Residents seek a no-wake zone|Commissioners set hearing for Sept. 14

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Staff Writer

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on Monday unanimously voted to conduct a public hearing on a proposal to create a no-wake zone in a section of Tranter’s Creek upstream from a pubic boat ramp.
The action was in response to a request by residents of the Arbor Bluff community who believe a section of the creek, about one-half mile upstream of the Clark’s Neck Bridge, is dangerous.
The hearing was set for 7:35 p.m. Sept. 14 in Room 111 of the Beaufort County Administrative Building on Third Street, according to County Manager Paul Spruill.
Increased boat and personal-watercraft traffic from a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission boat ramp near the bridge and a campground upstream of the bridge has made the section of the waterway particularly dangerous, said William R. Outland, past president of the Arbor Bluff Homeowners Association.
“There have been many close calls in this curve and some minor accidents,” Outland said. “We feel a no-wake zone for this curve might prevent a serious accident and could possibly even save a life.”
“Two weeks ago, two boats almost ran together in front of my house,” he said.
Jurisdiction over no-wake zones and other water-safety rules in North Carolina lies with the wildlife commission.
Commission rules require that an application for a no-wake-zone designation come from the local government with territorial jurisdiction over the waterway in question — in this case, the Beaufort County commissioners.
Wildlife commission rules also require that a public hearing be held on the request.
The process for designating the area as a no-wake zone will likely take from one year to 18 months, according to the wildlife commission.
Tranter’s Creek is about 180 feet wide and about 25 feet deep in the section that is the subject of the public hearing, Outland said.
“This is a good deed on the part of the homeowners’ association,” said Commissioner Hood Richardson. “They’re doing it for public safety.”
In other business, the commissioners:
• Unanimously approved a resolution honoring the alumni of P.S. Jones High School as they prepare for a reunion this weekend.
• Unanimously endorsed a grant application seeking $173,655 in reimbursements from the N.C. Department of Transportation for expenses incurred from the operation of a transportation-assistance program in Beaufort County.
The commissioners praised the work by the Beaufort Area Transit System in providing the service for county residents.
“I want to thank you for the job that you do,” said Commissioner Ed Booth. “Whatever it takes to get these funds, continue to do it.”
Chris Kiricopoles, executive director of the Beaufort County Developmental Center, said the BATS Board of Directors has “worked hard to coordinate and consolidate those routes so we are operating in an efficient manner.”
• Unanimously voted to request DOT to identify on road maps the center of Blounts Creek community as the Cox’s Crossroads and N.C. Highway 33 intersection and erect a sign at the intersection identifying the community center.
• Unanimously approved an agreement with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office authorizing deputies to serve as resource officers at the Beaufort County Alternative School and Northside and Southside high schools.
• Unanimously awarded a contract to Beaufort Regional Medical Authority to provide meals for the county’s congregate and home-delivered meals program. The price per meal of $3.85 remains unchanged.
• Set two additional public hearings for Sept. 14 to take comments on the final draft of the revised Beaufort County land-use plan and to take comments on anticipated budget revisions in response to recent passage in the N.C. General Assembly of the state budget.
• Made appointments as follows to various county boards and commissions: Latanya Wilkins and Sonya Toman to the BMB Sheltered Home Board of Directors; Christopher Rouse to the Pantego/Belhaven Emergency Medical Services Board of Directors; Clifton Gray, Sandy Hardy and Hood Richardson to the Beaufort Regional Medical Authority; Sonya Toman and John Pack to the Beaufort County Red Cross Board of Directors; Owen Peele, representative to the Richlands Township Volunteer Agriculture District; Robin B. Morgan, representative to the Bath Township Volunteer Agriculture District; and a slate of more than 40 delegates to the Southern Albemarle Association’s annual meeting.
All commissioners attended the meeting.