The Ashe County Commissioners heard from members of the New River Advocates Inc. in a sometimes contentious meeting yesterday at the Ashe County Courthouse. Deborah Greene, who serves the group as research and development person of New River Advocates, asked the Commissioners to take action to reclassify the small portion of the South Fork of the New River in order to protect it from the planned Boone water intake. Greene said that, if the action could be takenwhich is not clearit would change the stretch of the New from a source of drinking water to water suitable for recreation and livestock. The intake would be constructed in the Todd community at the intersection of Cranberry Springs Road and Railroad Grade Road. While most of the meeting was civil and positive, tempers flared during some of the public comment segment .
Questions raised included a document signed by the Ashe County classifying the portion of the New River as potable drinking water which indicated that the water in question was located in Watauga County, and about runoff from the Ashe County Watershed and the rights of the county to protect that watershed.
Though no vote was taken, the majority of the County Commissioners spoke in support of the reclassification of the New River during the Commissioner Comments portion of the meeting with Commission Chair Gary Roark promising to look more deeply into the proposed reclassification. Only Commissioner Larry Rhodes withheld comment.