COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Hatton Ferry

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Acceptance of the donation of the Hatton Ferry from VDOT.

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Elliott, Davis, Mullaney

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

December 2, 2009

 

ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   

 

ATTACHMENTS:   No

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

BACKGROUND:

Through a letter dated October 28, 2009 the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) notified the County of its intention to either close or transfer ownership and operation of the Hatton Ferry by December 31, 2009.  State law prohibits VDOT from transferring the Ferry to a private entity; however, VDOT can transfer ownership to a political subdivision which could in turn assign these ownership rights to a private entity.  The County Attorney has advised that while the Code of Virginia specifically enables VDOT to operate a ferry, there is no parallel authority for either a county or town to do so. In order for a private entity to operate the Hatton Ferry it must obtain a land use permit from VDOT allowing use of the VDOT right-of-way. 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 1:  Enhance the Quality of Life for all Albemarle County Residents.

 

DISCUSSION:

This matter was discussed by the Board at its November 4, 2009 meeting.  At that meeting, the County Executive expressed concern over acceptance of the Hatton Ferry due to current financial constraints, recent staffing reductions and expanding work load demands in the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the logistics of the County providing oversight for a ferry on the James River.  The Town of Scottsville was suggested as an alternative political subdivision that may be interested in accepting the Ferry.  After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board that the County might be willing to take transfer of the Ferry if a qualifying not-for-profit entity agrees to immediately accept the Ferry from the County upon its transfer from VDOT.  The Board’s discussion indicated that, although the County may take this action to facilitate the continuation of the Ferry operation, no County funding for the maintenance or operation of the Ferry should be anticipated. 

 

Steven Meeks, the President of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (ACHS), was present for the November 4th discussion and expressed his personal interest in ACHS accepting ownership of the Ferry.  Mr. Meeks was asked to discuss this matter with the ACHS Board of Directors and to advise the County on its decision prior to the December 2, 2009 Board of Supervisors meeting.   The ACHS is currently soliciting donations to fund the continued operation of the Ferry. 

 

After further consideration, staff reaffirms its recommendation that the County should not own or operate the Ferry or fund its operation.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

There is no budget impact.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board authorize the County Executive to take what action is necessary to accept and transfer ownership of the Hatton Ferry if the following conditions are met:

 

  1. The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society or another qualifying not-for-profit entity agrees to accept immediate ownership of the Ferry upon transfer of the Ferry to the County from VDOT.
  2. The appropriate documents allowing for the County’s acceptance of the Ferry and guaranteeing the immediate transfer of ownership from the County and acceptance by the not-for-profit entity are prepared and are acceptable to the County Attorney.

 

Otherwise, staff recommends that the County not accept ownership of the Ferry.

 

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