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Report Suggests Capping Home Construction in Johnston Co.

Posted January 4, 2007

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— A committee studying growth has put one of the biggest potential bombshells for any booming community in the laps of the Johnston County Commissioners—a proposal to limit residential growth.

Johnston's population has doubled in the past 15 years.

In a detailed report on the challenges of balancing county services with the swelling population, the county's growth management committee has recommended a cap that would limit the number of new homes built outside town limits to an average of one for every two acres of land.

"If we don't start working together and communicating, we're going to fall further and further behind on these needs for the county," said Johnston County Commissioner Allen Mims, who chairs the growth management committee.

Local developers argue that a cap would send the wrong message and put more burdens on taxpayers.

"When a government says, 'Well, you've got to do it this way,' and it gets much more narrow, that feels like that limits choices," said Michael Mangum, chief marketing officer for Fred Smith Co., one of Johnston County's larger developers.

"This is not an efficient way to develop, because it ultimately raises the costs of all of us taxpayers," Mangum said.

The proposal suggests that developers that want to build higher-density subdivisions could apply for special-use permits. They would be required to prove that they would help provide a balance of services, such as schools and roads.

"If they want to continue to grow and build the way they do, then they need to chip in," Mims said.

Johnston County will hold two public hearings on the issue on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30.
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  • scrapbookqueen2 Jan 4, 2007

    I've lived in Johnston county for 12 years and watched it grow to a small city in the 40/42 area. Growth can be two-fold but with growth developers such as The Fred Smith Co and Son-lan Development need to agree to build recreational facilities that are open to the public without a membership charge to parks and pools. I will applaud the Fred Smith Co for offering facilities to their home owners but other subdivisions do not have access that have been in the county many years prior to these developments unless a memebership due is paid. What happens to the low income families in this rural area that deserve to offer their children parks and recreational facilities. Are developers willing to pay 501(C) organizations in the county to maintain and grow recreational facilities? If the answer is yes then I support a closely monitored development of residential homes. The county needs to consider the schools and commercial growth to support the houses in the community.