News & Events

County eyes acquisition of I-40 property

April 12, 2022

[Source: The Sampson Independent]

NEWTON GROVE — Moves to acquire a large mass of land off Interstate 40 in the Newton Grove area were approved during the recent Sampson County Board of Commissioners meeting.

During the meeting, a public hearing regarding the Proposed Expenditure for Economic Development purposes was held. The purpose of the hearing was to review the proposed execution of an option to purchase 10 parcels comprised of 210-plus acres.

The property, owned by the Joe Britt Warren family, is located within Newton Grove area near the intersection of I-40 and Harnett-Dunn Highway. It is near Exit 341, to the north and south of Raleigh Street, near Warren Lake Road, and to the north of Fayetteville Street and Newton Grove Highway, near Meadow Lane.

The proposed option money for the property is $50,000. In exchange of option money payment, the county will have the right, through Oct. 31, 2022, to purchase a fee simple interest in the property for the price of $2 million. Should the county fail to exercise its option during that period the money will be retained by the sellers.

Funding source for the option money and purchase price will be a combination of the Sampson County economic development reserve fund and its general fund.

“Right now, the county’s commercial‐to‐residential tax base ratio, in terms of the tax base, is 28%‐to‐72%,” said Stephen Barrington, director of the Sampson County Economic Development Commission. “It’s part of our goal for Economic Development to figure how to raise the non-residential tax base.”

“We know that there are really two major ways to increase the county’s revenue,” he continued. “One is to raise taxes — and I don’t think anyone wants that and we don’t want that either — because it’s already one of the higher rates across the region. Second is to increase the county’s non‐residential tax base and job opportunities for residents of Sampson County by attracting new companies to our community. To do this effectively, we need quality industrial buildings and site options for companies to consider.”

As part of this process, a second public hearing regarding amendments to the Economic Development budget was also held.

The budget amendments involved the allocation of $2 million from Sampson County’s general fund balance for purchase of the real property and $80,000 from the economic development reserve fund to cover closing cost and due diligence.

That will include $65,000 to fund a Phase I environmental assessment, boundary and elevation survey, geotechnical report, wetlands delineation, jurisdictional determination, threatened and endangered species study, cultural and historic assessment site plan design and another engineering and environmental assessments, as needed.

The goal of these expenditures, county officials said, is to help the county determine the suitability of the property for development as a business park with the aim of increasing population, taxable property, agricultural industries, employment, industrial output and business prospects of Sampson.

The board unanimously voted to approve the expenditures, option and acquisition described in the option agreement.

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