Tree farmer opposes rapid rezonings near Bailey | The Enterprise
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Tree farmer opposes rapid rezonings near Bailey

Posted on January 13, 2022

Updated on January 17, 2022

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This map shows a property outside Bailey that could be rezoned to allow 23 homes on 20 acres. Neighbor Heather Finch said she’s opposed to such changes without a development plan in place.

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This map shows a property outside Bailey that could be rezoned to allow 23 homes on 20 acres. Neighbor Heather Finch said she’s opposed to such changes without a development plan in place.

Quote

Growth is a good thing; however, a proper plan must be implemented."
Heather Finch, southern Nash County agribusiness owner

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

Finch

Finch

BAILEY — Heather Finch moved home a year ago to revive her family’s agribusiness and seek shelter from the coronavirus pandemic that racked New York City where she had made a successful life and career.

Finch said last week that she never expected rapid development to encroach on her rural homestead.

“Growth is a good thing; however, a proper plan must be implemented,” Finch said. “We have to think about the future economy of our community. We need a smart growth plan.”

Finch, who describes herself as a concerned citizen, landowner and nature lover, said she recently received an official letter about a request to rezone a tract of land neighboring her farm. She said the parcel crosses over a wetland.

“This is not adequate time to gather supporting research to help prevent severe environmental threats,” Finch said.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners recently approved a similar rezoning request in the area.

Over residents’ objections voiced in a public hearing, commissioners voted 6-1 on Jan. 3 to approve the second phase of the Seamster Subdivision on the southside of Bull Head Road north of the U.S. 264 bypass and east of Bailey’s town limits.

“I am concerned by the rate at which a large quantity of farmland has been rezoned from R-40 to R-20 in a quick turnaround,” Finch said.

The R-20 zoning designation allows for residential properties on smaller lots and typically paves the way for subdivisions.

Finch’s home, tree farm and wreath business are all on Stoney Hill Church Road just outside Bailey.

Finch said she’s opposed to poorly managed growth, such as she feels the recent rezoning allows, until a development plan is finalized.

“While the local community may be unable to prevent development, that in itself will be detrimental to the area, nearly all residents in the Bailey, Green Pond and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods are completely opposed to the addition of multi-family housing that will cause traffic and safety problems, create even more problems with schools that are already over capacity, destroy local wildlife habitat and potentially lower the property values of the existing community,” Finch said.

Residents haven’t had sufficient time or information to fully understand the proposals and the agricultural and environmental consequences that development might cause for the surrounding area, Finch said.

A Greenville consulting firm is updating the county’s current economic development plan. The document won’t be complete until year’s end.

Finch has sent emails to the Nash County Board of Commissioners asking the board to reject any docketed and future rezoning requests for properties in the area until the plan is finalized.

Finch listed her top concerns in the emails, which she provided to The Enterprise. The bullet points listed below summarize her position.

• Agricultural land is being sold and will negatively affect Nash County’s job market and the prosperous farming industry’s revenue.

• The new development will destroy nearby farmland due to the high density without proper buffering and the volume of septic tanks in sandy soil, producing a 12% to 17% increase of nitrate in the ground.

• It’s harming the future of agricultural land and business opportunities.

• It increases traffic and risks community safety.

• It lacks supporting infrastructure such as police, fire, EMS, schools, doctors and businesses to support the influx of people.

• It lacks ordinances, rules and procedures that a city or town would have.

• It increases the possibility of trespassing, theft, crime, pollution of farms, littering and dumping on land and decreases emergency personnel response time.

• It lacks technology infrastructure such as internet, phone and cellphone service.

• It causes the destruction of wildlife habitats. Finch has filed a complaint with the U.S. Wildlife Service.

• It lacks schools to support the number of people. Schools in the area are already over capacity. Commissioners shouldn’t approve multifamily dwellings that create or exacerbate a situation that will cause school concurrency to fail.

“I am concerned about the economic future for this end of the county,” Finch said.

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