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Bridge ‘Idea-Gathering’ Meeting NOT Advertised to Public

Bridge ‘idea-gathering’ meeting not advertised to public

By Cindy Beamon

The Daily Advance

Sunday, September 18, 2011

 

CURRITUCK — The behind-the-scenes “idea gathering” meeting earlier this month on the mid-Currituck bridge’s design was not intended for the public, says a spokeswoman for the state agency overseeing the project.

The session hosted by the N.C. Turnpike Authority in Currituck included commissioners from three counties, two state legislators and a host of other business and county leaders.

Despite the high profile invitation list and the span’s $660 million price tag, the meeting was not advertised to the public.

A public meeting on the bridge’s design will be advertised later when the Turnpike Authority is ready to present its ideas, said Greer Beaty, communications director for the N.C. Department of Transportation, the agency which oversees the Turnpike Authority.

“They are not even to the point where they have pictures or designs for people to respond to,” Beaty said.

State law did not require that the meeting be publicly advertised because the group is not a decision-making body.

Neither was a majority from any of the county boards present, which would have required public notice. Three commissioners attended from Currituck.

Had four attended, the county would have been legally required to advertise the session. Elected officials from Duck and Southern Shores also attended.

In addition to the elected officials, the invited group represented a mix of interests, including wildlife, economic development, the Currituck Chamber of Commerce, the Currituck Historic Society, tourism, engineers, the sheriff, county manager, other county staff members, and the project’s private investor, ACS Infrastructure Development.

State Rep. Bill Owens, D-Pasquotank, said he didn’t know that the meeting had not been advertised.

Currituck Commissioner Paul O’Neal said he would have welcomed the public to the meeting. The state, not the county, set up the session, and O’Neal said he was not aware who would be attending until he got there.

Beaty said nothing was decided at the meeting.“It really was not a meeting intended to come up with long-term decisions that would be set in stone. It was just a starting point to get some ideas,” she said.

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How do the “invited” attendees know what Aydlett, Coinjock and Corolla Locals would want to look at every single day if, and that’s a big IF, this project gets built. I, as well as others in the Aydlett community, want to know why our county district representative, Butch Petrey, didn’t insist on having representatives from Coinjock and Aydlett invited to attend the design idea session. Since he stabbed us in the heart with his vote for the bridge project,  he has done nothing for the Aydlett or Coinjock communities to help us through this process.  Then again,  NOTHING about this project has been open or honest.  Webmaster.

 

 

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