Askew pitches sewer plan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WINTON – A former Hertford County Commissioner pleaded with the current board to carry out his request here Tuesday morning.

Marshall Askew, who served as commissioner from 1996-2000, asked that the board include the Tuscarora Beach community on the Chowan River in the county’s plans for putting a sewer system in the nearby Tunis community.

Citing his reason as being a concern that incoming industrial workers would not have a place to stay in Hertford County unless something drastic changes, Askew noted that he would be willing to provide camper or trailer lots for those workers at Tuscarora.

The problem lies in that under current regulations, Askew’s lots would not be allowed to hold even a temporary camper or trailer due to setback requirements and the lack of a sewer system.

&uot;I’ve got 15 lots down there and I can’t put a daggum thing on them because the lots don’t meet the three-quarters of an acre regulations… but if they had sewer, it wouldn’t matter,&uot; Askew noted.

He continued, &uot;It’s crazy to have property and not be able to utilize it… I’m sure all of you have property like that too.&uot;

Askew added, &uot;We’re going to have all these people coming into the county soon for this industry construction and they’re going to be looking for places to stay… I’d like to provide it.&uot;

He went on to say that he would be willing to fork over the money to put in septic tanks, but without a sewer system his lots don’t meet the acreage requirements.

While not outright denying the request, County Manager Loria Williams and Commissioner Dupont Davis listed reasons why such a project would be difficult.

&uot;This particular project would have to be looked at as separate down the road… it wouldn’t fit in with the existing grant application (for the Tunis system),&uot; Williams noted.

She continued, &uot;I’m not saying there’s not a need for it; I’m just saying it’s not as simple as just adding Tuscarora Beach to the existing plans at Tunis.&uot;

Davis added, &uot;People are asking me all the time about why can’t we get a (county-wide) sewer system and I keep telling them that we’d need a mint for that.&uot;

Earlier, Askew had lamented that the hordes of incoming construction workers would inevitably end up staying elsewhere if housing arrangements are not made soon.

&uot;We don’t have nowhere [sic] to put them… it’s a shame for this county for them to have to go to Greenville, Suffolk or Williamston when we have property sitting empty that could be utilized,&uot; he stated.

Askew added, &uot;I’ve been working with (Hertford County Economic Development Director) Bill Early… I hope we can get this fixed and be able to find them (construction workers) places to stay.&uot;

Early told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald last week in a telephone interview that within the next 12 months, Hertford County could expect to see between 550 and 750 construction workers in the county to work on three new industrial projects.