Commissioners to prioritize needs in wake of growth

By TOM WOERNER
For the Record
Posted 1/21/22

Harnett County Commissioners said Tuesday night they want lawmakers to know exactly what areas they feel need to be addressed.

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Commissioners to prioritize needs in wake of growth

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Harnett County Commissioners said Tuesday night they want lawmakers to know exactly what areas they feel need to be addressed as the county deals with growing pains associated with unprecedented growth.

Assistant County Manager Brian Haney presented a list of several items the board discussed in recent meetings. Among the needs outlined, included increased broadband access in the county, support of widening of major routes into Wake County, expanding access to natural gas, repairing local roadways to make them easier to access by farm vehicles and expanding the Harnett Regional Jetport.

Haney’s list was based on concerns provided from commissioners at previous meetings.

Commissioner Barbara McKoy said the board needs to be more specific in asking for help from Raleigh.

“These are all important issues but I would like to see us prioritize,” McKoy said. “If we don’t prioritize, our legislators certainly won’t do it.”

McKoy suggested a shorter list of three to five items.

“We need to target the areas with the most urgent need,” McKoy said.

Board Chairman Lew Weatherspoon agreed with McKoy, suggesting the board discuss the priorities further at the board’s next work session on Feb. 1.

The board asked Haney to present an updated list of priorities at its February meeting.

In other action, the board approved a zoning change on property where the Kipling Post Office and the Dayton Smith Photography studio now sit. The zoning was changed from a residential and agricultural district to commercial.

The site is located on Neil Smith Road, within site of heavily traveled U.S. Highway 401 northwest of Lillington.

The request was made by Dan A. and Max D. Smith, who own the site. The on site building has served the area since it opened in 1919 and was originally a retail store.

Dan Smith said he and his brother just want to obtain proper zoning.

“It has always been non residential and we would just like to get it zoned properly,” Smith said.

Harnett County Planning Director Mark Locklear said the zoning would clear the way for a small scale nonresidential use. The Harnett County Planning Board recommended the change, he added.

Tuesday’s meeting marked the first for new County Manager Brent Trout who took his office prior to the business section of the meeting with his wife Kelly holding the Bible. The oath was administered by County Attorney Dwight Snow.

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