Pier permit could promote business

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

Some of the people who came to the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors’ public hearing regarding Thomas and Dale Gaskins’ request for a permit to operate a commercial pier on their property on Ellyson Creek may have been confused about the actual issue at hand.

The property around the Gaskins’ 12 acres has homes on it although there have been fishing operations in the area for generations. The Gaskins’ property is zone residential and the Gaskins were asking for permission to upgrade an existing private pier on the property and to operate it as a commercial pier where seafood may be landed.

Marji Green said she had a problem with people buying residential property and then “turning it commercial.” Other speakers noted the narrowness of the creek at that location and said you could hear people talking across it.

Supervisor Tom Tomlin asked Gaskins, who is in the seafood business and could already land his own catches at the existing private pier, if he wanted the commercial designation so that his father, who is also in the business but with a different corporate entity, could also land his fish there. Gaskins said that was exactly what he meant to have happen.

A number of watermen and friends of Gaskins spoke in his favor.

Charles Thompson said he knew few young men of Gaskins’ “character, responsibility and integrity,” and Andy Hall said the county should be encouraging him and not put roadblocks in his way.

Ken Smith, President of the Virginia Watermens Association observed, “I’m encouraged to see a young guy come up and try to keep this (fishing) heritage going.”

Lee Self said he’s known Gaskins since he was 10 years old. “He was a good boy and has turned into a fine young man.” He urged the Board to support Gaskins in keeping the waterman’s tradition alive…


- For the full story, pick up a copy of the Dec. 18 issue of the Northumberland Echo, on stands now!

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