. If the permit is for clearing, then that is what the homeowner will receive. If it is for a dock or buoy, then the new owner will receive a dock or buoy permit.

Those attending the events were reassured that anyone with an existing permit, buoy or dock, is grandfathered and can make improvements so long as the improvements are consistent with the 1995 Shoreline Management Plan. Those with permitted buoys who want to replace the buoy with a dock during the moratorium period, may do so following the 1995 guidelines. The same is true for those who want to replace or expand an existing dock or add a gazebo.

Existing permits for improvements to the land — walkways, clearing, and riprap — are also grandfathered.

While some upgrades are allowed under existing permits during the moratorium, anyone wishing to make changes to their existing documents or land improvements must undergo a review by the USACE before undertaking the work. As long as the change or upgrade is consistent with the 1995 Shoreline Management Plan, the homeowner or business owner, most likely will be allowed to proceed.

The only people impacted by the moratorium are those who currently have no dock or buoy permit or who had not filed for a permit before the moratorium began on January 17.

The Shoreline Management Plan update has five goals, according to the USACE:

Update policies and regulations pertaining to the shoreline

Maintain the environmental and aesthetic qualities of the shoreline

Continue to achieve a balance between private permitted uses and protection of natural and cultural resources

Address shoreline allocations, rules, regulations and other information

Collaborate with the public, stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure that program management actions are based on current information and regulations.

Anyone interested in the Shoreline Management Plan update who was unable to attend the meetings is encouraged to submit comments or questions in writing to Kerr Reservoir SMP Scoping Comment, USACE, 1930 Mays Chapel Rd., Boydton, VA 23917, on online at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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