‘Common sense’ enforcement

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WINDSOR – A Bertie County man has a problem with the enforcement of a law on the books in Bertie County.

Rickey Hughes told the Bertie County Commissioners at their June 26 meeting he was concerned not about the law, but about how it is being enforced.

He said the law did not allow people to hunt or trap on property without written permission from the landowner.

“It’s a good law,” he said. “Our law enforcement officers say that regardless of the landowner being with you, you still have to have written permission.”

He said there have been incidents where the landowner is with the hunter, but officers say that presence is not good enough for the law.

“If the landowner is there personally, instead of writing it down, it should be okay,” Hughes told the board.

Commissioner Rick Harrell said the spirit of the law is to keep people from hunting on other people’s land without permission and that he felt there should be some “common sense” enforcement.

He asked Hughes if he would assist the board by finding out how it is enforced in other areas and what language would work to allow the owner to give verbal permission if they are present and Hughes said he would do that.

“That’s what we need is common sense enforcement,” Hughes said.

Hughes was one of several people who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Also speaking was Powellsville resident Kent Williams who said he attended a meeting held by the North Carolina Department of Transportation that explained future highway plans for Bertie County.

Williams said U.S. 13 and U.S. 17 would be upgraded to freeways as would N.C. 11.

He said the result would be devastating to landowners on those roadways because there would be no driveways allowed on the freeway.

“The only way people wouldn’t lose their property is if they have driveways that connect to another road,” he said.

Williams said he was one of about 10 people who attended the meeting.

Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr. asked if the information Williams received at the meeting was a proposal and Williams said it was the long-range plans.

“Long range with DOT usually means long, long, long, long range plans,” Commission Chairman L. C. Hoggard III said.

Williams said he was opposed to the idea and wanted the county to work together to keep it from happening.

In addition, John Davis of Merry Hill discussed the Friends of Bertie’s request for the audio tapes of the closed session minutes of the board’s September, 2008 meeting which is currently being sought through the courts.

Terry Pratt of Merry Hill also stood to again take issue with the raise granted to Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb nearly two years ago. He also complained about the employment of Economic Development Director Steve Biggs and asked for the county’s response on his request to oppose House Bill 353.