ANNOUNCEMENT: Special Board of Directors meeting to address threat to common area bulkhead

The Potomac Bay Estates Property Owners Association Board of Directors will hold a special meeting to deal with a problem that threatens to damage the bulkhead at the picnic/common area at the west end of the neighborhood.

  • Special PBE POA Board meeting:
  • Friday, April 17
  • 1:00 PM
  • If you wish to attend this meeting by Skype, please respond by email to so we can arrange a Skype invite.

The bulkhead is constructed of vertical members driven into the river bottom.  Horizontal members are bolted to the vertical members and vinyl cladding is laid over the exterior.  “Deadman” anchor posts are sunk into the ground, below ground level, about 8-10 feet behind the bulkhead.  Long threaded rods tie the bulkhead to the deadman anchors to prevent or dampen the front-to-back motion of the bulkhead as waves crash into it.

The current problem is this.  As the river flows downstream, wave and current motion scour the river bottom, removing sand and clay from the bottom.  The scouring at the west end of the bulkhead has become so severe that only a few inches of the vertical members at that end are embedded in the river bottom.  This creates a real and present danger that a storm from the NNE-NE-E will drive waves into the bulkhead, causing some portion of the west end to become uprooted from the riverbed and collapsing, likely taking a good portion of the bulkhead with it.

Currently, about ten feet of the bulkhead is sagging toward the river, creating a void behind the bulkhead into which soil is collapsing, increasing pressure on the bulkhead.


This situation needs to be remedied immediately.  We have made initial contact with Andy Cockrell, the contractor who originally installed the bulkhead and who did the work a few years ago to improve the breakwaters and install the deck.  He has provided a verbal estimate of $10,000 to $12,000.  The meeting of the Board this Friday will consider information provided by the design engineer who planned our shoreline stabilization project as well as Andy Cockrell, the installation contractor and determine a course of action.

The permit under which our construction was done two years ago is still valid but needs to be modified to permit the work needed on the bulkhead.   Frank Goyette has submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission a request to modify the permit.  We anticipate that to be approved within a few days.

In 2012, we established two capital reserve accounts, one for water and one for other PBE assets. The capital reserve funds are supported by our dues and water fees.  We set the yearly contribution to that account based on the most likely expenditures we will have going forward as projected by the Treasurer’s Capital Reserve Study.  Then each year the Board votes to fund the reserve accounts.  These accounts were established for just such an eventuality – that is, a major repair to a common asset.  Funds for the immediate bulkhead repair will come from this capital reserve account.    The Board will provide additional information, when available.

We are in discussion with VMRC and VIMS, about a more permanent medium to long term solution, rather than a quick fix.

Board meetings are open to POA members.

If you wish to attend by Skype, reply by email to with your email address so you can be added to the Skype invitation.

If you have comments or questions, please email them, or, telephone:

  • Board President Dave Williams:  804-580-2095, or,
  • Project Manager Frank Goyette:  804-580-9108

These photos were made Saturday, April 11, showing the erosion behind the bulkhead.  This erosion is due to the bottom of the bulkhead bulging out of the river bottom causing the bulkhead to lean forward toward the river.  This creates a void behind the bulkhead that is visible in the photos.  Waves pounding into the bulkhead will loosen the bulkhead footing from the riverbank, eventually resulting in the bulkhead collapsing at this point, possibly taking out a substantial portion of the bulkhead.






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