Machodoc Marina.jpg

Aerial view shows the Machodoc Creek Marina with its boathouse and dock reaching out into the Upper Machodoc. At top left is the Navy base at Dahlgren; on the right is Pumpkin Neck. 

Jeff Stonehill recently was describing to the King George County Board of Supervisors the impact that fast-moving boats are having on the Machodoc Creek Marina that he and his wife, Marcia, bought last year.

As he expressed concern about collisions and shoreline erosion, damage to docked boats or the marina’s new ramp and gas tanks, she provided visual effects from her seat in the audience. Marsha Stonehill raised and lowered her hands and arms, like she was doing the wave, to simulate the rocking that results when boats and jet skis zip around and leave waves in their wake.

“Everybody wants to go by here, flying into Williams Creek,” Jeff Stonehill told the supervisors in February. “It’s caused a real safety issue here.”

Members of the Board of Supervisors shared his concerns and amended the county ordinance on Tuesday to establish a no-wake zone within the Upper Machodoc (pronounced Muh-CHO-dock). The creek is a tributary of the Potomac River, and the ordinance means motorboats must operate at the slowest speed possible.

The marina is near the Dahlgren Yacht Club, which is part of the Navy base at Dahlgren. Machodoc is an Indian word that means “ceremonial river.”

County Attorney Eric Gregory congratulated the Stonehills in February for doing a “fantastic” amount of research in learning about state laws and county ordinances. The attorney prepared a draft application for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which regulates waterways.

After game officials approved the application, the county held a public hearing, which drew no response from the public.

The Stonehills will pay for four markers, which Jeff Stonehill suggested putting in a square-shaped arrangement ranging from 510 feet to 900 feet from the shoreline. The couple also will do all the work involved in placing and removing them before ice sets in each winter. They’ll work with state officials on determining the type of buoys.

As he talked with neighbors about the no-wake zone, Jeff Stonehill said residents along Williams Creek asked for the same designation on that waterway. County officials wondered if it made sense to seek a larger no-wake zone, along with the Stonehill request, but Gregory said it wasn’t fair for the Stonehills “to pick up the tab for the entire creek.”

Jeff Stonehill’s request for an ordinance change may not be his only foray into county politics. After 26 years in law enforcement, including 14 years with the King George Sheriff’s Office before he retired in February, he’s running for the Dahlgren District seat on the Board of Supervisors. So far, he’s the only candidate for that seat in the November race.

The current supervisor, John Jenkins Jr., is not seeking re-election after one term because he wants to spend more time with his wife and young daughter.

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Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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