Projects getting boost from state leadership of natural resources

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 05:10 PM

County officials have been working closely with the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources in recent weeks to ensure local projects move forward with timeliness and fair assessment.

Shortly after John E. Skvarla, secretary of the DENR took office in January, all permits were obtained for phases 2A and 2B of the county water project.

Permits being obtained from DENR include an authorization to construct permit, coming from the public water supply division, and an erosion and sedimentation control permit from the division of land resources.

“Those permits can take anywhere from three to six months to obtain,” said Jerry Ayscue, county manager. “We got those in just over two months, so we were very pleased.”

According to Ayscue, receiving the permits was a major step toward reaching the project’s bidding process. In early March, he presented Skvarla with an appreciation award in honor of the timely approvals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is the prime agency funding the county’s water project.

“It opens the door for construction,” Ayscue said. “These permits were crucial in completing all requirements that the USDA Rural Development people have to have in order for us to receive the approval to proceed with bidding the project out.”

A lease agreement between Satterwhite Point and the DENR is set to expire in November of this year. Archie Taylor, a Vance commissioner who represents District 2 that includes the marina, brought forward a message from owners Scott and Catherine Hughes.

Hughes purchased Satterwhite Point Marina on Kerr Reservoir in 1991 from Adams Tobacco Company, with 23 years remaining on the lease. He feels assets poured into the marina, and the revenue generated in those 23 years, should be criteria to not continue with an open bid process, which would occur prior to the lease’s renewal.

“What he wants to do is protect his financial interest,” said Taylor. “He spent a considerable amount of money putting up buildings to serve his customers and clientele, and he wants to preserve that as best he can.”

Currently the Hughes are waiting on a response from Skvarla on whether he will continue with the open bid process, or renegotiate the lease with them.

“He did say he would let them know which way we’re going to go on this,” Taylor said.

The DENR makes regular trips to Satterwhite Point Marina to do inspections, and Skvarla has been invited for a visit.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.