Rezoning could make way for more industry

By Chris Berendt -

A rezoning on Autry Highway could be paving the way for more industry in a Sampson County that is only poised for more growth with the ongoing N.C. 24 project.

The Sampson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted at a recent meeting to rezone 2.57 acres along Autry Highway from RA-Residential Agriculture to I-Industrial.

The property contains 21.54 acres, of which 18.97 acres is already zoned Industrial. The properties to the north and south are zoned Residential Agriculture. The properties to the east and west are zoned C-Commercial. The property is located along N.C. 24.

Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said the property was owned by “Jackson Family Farms.”

“They want to rezone the entire property, and this small portion will enable the entire 21 acres to be zoned Industrial,” Rose explained. When asked by Commissioner Albert Kirby, Rose said she did not know what the intended use would be. “The application was submitted a couple months ago and we processed it. I don’t know who, if anyone, would have interest in the property.”

She noted some existing industrial buildings on the rear of the property, as well as an office building on the front.

“Since we’ve been doing zoning for the past 10 years, I’ve seen different people come through the county interested in the property,” Rose noted. “I think once they realized that the front portion was not rezoned (from Residential Agriculture) the owner thought it would be beneficial to consolidate it all under Industrial zoning.”

Planning officials said that “the N.C. 24 corridor is prime for industrial growth due to the availability of public water, sewer and natural gas.” The Planning Board previously unanimously recommended approval of the request.

Kirby inquired once again about a possible purpose for the property. Rose said she did not know, joking that Sampson Economic Development executive director John Swope tended to be “good at keeping secrets” and industrial prospects prefer to keep plans under wraps until any official request is made.

“It is located on N.C. 24, which is one of our major corridors. With the expansion and improvements to 24, we also have infrastructure along this highway. As 24 is upgraded to Clinton, and hopefully beyond, you’re going to probably see more property requested to be rezoned to Commercial and Industrial.”

Kirby ultimately made the motion to rezone, approved unanimously by the board.

In other business, Rose noted an opening on the Sampson County Planning Board.

Stephen Parker was nominated to serve on the board to fill the position vacated by Scott Brown, who served on the board for six years, most recently as chairman. Brown’s term expired and he chose not to seek re-appointment.

Parker is a resident of the Kitty Fork community and resides on Richard Parker Road, Clinton. He has been an employee of Kivett’s for 32 years and currently holds the position of plant engineer. He is married to Christy Parker, a teacher at Cape Fear High School. The board unanimously appointed Parker.

“My thanks to Mr. Brown for serving,” Commissioner Sue Lee said. “That is a tough board to be on and I appreciate his service for six years.”

“He did an excellent job,” Rose agreed, “and we appreciate that.”

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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