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Hyde board adopts ADV ordinance

Hyde County is armed with an ordinance to help it keep abandoned and derelict vessels out of the Silver Lake harbor at Ocracoke Island.

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners, during its April 2 meeting, voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance. The 5-0 vote came after a public hearing on the matter. No one spokes against the ordinance at the hearing.

“Next is to enforce and keep Silver Lake clear from future Derelicts! We are 6 down and 1 to go right now,” County Manager Bill Rich wrote in an email, referring to six vessels that broke loose from their moorings in the past two months. It cost the county from $1,500 to $2,000 each for the county to dispose of several abandoned/derelict vessels.

A 2015 state law gave the county the power to adopt an ordinance to address abandoned/derelict vessels.

The ordinance states that the owner of an abandoned vessel is responsible for all costs — towing, relocation, storage and disposal — of the vessel and restoration of the area surrounding the abandoned vessel, whether the county removes the vessel or a third party removes it. Under the ordinance, the county has the authority to dispose of an abandoned vessel, including its cargo, tackle and equipment, at its discretion. That may mean conducting an auction or a direct sale to an interested party.

The pordinance defines an abandoned vessel as one that meets the following criteria:

  • a vessel that is moored, anchored or otherwise located for more than 30 consecutive days in any 180 consecutive-day period without permission of the dock owner;
  • a vessel in danger of sinking, has sunk, is resting on the bottom or is located such that it is a hazard to navigation or an immediate threat to other vessels.

The N.C. General Assembly has granted the power to address abandoned vessels to the counties. According to state statute, a county may, “by ordinance prohibit the abandonment of vessels in navigable waters within the county’s ordinance-making jurisdiction.”

At least three coastal counties, including Dare, New Hanover and Brunswick counties, have adopted ordinances to address the issue. The City of Washington’s Planning Board discussed the issue during its March meeting.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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