Hoke Commissioners elect leaders, approve variances

RAEFORD – The Hoke County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Dec. 4.

The board elected Commissioner James Leach, who had been serving as vice-chairman, as chairman of the board and Commissioner Harry Southerland as vice-chairman. Both were the only nominations for each position and received a unanimous vote.

“Thank you board for putting your trust in me once again,” Leach said. “I promise not to let you down. Mr. Allen, when we turned it over to you, we had a fund balance of 45-50% and you’re giving it back to us with a fund balance of 45-50% so you did well. Thank you for that and certainly for your leadership of Hoke County for the past two years. Great work, good work and you’ve done a great job.”

Allen Thomas Jr., who had served as chairman for the last two years, is not leaving the board, but chose not to seek reelection.

“I just want to thank the board for giving me these two years,” Thomas said. “It’s been a great two year experience working with you all in this position of chairman and I just want to thank you. It’s been one of the wonders of my life. So I just want to say I appreciate it.”

The board held four public hearings regarding property matters.

The first hearing was a request for a special use permit for the use of multi-family homes located on 33.81 acres of property located on Philippi Church Road. The property is currently zoned R-8.‌

“In our zoning ordinance, multi-family housing is not permitted in any zone,” said Planner Jeff Dockery. “It has to be by special use only and only in three distinct zoning districts: R-8, RMF and NB. The property, as it is right now, we feel that this is the best use of this land in order to get our desired results

“The top of the property is going to be developed and the bottom is going to be phase two for further development. They’re projecting to have 73 units and for a portion of the property to be left vacant for future development.”‌

The second hearing was for a preliminary plat approval for a 299-lot major subdivision named Stornoway Farm Subdivision located on 93-acres of property on Philippi Church Road. The property is zone R-8.

The third hearing was a rezoning request to rezone 56 acres of property located on Scull Road from R-20 to R-8.

The final hearing was for another preliminary plat approval for a 16-lot major subdivision named McQueen Farms Subdivision located on 112.41-acres of property on Blue Springs Road.

Following the hearings, the board approved all of the requests.

The board also approved a professional services contract with the North Carolina Alliance of Public Health Agencies for a community health worker to provide outreach, case management, care coordination and to support women and infants in Hoke County.‌

“The Health Department has received a HRSA grant from the state in conjunction with Cumberland County to provide maternity services to our patients,” said Health Director Helene Edwards.

The board then approved two utility waivers, one for the Upland Trace subdivision and the other for a project located off Rockfish Road.

“Even though we scrounge on having to give waivers, sometimes it is imperative that we do so that the land owners are able to develop their land in some way to be able to recoup some of the investment that they have in their property,” said Commissioner Tony Hunt.

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will next meet Dec. 18.