Meeting with Mike Drummond of Fish and Wildlife on March 4, 2011
Peyton et al. : I attended the meeting chaired by Mike Drummond on Friday to discuss breakwater issues. In attendance were Drummond- Fish & Wildlife, John Shaw - Mathews Planning & Zoning plus Joe and Jan Bricker of Chesapeake Shores. Representing Bavon were Bill Powell, Dennis Baker, Beth Stabler and via teleconference were Will Shewmake, Jack Carroll and Carl Braun.
The meeting raised more questions than it answered. Drummond said he wasn't really expecting as many questions and issues as were raised. He seemed unprepared to answer questions on a variety of issues, but the following is my recollection of the important points.
1. Mathews County has established a " co-op " fund for this project and contributed $20,000.00 to an account for this purpose
2. Fish & Wildlife (F&W) will provide $200,000.00 to be deposited into the co-op fund from funds left over from other projects. Apparently the meeting presentation made by Bavon a few months ago that included F&W upper level staff helped decide in favor of the beach project being awarded the funds.
3. The $200K is not a grant, so some earlier conditions will not apply. For example, "in kind" contributions by property owners will not be accepted to defray our cash outlay.
4. Drummond stated he is determined that all of Chesapeake Shores beach areas should ultimately be included. He stated this is his biggest concern and that it can't be Bavon only.
5. Currently F&W is dividing the project into 2 phases. Phase 1 is intended to provide breakwater protection for all of Bavon Beach plus 4 Chesapeake shores properties ( Bricker, Milner, Martin and Mulhare ). Phase 2 is intended to encompass the remaining beach frontage of Chesapeake shores.
6. Drummond indicated an urgency to get the project moving because of the restrictions on beach construction from June 1st thru September 15. His stated objective is that construction activities commence no later than Sept. 16. He said he needs commitments from all parties.
7. Several Bavon people also expressed their sense of urgency stating in their minds time is of the essence to get the project moving.
8. Drummond stated he is in favor of a sole-source contract with someone named Gunn. Drummond said he could award the contract without need from any higher level approvals. He intimated Gunn would act as a design / build resource. Apparently F&W has a good working relationship with Gunn and Drummond feels his experience and work quality would justify this approach.
9. Bill Powell related that another company, VHB has recently been unresponsive to his requests for information and suggested that company be removed from consideration.
10. Powell stated he had done some calculations for the cost of phase 1 and that based on his calculation of $1,100.00 per foot the cost should come to around $1,056,000.00. Drummond said he felt Bill's estimate was too high and suggested an amount of around $500,000.00 or $300,000. considering the co-op fund amount.
11. At this time there are no firm commitments from either Luck Stone for stone and labor or from the Army Corps of Engineers for sand. There was brief mention of no definite plan for the methods for bringing the stone to the work site and no discussion about this cost factor.
12. Carl Braun stated he had heard there are some new ideas / methods for breakwater construction that might reduce cost. No one expressed any knowledge of such methods.
13. Powell asked when we might get a study to pin down lists of materials and costs. No answer provided. I suggested that due to the complexity and multiple aspects of the project that what would be helpful would be a list of all the activities and events needed to bring the project to a successful completion, possibly a flow / process chart listing what needed to be done in time sequence. This would allow better assigning of accountability and provide a sense of where we stand. John Shaw offered to undertake this project.
14. I asked if anyone had a feeling about ownership of and addition of sand that extended the beach away from the existing shoreline and beyond current property lines. Bill Powell stated that this issue came up with Bavon discussions with Nature Conservancy people and the answer at that time was that any extension beyond existing property lines would belong to TNC. I suggested that it appears logical, if that is correct, that any extension of land beyond Chesapeake Shores lot owners lines might therefore become the property of the common beach owner. I advised the group that Chesapeake Shores is attempting to secure ownership of common property including roads and beaches within Chesapeake Shores community area.
15. Drummond asked for a sense within Chesapeake Shores about the project. I advised that it has been months since any community meeting to discuss the issue and that many of the questions raised at the last meeting were still unanswered. I told him I believed that many north of Pritchett were not in favor and that there may be some actually opposed. I suggested that construction of any kind and at any point within the confines of CS might require CS Homeowners Assoc. approval.
16. I asked if F&W could provide CS with copies of any documents we would have to sign / approve for any such project. That without our complete understanding of any conditions affecting our use of the beach and any easements we would be required to grant, it is unrealistic to expect our agreement to any project. Drummond said it was premature to explore that issue ( despite his call for urgency ). He really wouldn't discuss, but said all conditions would be reasonable. He commented that this was really a politicians response. Again, he seemed to discuss much of anything in detail.
17. Bill Powell stated he had recently been in contact with someone I believe to be connected to Nature Conservancy. Bill stated that person indicated TNC may be willing to consider hardening of the point south of the new pipeline. No further discussion on that point that I recall.
18. Dennis Baker asked who would handle necessary permitting. Drummond stated that Gunn had offered to do so.
19. There was brief discussion of who would disburse funds in payment for services and the broader question of who might act as a "general" contractor to oversee the entire project. Someone suggested the County might be the one to make payments. Also someone, probably Drummond, suggested the contractor would act as project manager with input from a group of interested parties .
20. Jack Carroll asked if TNC would possibly contribute financially? Consensus is negative even though they are seen as supportive of the project. Apparently the consensus is there are no other likely sources of funding.
21. When asked if a negative response by CS to Phase 2 would negatively affect Phase 1 Drummond said it would not.
22. Drummond indicated F&W will be setting up a web site for progress and communication purposes.
My overall evaluation is that there is that we need more effective leadership to move either phase forward expeditiously. There seemed to be no sense of what needs to be done next, who is in charge, or who should be responsible. The Bavon community and Bill Powell in particular have done a tremendous amount of work and research and Bill probably has the best overall command of the process and the players. However, there appears to be a lack of overall organization to allow a positive, timely and logical approach and to provide the scope of information we will ultimately need. From CS standpoint, I believe we need to insure that the rights of the entire CS community are protected and to determine what rights we may be asked to relinquish and what potential liability we may incur if we become owners of any backfill attached to offshore breakwaters. Joe Sties.