Sunken Barge Removed

That sunken barge in Urbanna Creek is no more. The sunken 50-ton steel barge that had been on the bottom of the creek since April 2012, was removed last week.

The sunken barge was deemed a boating hazard, and its location had been marked on the water’s surface to alert boaters to avoid that area.

The final removal of the barge will probably put an end to a long dispute between the Town of Urbanna, Raymond Watson Jr. of Mechanicsville, and the now defunct Potomac Timber LLC, which filed for bankruptcy last June.

The barge was originally planned to be used to construct a planned three story, 16-unit condo complex, and for work on an oyster aquaculture business at the site.

However, the Urbanna Town Council, after first approving a site plan for the project, changed its mind after criticism from many town residents and then voted to revoke the site plan.
That in turn, caused Potomac Timber and Watson to file a $4.5 million lawsuit against the town, con-tending it was illegal for the town to revoke the site plan after initially approving it. That suit was withdrawn in July 2011.

When the barge sank in 2012, the legal arguing began over just who owned it and who was responsible for it.

In February of this year, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission ordered Watson to remove the barge by March 28 or face legal action and a possible $10,000 a day fine. He tried to meet the deadline, but was finally successful last week. Officials say no further legal action will be taken.