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Rural residents don't want city encroachment

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Land near the intersection of Mills Road and Hudsons Crossroads Road is up for rezoning on May 22, 2019.


By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

More than 100 people filled the council chambers at Greenville City Hall to oppose requests for the city rezone and annex more 190 acres for residential development in southern Pitt County between Hope Middle and D.H. Conley High schools.

The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday voted 5-3 against recommending approval of changing the zoning for two of three parcels at the intersection of Mills Road and Hudson Crossroads Road. A vote on a third parcel was postponed.

Developers asked for the zoning to be changed in all three from agricultural to single-family residential. The land is in a rural area well outside the city limits and extra territorial jurisdiction — about 9 miles from downtown and 5 miles from its southern border — but the city would have zoning jurisdiction because property owners also are asking the city to annex the land.

“My neighbors and I chose to move out here to have less traffic, less noise, less congestion, less problems. The road right now is in bad repair. DOT has not maintained it for the limited use it’s got,” said Jim Marsal, one of many residents who spoke out against the requests.

The requests for adjacent properties which neighbors said add to congestion along Mills Road, create noise pollution and impact the environment. 

The first is from Carolina Eastern Homes for more than 85 acres on the south side of Mills Road near the intersection. The second is from Ann C. Davis and James K. Cox for more than 35 acres. The lot is adjacent and just to the east to the 85-acre lot.

The third request is from RDP Management Consulting for 50-acres on the north side of Mills Road and the west side of Hudsons Crossroads Road. The land is across Mills Road from the 85-acre plot. The vote on the Davis-Cox request was reset for June.

The City Council has final say on the requests. An annexation petition has been submitted and will be considered when the zoning requests go before the council, according the the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda packet.

Marsal lives on Manor Court, a small subdivision on Mills Road east of the proposed development. He also expressed concern over the amount of traffic that already backs up from nearby Hope Middle.

“We don’t have the roads, we don’t have the road maintenance, we don’t have the schools in place,” Marsal said.

School attendance is not typically a consideration in zoning requests. Although the area is located in close proximity to Hope Middle, it is located in the attendance areas for Chicod School, a K-8 facility, and D.H. Conley.

Conley currently is 14 percent over capacity; Chicod is at 72.3 percent capacity when modular units are included in the equation. Hope is 3 percent over capacity.

Tony Simonetti, who lives along Mills Road, said the southern portion of the proposed development drains into a ditch that feeds a pond on his property.

“I am certain that my property will be adversely affected by the amount of extra runoff from 100-plus houses. The pond on my property is clean and vibrant at this time. The fish and wildlife in it are healthy, as is the plant life around the pond. The increased runoff from the projected number of houses would pollute my property.”

In other business, a request by Ocean Reef Investments to rezone 4 acres at the southeastern corner of MacGregor Downs Road and B’s Barbeque Road from medical office to general commercial was approved unanimously.   

The land is located just north of Candlewood Suites and is adjacent to several residential areas. The City Council on April 11 amended the future land use and character map to accommodate the zoning request.   

Another request from Home Builders and Supply, 2000 Dickinson Ave., to rezone .28 acres at Line Avenue and Wilson Street from residential to heavy commercial also was approved unanimously. The land is at the rear of the Home Builders property and across from Guy Smith Park and several residences.

And a request to approve a preliminary plat for phase 3 of Blackwood Ridge subdivision off of Corey Road also passed unanimously.