About the Department
The primary purpose of the North Carolina/Halifax County Cooperative Extension is to provide information regarding:
- Enhancing agricultural, forest, and food systems
- Building quality communities, sustaining families
- Developing responsible youth
- Helping all citizens to interpret and use this information in building a more prosperous and satisfying life
Cooperative Extension Agents are charged with carrying out the extension education programs of North Carolina State University, AT&T, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
For more information, visit the North Carolina State University website.
Notice of Public Comments
Regarding Proposed Condemnation of Qualified Farmlands
THIS REPORT IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT FOR 10 DAYS, THROUGH THE END OF BUSINESS ON MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2019. COMMENTS MAY BE SUBMITTED TO: HALIFAX COUNTY VOLUNTARY AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT, PO BOX 37, HALIFAX, NC 27839 OR TO MICHAEL_M@CHARTER.NET. ANY QUESTIONS MAY BE DIRECTED TO (252) 583-5161.
January 17, 2019
RE: Findings and Recommendations NCDOT STIP Project R-3822
To Whom It May Concern:
A public hearing was held January 14, 2019 before the Halifax County Agricultural Advisory Board (the “Board”) regarding proposed condemnation of NCDOT Project Parcels 069 & 070 owned by Edward Lee Dickens and Lisa Dickens for the construction of NCDOT STIP Project R-3822 (WBS 37765.2.5) as these parcels are subject to a Conservation Agreement establishing a Traditional Voluntary Agricultural District between Edward Dickens and Halifax County recorded in Bk 2446, Pg. 400, Halifax Country Registry. As required by this county’s Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance, this Conservation Agreement was filed by the landowner with the Halifax County Register of Deeds on August 4, 2014 to serve public notice.
The Purpose of the Voluntary Agricultural District as defined by Article III of the Ordinance is to “promote agricultural values and the general welfare of the county and more specifically, increase identity and pride in the agricultural community and its way of life; encourage the economic and financial health of agriculture, horticulture and forestry; and increase protection from non-farm development and other negative impacts on properly managed farms.” For this reason, this Board finds the following as required by Article XII of its Ordinance:
- This proposed project is based upon a feasibility study from 1998 examining the need for a new service road parallel to I-95 connecting US 158 and NC 125. Although requested during this hearing, the Board has not been provided a copy of this study; however, it is this Board’s opinion the 20 year old study which identified the need for this project is based upon development on the east side of I-95. This creates the question as to the current relevance and need for this proposed project.
- It is also this board’s opinion that the alternative route closer to I-95 previously investigated by NCDOT and as requested by the landowner should be given further consideration by NCDOT. Construction of the proposed project as a service road along I-95, rather than through the middle of these two parcels would reduce the negative impact to the property and be much less disruptive to the agricultural activities of the District within which the proposed action is to take place.
Furthermore, it is the board’s opinion that the following points regarding this matter should also be considered:
- Construction of the NCDOT STIP Project R-3822 would be detrimental to the longevity of this landowner’s family farm. This is an active agricultural operation which should be afforded the protections provided by the property’s enrollment in the Halifax County Voluntary Agricultural District Program. This project would:
- Remove eight acres of land enrolled in the Voluntary Agricultural District from production of cotton and soybeans, a valuable part of this county’s economy, which NCDOT is offering the landowner zero compensation for production loss and loss of land
- Create concern for the safety of the farmer, his family and the general public should this project be completed through the current proposed route due to the normal, routine, and necessary farm equipment operations along the proposed route as farm equipment and farm employees would be required to cross the three lane road in order for the farmer to reach his farmland split by the proposed project
- Increase litter on the roadsides and in his fields that is detrimental to farm equipment and harvest yields and quality grades
- This farm was established in 1901 by this family and is designated as a North Carolina Century Farm recognized by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. This landowner is not interested in development of his farmland in order to preserve this valued recognition and family heritage.
In conclusion, it is this board’s recommendation that NCDOT STIP R-3822 should not proceed as currently proposed by NCDOT, and that the previously explored alternative route closer to I-95 as a service road be more strongly considered. As the landowner is not seeking to terminate this project, this Board feels it is in the best interest of the project to reconsider the current plan. This route is on the edge of the landowner’s property would create a lesser impact to the agricultural operations of this landowner, and would more closely adhere to the protections afforded by the Halifax County Voluntary Agricultural District as defined by its Ordinance.
Michael Morris, Chairman
Halifax County Agricultural Advisory Board