Louisa County Supervisors agreed to forward to the Planning Commission for consideration a recommendation to repeal parts of the Lake Anna shoreline ordinance. The recommendation came from the county’s professional planning staff.

 Adopted in 2005, the ordinance lays out development and design standards for overwater structures like docks, boathouses and boardwalks. The ordinance largely duplicates Dominion Energy’s development guidelines. Dominion owns the lake and its shoreline but allows adjoining property owners to construct overwater structures via individual use agreements.

  In a memo to the board, Community Development Department staff notes that the overlapping regulations cause confusion and increase project review times. Of the three localities home to Lake Anna shoreline—Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange—only Louisa has a separate shoreline ordinance.

  County Administrator Christian Goodwin reiterated those points Tuesday night, noting that Dominion is the ultimate decision-maker regarding what’s built on its property.

“The county doesn’t really have direct control over what is built out over the water in terms of how it’s oriented. The county does have control, through a building permit process, whether something is built safely and in a compliant manner according to the Uniform Statewide Building Code,” Goodwin said. “We have a situation where the county is applying a set of ordinances and Dominion is also applying its set of rules that look exactly like the county’s ordinances and truly it’s Dominion’s property.”

  Board Chair and Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams, who represents the upper end of the lake, agreed. Adams said that through the shoreline ordinance, staff is tasked with figuring out where property owners’ riparian rights extend onto the lake, a job that has become increasingly complicated as more homes are built. He said the job is eating up staff time even as the county doesn’t have the final say on where structures are built.

  “The spirit behind the shoreline ordinance 18 years ago was probably needed. That’s when the lake was kind of the wild, wild west,” Adams said. “You start extending property lines over the back of a cove and it’s like a hundred people playing laser tag. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Once staff goes through that process, it goes to Dominion who has the final say. I think that we’re duplicating effort.”

  But two longtime supervisors cautioned that the board shouldn’t rush into repealing the ordinance. Mountain Road District Supervisor Tommy Barlow and Cuckoo District Supervisor Willie Gentry, whose district includes much of the lower end of the lake, said that the county had good reasons for adopting the ordinance and they want to ensure that, if the board opts to get rid of it, Dominion doesn’t allow structures to be built that the county finds problematic.

  Barlow said that the ordinance was adopted, in part, because a developer proposed a 15-acre floating development near the Route 208 bridge while Gentry, who led the committee that crafted the ordinance, said safety was a leading factor in its creation.

  “I just think we need to be cognizant of what could happen without the ordinance and really need to know how (Dominion) is going to enforce their (rules). They own the lake, but the lake is in Louisa County,” Barlow said.

  Ultimately, the board agreed to send staff’s recommendation to the Planning Commission.

Staff recommends repealing two parts of the ordinance, which address “Safe navigation” and “Neighbor policies,” because they mostly duplicate Dominion’s regulations. Staff’s recommendation would leave intact a third section of the ordinance related to erosion and sediment control, which isn’t covered in Dominion’s guidelines. A fourth section addressing dredging would refer to Dominion’s rules.

  Any changes to the shoreline ordinance would require a public hearing in front of both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors and an affirmative vote by the board.