By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
The Hoke County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved several planning and zoning matters, after engaging in lengthy discussion about the requests during the regularly scheduled meeting.
The board members approved a rezoning request to allow a home health agency to open a new office on U.S. 401 Business, a sewer waiver for one subdivision and a preliminary plat approval for another subdivision.
Florine Fleming submitted a request to rezone slightly less than half an acre of land located across the street from the Hillcrest Fire Department on Highway 401 Business. The rezoning changed the property from Residential Manufactured Home to Highway Commercial.
A number of employees of Fleming’s company, Divine Home Care, spoke in favor or allowing the rezoning. A number of homeowners who live in the area spoke against allowing it.
Fleming addressed the board, explaining that the location would not see patients but would serve as an office for nurses who travel to patients’ homes to provide services. The company mostly provides home health services for elderly and disabled individuals.
One homeowner who spoke against the proposal said several property owners had collected two petitions against the rezoning. Homeowners previously attended a Hoke County Planning Board meeting and raised concerns over matters such as increased traffic, preserving the general character of the existing neighborhood and whether the zoning would allow future commercial development in the location. The Planning Board unanimously recommended denying the rezoning request.
However, the residents hadn’t received any information prior to the meeting about what type of business Fleming wanted to put in the building. One speaker asked commissioners to consider providing more detailed information about such matters in the future when sending out letters to inform nearby property owners of proposed rezoning requests.
Former County Commissioner Ellen McNeill was one of several people who spoke in favor of allowing the request. McNeill said she had never heard any complaints about the business, and praised the company for delivering services to a family member.
Ultimately, the commissioners approved the rezoning request to allow Fleming to rezone the property to Highway Commercial. Several commissioners pointed out that the road, 401 Business, is already home to other local businesses. Additionally, given the current pandemic, several board members spoke of wanting to support business and healthcare in particular.
In another planning matter, the commissioners approved a sewer waiver for the Winchester Subdivision. The board previously tabled the matter after discussion at the June 1 meeting. The developer of the subdivision requested the waiver for the 33-lot development due to the cost of putting in the infrastructure to hook on to the county’s wastewater service.
The overall development cost would have been about $5.8 million to service those 33 homes, according to county information.
As part of the talks, commissioners discussed potentially reexamining the county’s sewer service area maps that determine in which areas of the county developers are required to hook on to county utilities.
The board additionally approved a revised plat for the Stout Landing subdivision, located off of Philippi Church Road. The commissioners originally approved a preliminary plat for the development in May 2019.
However, due to concerns over potential drainage issues for future homeowners, the developer made revisions to the plans. The revised plat includes a larger storm water pond, two additional streets and another residential lot, for a total of 193 lots.
After questioning representatives for the project at length over the changes, the board ultimately approved the revised plat.