Louisa County Amends Lake Anna Dock Restrictions

By John Haksch, Louisa County Field Officer

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the Louisa County Planning Commission convened a joint meeting on March 7, 2011, to hold a public hearing on, and to vote on, amendments to the county ordinance governing docks and similar structures protruding into Lake Anna from the shore.

The existing ordinance allowed for commercial docks to protrude 200′ from the shoreline, and residential docks to protrude 150′.  It also included wording that the docks should extend to a pool water depth of 5′, which wording was generally considered to be vague and subject to misinterpretation. The planning commission originally proposed a
reduction of the maximum allowable dock protrusion for commercial docks to be 80′ and residential docks to be 60′, a 60% reduction in both instances, and the removal of the 5′ depth clause.

During the public comment period, all the speakers agreed on the need to remove the depth wording.  Those speakers representing homeowners’ associations unanimously endorsed the commission’s proposal, some suggesting even shorter protrusion limits, while the majority of speakers, representing realty agencies or themselves as landowners, were united in their opposition to the reductions and several suggested removing the protrusion limits entirely.

Dominion Resources, Inc., holds title to Lake Anna proper and has
contractual control over any lakeside construction through covenants and deed restrictions. They have provided oversight and exercised their right to approve all docks built since the lake was created 38 years ago.  Representatives from Dominion Resources were present at the hearing and provided insight into the policies they have implemented to address safety issues, and to minimize the visual and
environmental impact of docks built to date, as well as the relevant
ordinances extant in Orange and Spotsylvania Counties.

The Planning Commission decided to recommend the original amendments to the Board, on a 3 to 1 vote. Following a short discussion and further questions by the Board, a motion to remove
the wording referring to the 5′ depth and to limit dock protrusion for both commercial and residential docks to 150′ was passed on a 4-3 vote.

John Haksch is the Louisa County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum.  To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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