State plans $200K boat ramp at Shady Brook Trail

Published 8:09 am Friday, April 27, 2012

COURTLAND—The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries plans to build a $200,000 boat ramp off General Thomas Highway at Shady Brook Trail between Franklin and Newsoms.

Before doing so, the agency must get permission from Southampton County officials.

The state plans to build the ramp on 1.5 acres belonging to Ashland. The land is zoned for light industrial use, said Beth Lewis, the county’s director of community development.

The zoning allows for light industry, manufacturing and warehouses, but with what’s known as a conditional-use permit, a boat ramp can be built, Lewis said.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, will have a public hearing before the county Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, who will make the final decision at the County Government Center in Courtland.

The Department of Game has a boat ramp on the other side of General Thomas Highway at the same location, Lewis said. Plans to widen the road will eliminate access to that ramp for access to the Nottaway River.

The Department of Game wants to continue access to the river because it’s important, said Phil Lownes, director of capital programs for the agency.

“We like to have a series of access points not to overcrowd the waterway,” Lownes said. “Ashland, which owns Hercules, is leasing us the land.”

The new boat ramp will include a dock and a paved parking lot.

“If my money holds together, we hope to have it in this summer,” Lownes said. “We hope to create an atmosphere for boaters to launch and for others to fish from the dock.”