James City County considering land purchase to improve and expand Brickyard Landing

Staff writer

James City County is eyeing the purchase of 119 acres of land along the upper Chickahominy River near Brickyard Landing.

The land would allow for increased access to the boat ramp and could be a foundation for other new recreational amenities.

The property, located at 1006 Brickyard Road, surrounds Brickyard Landing — a county owned and operated boat ramp with a parking area on less than a half-acre.

With the land in hand, the county would be able to make Brickyard Landing more accessible. The existing parking lot has enough space for about six vehicles, which limits the use of the site. It currently lacks facilities such as restrooms.

“While the current Brickyard Landing site does provide (water) access, it provides very little parking and supporting amenities. County staff have long been seeking additional property for sale to provide adequate access for recreational water usage,” parks administrator Alister Perkinson said in an email.

The property would cost $1.4 million. To fund the purchase, the county is applying for a matching grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, Perkinson said. The 50-50 matching grant would provide $687,500 and, with the county’s match, cover the cost of the land. The county hopes to receive preliminary approval by late July.

The property features 3,415 feet of shoreline two picnic shelters and a 900-square-foot pier, according to a county news release. About 53 acres of the property are within the Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area and approximately 45 acres are wooded.

The land is currently owned by Watertown LCC, which has a Poquoson mailing address. The land is zoned general agriculture.

If the county acquires the land, short-term improvements would include more parking to improve access to the boat ramp and potentially volunteer-built trails, Perkinson said.

Looking toward the future, the county would conduct a public master plan process to map out additional amenities. Those amenities could include hiking and mountain bike trails, picnic shelters, wildlife viewing and other activities.

Improvements along those lines would be funded in future budget requests and the county would likely pursue state and federal grants, Perkinson said.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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