Fisheries seeking long-term lease


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, May 17, 2019

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries office in Elizabeth City is looking for a long-term home in the area, a spokeswoman for the agency said Thursday.

The Division of Marine Fisheries, part of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, is seeking a long-term lease to continue serving the Albemarle area, DEQ spokeswoman Patricia Smith said in an interview.

In recent days, DEQ has been publishing legal notices in The Daily Advance seeking lease offers. Prospective landlords have until June 7 to apply, according to the notice.

Smith explained the Marine Fisheries office in Elizabeth City has about 17 to 20 employees, including biological and licensing staff, whose duties include biological sampling to monitor the health of local waterways, “resource enhancement” such as establishing oyster habitats, and licensing commercial fishermen. The office also serves several counties. The closest neighboring offices are in Manteo and Washington, N.C., she noted.

The Elizabeth City office has relied on short-term leases over the last three years, Smith said, including at its current home, at 100 Kitty Hawk Lane, which is off Weeksville Road and near Hoffer Flow Controls. Its current landlord is Jon Wheeler, who’s granted a lease extension through the end of the year.

DEQ is satisfied with its current location, Smith said. By soliciting leases, the agency is simply trying to find a long-term home, she said. She noted Wheeler is free to offer a long-term lease as well.

DEQ’s legal notice states it wants about 8,900 square feet of office space, and 15,400 square feet of outdoor parking, and that it hopes to have the property leased by October.

Smith added DEQ pays about $7,500 a month now in rent; she did not rule out paying more per month, depending on the space offered.

She also said Marine Fisheries’ new landlord will have to pay for any remodeling expenses.