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The original item was published from 6/10/2020 3:51:00 PM to 6/10/2020 5:17:03 PM.

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* Hampton City News

Posted on: June 10, 2020

[ARCHIVED] City Council plans to defer taking a vote on the Sunset Creek public boat ramp


June, 10, 2020 -City officials Wednesday afternoon offered to hold off on a recent proposal to sell the city-owned Sunset Creek boat ramp to Bluewater Yacht Sales, which plans a major expansion. The key is forming a committee to look at a new location for a better public ramp that will work for Hampton boaters. Council did not vote on the issue but was expected to defer consideration of the ramp that was scheduled for Wednesday night.

The current issue goes back to at least 2003, when Bluewater proposed buying the Sunset ramp and plans were made to form a committee of citizens and boaters to work with the city on replacing the ramp. Those plans stalled when Bluewater balked at the land cost, and a suitable, affordable site for a new ramp could not be found elsewhere in the city.

When the current, unsolicited sale proposal surfaced, city officials originally considered the Fort Monroe boat ramp as an acceptable solution for boaters when the Sunset ramp closed. The public pushed back at a Planning Commission meeting last week and since then in comments to City Council, citing concerns about the Fort Monroe ramp being an appropriate alternative. Chuck Rigney, director of the city’s Economic Development Department, recommended the city develop a panel to "quickly" look for alternative sites and options.

Bluewater’s current expansion plans include a 150-ton to 200-ton boat lift so it can service much larger yachts. That expansion would happen in phases and that equipment would not be available right away. The new proposal would include a condition that Bluewater lease the ramp back to the city for $1 a year until a new committee can work to find an acceptable alternative to the Sunset ramp site. Rigney said the expansion would enhance the city’s reputation in the boating community, bring more jobs and more business to the city.

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