BREAKING NEWS - 1 January 2014
BLUFF POINT PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT ENDED
According to Mr. Thomas Dingledine, Developer of Bluff Point Holding:
"2013 is at is close and along with it is the closing of a part of the story of Bluff Point and the opening of a new chapter.
Yesterday afternoon [30 December 2013] a 37 acre parcel along Jarvis Point road was gifted to James Madison University and the balance of Bluff Point was placed in a perpetual conservation easement with the reservation of a single parcel for residential use located in the field at the top of the marsh, up to three pavilions and docks, various nature experiencing stations, a native plant nursery, and various other uses. The easement was drawn in a manner that will allow the whole property to be used for educational use. The press release is below and will be issued by Northumberland County.
Eight years ago at this time the first parcel at Bluff Point was acquired and the remaining acreage was acquired shortly there after. Creating a unique four season timeless and charming Chesapeake Bay community was the objective and after untold hours of land planning, marina and shoreline studies, utility analysis, storm water analysis, threatened and endangered species studies, an archeological study, aerial photography, traffic engineering impact study, wetland and environmental studies and approvals, so much more, a county submittal of 27 pounds according to one supervisor, the largest public hearing in the county's history, incredible work product by Sharon created time and time again, outside consultant reports to the county, the most incredible project on the Bay was approved by the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors.
None of the above would have ever been undertaken had the intent been to create a conservation easement. The overriding commitment was to create a success for the highest and best good, for the county, for those that would be able to experience the magic of Bluff Point's natural surroundings, for the common wealth of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and all those who love and cherish the natural resource of the Chesapeake Bay, for our generations and for those who follow.
The world is different today and the knowledge is greater than it was eight years ago and even just a few short years ago when the project was submitted to the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors. The approved plan is fantastic and it is doable and while I can influence and even control some items, I cannot control what Mother Nature may send our way in the decades to come and while such prospect has no impact on today, it may in the future and thus be a challenge to true long term generational success as defined above. And thus, the conservation easement.
Bluff Point will still be a success for all those that are referenced above by the creation of a truly unique residential facility belonging to JMU. The joy of working with JMU and creating a broad based, interdisciplinary facility will result in personal rewards that far exceed any other consideration of the eight years of dedicated team effort.
For all those that have worked on this, assisted in its creation of what what can be, and obtaining approval I express the deepest appreciation and thanks. For one of you, there are not enough thank yous in the universe. For those of you who have had the pleasure of working with Sharon, you know she is the individual of whom I speak. Not only would the conservation easement be undone at the moment, the project would never have been approved, nor even undertaken.
I also extend a very hearty thank you and appreciation to the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors, the entire County Staff and it's citizens whether they were for or against the approval of the Bluff Point Planned Unit Development. It consumed many hours of Board and staff meetings and community time and resources. Thank you for your interest in trying to ensure what was best for the county, regardless of your perspective.
[NOTE: Thank you Mr. Dingledine for doing the right thing in the end with Bluff Point. When you originally met with the local residents of Barnes Creek, we suggested that a nature conservancy was a more prudient and fitting use for the land, a course which you have now elected. We also suggested it be named "The Thomas A. Dingledine Nature Conservancy" or something similar. I stand by that recommendation as your contribution of the land and its natural resources with this easement is foundational to the preservation preservation of Bluff Point.]
Dingledine gift, easement to enhance teaching and research on Northern Neck
Tom Dingledine, a longtime friend and benefactor of James Madison University, has given JMU a gift of 37 acres in the Northern Neck of Virginia for students and faculty to use as a field laboratory for research and teaching. In addition to the 37 acres at Bluff Point, Dingledine recently placed an adjacent 860-acre parcel into a conservation easement held by the North American Land Trust (NALT) that provides JMU the opportunity to conduct research and teaching exercises in its pine forests and saltwater marshes neighboring the Chesapeake Bay.
University faculty who have visited the site are eager to study areas such as water quality, marsh ecology, archaeology, geology, engineering, shore land mapping, public history and environmental writing.
"This presents a natural connection for us as JMU and Harrisonburg are located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Dr. Jerry Benson, provost. "The new field research site graciously provided by Tom Dingledine creates an opportunity for our existing research efforts to expand in further exploring the full cycle of ecological impact on the bay."
“While the acreage at Bluff Point is a generous donation to JMU, the 860-acre easement is in effect a gift to all the people of Virginia,” said David A. Johnson, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. “This easement will have long term benefits for local water quality, including on the Chesapeake Bay, and protects habitat for several significant species including the rare tiger beetle.”