Small turnout urges walk-on fee at Jennette’s
About 25 people showed up for the hearing conducted by officials with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which has authority over the state-run pier.
Almost all were members of the local Jennette’s Pier Advisory Board, local officials or pier staffers.
Six spoke in favor of charging a fee for walk-ons, in keeping with a promise the state had made not to compete with local piers. After Jennette’s opened, the state agreed to ask for donations.
The owners of Nags Head Fishing Pier and Outer Banks Fishing Pier, who have spoken out against the Jennette’s policy, were not at Thursday’s hearing. No one spoke in opposition.
Fees are charged for fishing, but state officials and others have argued that sightseers should be allowed on without a charge because it was made possible with public money.Bob Muller, the former Nags Head mayor who is the chairman of the advisory committee, pushed for the state to reconsider the policy. The committee was formed because Nags Head and Dare County bought the property where the pier stands.
Muller and other speakers praised the pier project and its local impact, but urged the state officials to stick to their promise of not competing with private businesses — namely the two nearby piers, which charge walk-on fees.
Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, said that if the state was unwilling to change the policy, it should give the North Carolina Aquarium Society the discretion to do so if it turns operation of the pier over to the non-profit.
“We just feel it will help Dare County and Nags Head hold our heads high with promises we made based on promises made to us,” he said.
Written comments by mail or e-mail can be submitted until Aug. 23:
North Carolina Aquariums
3125 Poplarwood Court
Raleigh, NC 27604
Attn: David Griffin
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