No wake zone approved in Hertford County

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

WINTON—A “No Wake Zone” on the Wiccacon River is being supported by the Hertford County Board of Commissioners.

After a public hearing on Monday, the board voted unanimously to approve a resolution and will submit an application to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in an effort to establish a “No Wake Zone” at the Wiccacon River in the Taylor subdivision area in Harrellsville.

The area being considered is along the southern shoreline of the waterway, extending up to 800 feet in a westerly direction (upriver) and up to 350 feet in an easterly direction (downriver) from the existing “No Wake Zone” at the Harrellsville Wildlife Public Boat ramp at the end of Old Ferry Road. The “No Wake Zone” would include the width of the Wiccacon River.

The “No Wake Zone” was requested by property owners in the area last year.

While the public hearing saw no opposition to the establishment of the “No Wake Zone,” two residents of the subdivision, Paul Bergmann and John Parker, attended to support the effort.

“Our main motivation for requesting this ‘No Wake Zone’ is for, first of all, safety,” said Bergmann, speaking on behalf of Taylor subdivision property owners. “In the past few years, the number of boaters has increased significantly and a large percent insist on speeding through that area.”

Bergmann said Wildlife Officer Tim Wadsworth has voiced support for the zone.

Commission Chair Howard Hunter III questioned Bergmann on who would be responsible for the buoys that would establish the zone.

Bergmann said it was his understanding the procedure would be for the commissioners to approve it and upon approval from the NC Wildlife Commission that entity would be responsible for installing the buoys.

Hunter clarified he was speaking about the purchase of the buoys.

Bergmann said understood it was the county’s responsibilities.

Board Attorney Charles Revelle III corrected that the county has to submit with the information to the NC Wildlife Commission whether the county or the citizens would pay for the buoys.

Bergmann said property owners had talked that over and they would be willing to pay for a portion of the buoys.

“How much you all think we would be responsible for would be helpful,” said Bergmann.

County Manager Loria Williams said the price would depend on a number of things, including the number of buoys, how deep the water is and how the markers would be anchored down.

“The cost for the last buoys that were approved, it was my understanding was between $700 and $1,000,” she said. “But again, it depends on the Wildlife person going out there and taking a look at it. They would let us know what to purchase.”

“We definitely want to see this happen and realize that it’s not a money maker for the county and would be willing to flip at least part of the financial bill,” said Bergmann.

Bergmann added if the property owners had to pay for the whole cost he would like to know now.

Revelle said that is the question the Wildlife Commission wants answered when the application is submitted.

“It is part of your approval contingent upon the citizens paying for it or the county paying for it,” said Revelle to the board. “That’s the question for you, assuming you’re in favor of it.”

Williams said typically the cost is paid by the citizens or the homeowners association requesting the “No Wake Zone.”

“If that’s the case, if that’s the way it should be, that’s the way it will be,” said Bergmann.

Once back in regular session, the board approved the resolution in favor of establishing a wake zone.

Revelle said the next step in the process will be, after approving the board minutes at the next meeting, preparing an application to be submitted to the Wildlife Commission, so that entity can begin their rule making process.

Bergmann thanked the board for their help.