The river area at Dooms Crossing Road will be undergoing some changes in the future, including a dam removal.
The Augusta County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to approve a rezoning request near Dooms Crossing Road and Eastside Highway to allow public use of land in the area for recreational fishing, boating, picnic area and boat launch.
The request was approved with limitations including no picnic tables, no trash cans, no lights and no restrooms.
Robert Von Bernuth, who owns the property immediately south of the area, is not entirely opposed to the project but did have some worries about what the space will look like in the future.
“Our major concern is that you have the possibility of creating a public nuisance,” Von Bernuth said. “Along with that public nuisance goes all the trash.”
Von Bernuth said there’s already an issue with people who park to eat lunch in the area and litter after eating.
“I’m not opposed to your doing this,” he said. “I, however, have reservations that you’ve thought through all of the ramifications of doing it.”
Von Bernuth is worried if the public area boundary is not clearly marked visitors will trespass on nearby private property.
Mark Haynes, who has lived in the Dooms area since 1975, said there’s been a lot of changes since then and he’s worried about the increased traffic the project will bring in.
“If you put this in, I want the speed limit controlled because it’s a problem through there,” Haynes said.
The speed limit was dropped to 35 miles per hour in this area, but speeding is still an issue.
Haynes said around 3,000 cars pass through the area weekly and that people often go by his house traveling at speeds of 70 and 75 miles per hour.
“The Augusta County Sheriff’s Department will not enforce the speed limit down through there,” he said.
James Dooms was also concerned about traffic in the area.
“Traffic on the road is terrible,” Dooms said. “I can barely get in and out of the entrances to my farm with my equipment.”
Rockfish Road resident George Mallory spoke in favor of the project during the public hearing. Mallory, who enjoys kayaking, said the boat launch would give people a better way to get in and out of the river.
The dam is dangerous to those using the river, he said.
“It’s a pretty strong hazard when you’re trying to go down the river,” Mallory said. “I think that’s the main reason why they’re trying to redo this whole area is to get rid of the dam, and put [in] an exit area for people.”
The board approved the rezoning request with a 7-0 vote.
Wayne supervisor Scott Seaton said he voted for yes for the adoption because he realized how limited outdoor meeting options were in the Wayne district when he was campaigning last year.
“I think this would be a benefit for the Dooms area and for [the] Wayne district,” Seaton said.
In other action, the board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution regarding worker’s compensation insurance for Volunteer Fire/EMS workers in Augusta County.
Volunteers will be recognized as Augusta County employees under the policy for workers’ compensation in Virginia.
The wording of the resolution was changed to say only work-related accidents would be covered under the list of duties for which the volunteers are responsible.
“I don’t want the county to be opened up for other benefits, or the assumption that people are entitled to those benefits,” said Pastures supervisor Pam Carter.