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State, County, City meet to discuss sewer system

NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- State, County and City officials met Tuesday at the New Hanover County government complex. The topic of discussion was the sewer system's northeast interceptor. Officials say no decisions were made today about when to lift the moratorium put in place last week. New Hanover County Manager Bruce Shell said, "The question today is what steps can be made to remove the moratorium. That is the issue that was discussed today." We asked exactly what steps were discussed, but never got a straight answer. Shell said, "It remains to be seen. We'll submit criteria to the state and the state will give us a quick response, and I really don't have any more than that at this point." The damage caused by the building moratorium may already be done. According to county e-mails some big-time retailers like Pottery Marn, may back out of a deal to bring their business -- and job opportunities -- to New Hanover County. Mayfaire developer H.J. Brody sent an e-mail to county commissioners asking for permits to perform up-fits which would not affect the NEI. The decision to allow the up-fits belongs to the county. So far the answer is no. New Hanover County Commissioner Bill Caster said, "I've mentioned to the Mayfaire folks that if I need to go out and talk to potential businesses that we want them to come out here then I will be more than happy to do that." The e-mail goes on to say Wilmington may lose business if retailers are denied the permits they need to open on schedule. "You would hope they would kind of hang on for three or four days," Caster said. "But you wonder are they so mad they would not bring business? I would hope they wouldn't be that way." County commissioners hope to have up-fit permits approved by the end of the week. As for the contract between the state, county and City on how to remove the moratorium, a City spokesperson says that probably won't be approved until at least July.

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