Commissioners approve rezoning request for potential low-income housing development

RAEFORD — The Hoke County Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 1, with a handful of property matters and funding requests on the agenda.

The board first held two public hearings for rezoning requests.

The first public hearing was a request to rezone 93.2 acres of property located on Philippi Church Road from RA-20 to R-8.

“This property is in the urban service area and will be serviced by county water and sewer,” said Planner Jeff Dockery. “The developers are looking at the high-density option and have chosen that with all the applicable regulations of the Hoke County Subdivision Ordinance. Our planning board recommended unanimously for the general rezoning.”

According to the developers, the reason for pursuing the higher density zoning is so that they can fit more economical and lower-income housing in the area – around 70-80 lots – with a range of costs from $250,000 to $350,000.

“After being on this board for 20 years, I can guarantee you one thing, ain’t no developer going to develop that many lots and be able to sell a house for $100,000,” said Commissioner Tony Hunt. “They’ll go broke if they do. I know that some folks are wondering if we are starting to allow homes to go in that it would devalue other homes, and I know that would be my concern too, but I guarantee with all the infrastructure, the roads, the sewer, and water… those homes aren’t going to be much different than what is in the other subdivisions for the price. Something that we certainly want to guard against is anything that will depreciate what somebody has already invested in.”

After the public hearing, the board approved the rezoning request.

The second public hearing was a request to rezone 2.99 acres of property located at 1970 Wayside Road from RA-20 to Neighborhood Business (NB).

The applicant had been running a business under specific conditions since 2014 on the property and wished to rezone to be in better compliance and for potential expansion.

“Sales tax is critical to our budget and what we do for the residents, so we appreciate you running your business,” said Chairman Allen Thomas, Jr.

Following the hearing, the board approved the rezoning request.

The board also approved a general funding request of $58,000 for the Sandhills Center.

“The Sandhills Center Board, on March 14 of this year, voted for the 19th year in a row to not request any conditional funding from any of our counties,” said Sandhills Center CEO Victoria Whitt. “So, that means I am here tonight to request the same amount, which is $58,000, and that money stays right here in Hoke County. This funding helps to pay for services for folks who don’t have insurance or Medicaid.

“We have been able, year after year, to hold the line, so to speak, on any additional funding requests because we have become the manager of Medicaid. And because of that, we’ve been able to utilize savings which we then reinvest back into the community.”

Finally, the board approved the Register of Deeds Credit Card Payment Processing Agreement contract.

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will next meet May 15.