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JCC EDA approves land-monitoring license with hunting rights for property in Grove

jojacobs@vagazette.com

The James City Economic Development Authority voted Thursday to approve a land monitoring license for three EDA-owned properties at James River Commerce Center.

In exchange for keeping an eye on things, Ron Spivey, a county resident and the licensee, will be able to bow hunt on the properties, which total about 109 acres. The properties are located at 1716 Endeavor Drive, 8915 Columbia Drive and 8925 Columbia Drive.

The authority agreed to allow Spivey to hunt on the property in exchange for watching the properties to prevent unauthorized use, illegal dumping and littering, according to the license and use agreement.

The agreement between the authority and Spivey is similar to a agreement between Colonial Williamsburg, the previous owner of the properties at 1716 Endeavor Drive and 8915 Columbia Drive, and Spivey, where he kept tabs on the land in exchange for the ability to hunt there.

“I did monitor those properties and had a lot of issues with people living on those properties,” Spivey said. “Illegal dumping and hunting does happen.”

The county bought 8915 Columbia Drive, about 29 acres, for $475,000 in 2018. Also that year, the county bought 1716 Endeavor Drive, about 10 acres, for $325,000, according to the county assessment office.

For his services, Spivey gets a non-exclusive revocable license to bow hunt on the properties. He’s allowed to invite others to hunt but cannot charge a fee for use of the land. Spivey also must be present when others are hunting the land with his permission, according to the license agreement.

Spivey is allowed to set up tree stands, game cameras and other equipment to aid in hunting or monitoring the land.

The authority voted 5-1 to approve the agreement. Authority Chairwoman Robin Bledsoe voted against approval. Authority member Carlton Stockton was absent from the meeting.

Discussion about the license centered primarily on appropriateness of allowing someone to hunt on government property, injury liability and the nature of the monitoring services.

“It’s such a significant difference in doing something like what you’re accustomed to doing for a private foundation versus property that’s purchased by tax dollars,” Bledsoe told Spivey. “My personal preference would be not to have any hunting on EDA land.”

Authority member Tom Tingle saw the arrangement as a way to save money.

“We got someone who’s been working on the property for years and we’re not exchanging any dollars here,” Tingle said. “Here’s something the EDA can take advantage of without having to spend dollars sending county police down there on a regular basis or hiring someone to monitor it.”

There also were questions about the authority’s liability should a hunter or trespasser be hurt.

“Someone could be accidentally shot,” authority member Robin Carson said.

The license waives the authority’s liability related to the land’s use as a hunting area.

Some questions were raised regarding the frequency and manner of Spivey’s monitoring by authority members.

Spivey said he physically patrols the property regularly and has set up cameras that he personally owns to monitor the property.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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