Petition drive wants no parking signs removed from Gwynn’s Island beach

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GWYNN’S ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) — The locals call it Tin Pan Alley. Officially, it’s the last 330 feet of Virginia State Route 633.

For years it’s been the road to a narrow public access to the beach on the Chesapeake Bay. As of late August though, it’s been a no-parking zone, with 19 signs lining the road on both sides.

The people who want to use the beach will have to park at least a football field away from where they used to.  They’ve got a petition drive going — and Tuesday night they were set to take their signatures to the Mathews County Board of Supervisors.

That means people like Rich Shelton, whose family and many others like to use the beach at Gwynn’s Island, will have to make a change of plans.

“We’ve stopped using the beach or we walk up. We live about a half a mile away.”

VDOT installed the signs about a month ago, after a Mathews County judge ruled in favor of beachfront homeowner Mark Eubank. He had complained that people were trespassing, littering, drinking and publicly urinating on his beach right next door.

Shelton says he’s never seen that kind of behavior from the locals. He and more than 1,500 other people have signed a petition to get the signs removed.

“We don’t want to see (the signs). This is embarrassing.”

Eubank’s attorney says the signs are in line with the judge’s order and are enforceable.

Meanwhile their petition also mentions just how wide the public access is. Beachfront homeowner Bill Cheek says it’s 30 feet wide from the road all the way to the waterline, but some maps show that it widens to 75 feet at the waterline.

“We’d like to see the County Board of Supervisors or VDOT determine who owns the land,” Shelton says. “There are conflicting plats on record.”

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