Beach battle verdict limits parking on Gwynn’s Island

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GWYNN’S ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) — A dispute over access to a small public beach on Gwynn’s Island and the road that leads to it is taking another turn.

10 On Your Side started covering the dispute last month.

A judge Wednesday ordered VDOT to install no-parking signs along a road between two private homes. It might settle a particular legal issue but the conflict will likely continue.

VDOT must line both sides of this access road with no parking signs, 30 feet apart. The ruling was in favor of waterfront homeowners Mark Eubank and his wife Candy, who complained about vehicles parking on their property.

MORE: Other residents tell a different side of dispute on Gwynn’s Island

“They think that’s gonna be a pretty obvious deterrent to people coming and driving their cars down to the end of the road and parking,” said Stephen Clarke, the Eubanks’ attorney, “when you’ve got no parking signs every 30 feet on both sides of the road there.”

The 330-foot road is the only access to a public beach that’s just 30 feet wide near the road, and 75 feet at the waterline.

Debbie Bohn uses that beach, but says families with kids will now have a harder time getting to the water. Bohn says she’s now thinking about selling her island home.

The Eubanks have said they aren’t trying to alienate their neighbors who live away from the water.

“I don’t think the Eubanks’ position has ever been to prohibit people, their neighbors on Gwynn’s Island from coming down and using that beach,” Clarke said.

Mark Eubank has said that problems with trespassing, drug use, garbage, public urination and people having sex on the beach has mainly been from people who come to the area from outside the region.

The decision requires VDOT to install the no-parking signs within 30 days. A VDOT spokeswoman says a start date for the work has not been set. The judge’s order enforces a handwritten agreement from February with other items not related to parking, including erosion control and a monetary payment for damages.

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