Appointees named to no-wake zone task force

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Monday night appointed five men to a task force, which is intended to provide input on the best way to deal with the issue of no-wake zones on the Nottoway River.

Wayne Bonds, Doug Williams, Keith Davis, Jerry Bradshaw and Hunter Darden were the names offered by supervisors.

The matter has been before the supervisors before.

There are four separate no-wake zones in the river, starting with the public boat landing near the General Vaughan Bridge through the former Dockside restaurant in the Nottoway Shores Subdivision. The two other regions are established in between those two, with one located near the bend in the river and the other where the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers nearly come in contact.

Last month when the topic of the no-wake zones came up, some of the supervisors expressed misgivings about having to make a decision then. For example, Franklin-Hunterdale Supervisor Barry Porter had said he’s received calls from people who think they would be adversely affected by any more such prohibitions on waterway traffic and recreation.

“We need to consider everybody’s rights. I think no-wake zones make absolute sense,” he said, adding that they should not be eliminated.

Safety, not erosion, is the major factor in vice chairman Ronnie West’s view, and it was he who proposed the supervisors find people willing to offer their views to the board.

During this past Monday’s meeting, Porter admitted to having what he called second thoughts on how effective such a panel could be.

He then suggested that the supervisors and a group of riverside residents get together for an afternoon and evening to “hash it out.”

“I’d hate to see the whole river become a no-wake zone,” said Porter.

Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips mentioned that he had recently gotten a ride on the Nottoway from Gary Cross, during which they met two game wardens.

In conversation, Phillips said he was told that the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries doesn’t enforce no-wake zones designated solely for erosion control.

“Whatever you do, you have to have public input,” said county attorney Richard Railey.

In making the motion to adopt the names, Boykins District Supervisor Carl Faison offered that each person would state how a no-wake zone would affect him.

The board then unanimously approved the names.

In other business:

• On highway matters, county administrator Mike Johnson said that work on the Courtland interchange remains on schedule, with an expected completion in December 2018. Bids on the Route 35 Tarrara Bridge have not yet arrived, and that work on the Route 659 at Flat Swamp Creek, which began in March, is anticipated to be done this November. The Route 671 bridge replacement across the Nottoway is still in the planning phase. Accommodations will be made during cotton harvesting.

• The sole public hearing was to consider an ordinance vacating a portion of a plat on Maple Avenue in Sedley for Bruce Herrin Jr., who wants to build a home. ThePlanning Commission gave the OK at its meeting earlier this month.

Beth Lewis, deputy director of Community Development, said, “This is one of those pesky alleys in Southampton County. A sharp-eyed surveyor saw it.”

As to the question of why not vacate all the alleys, Lewis replied that property owners on either side would have to take a portion on either side. So the alleys will be dealt with one 48-foot section at a time. Following that, the supervisors approved the ordinance.

• The Drewryville Volunteer Fire Department made a capital funding request of $14,000 to assist with its debt service. The supervisors also said yes.

• The Board also agreed to requesting expansion of the Metropolitan Planning Area and membership in the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization. The agency could amend its bylaws to allow membership; Johnson said he hopes that would be done by November.

• A resolution of appreciation posthumously recognizing E. Beale Carter Jr. was read by the administrator.

“I never met a finer person,” said Jerusalem District Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards. West, Porter and others also had high praise for Carter’s public service; he died at age 86 on July 20.

• The PDCCC Foundation asked for and got financial support from the board for the upcoming golf tournament. Ultimately, the supervisors agreed to sponsor a hole for $350.