Local News

Farmland Threatened By Wake Development

Posted July 21, 2007

— Farmers are paying a heavy price for development in Wake County, which consumes more than an acre each hour, according to the Wake County Farm Bureau.

The pace and extent of growth in Wake  makes it difficult for farmers to find open crop land, said Jackie Thompson, president of the Wake County Farm Bureau.

Around 27 acres of open land are developed daily as an average of 98 new people move into the county each day.

"Oh, it's sad, very sad," said Thompson.

Increasingly, owners selling their land to developers, sometimes for millions, instead of renting to farmers, said Thompson, a lifelong farmer who is among those growers who rent their land.

"When the developers dangle that really lucrative carrot in their eyes, it's very difficult for those people to turn that down," said Thompson.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is taking steps to balance growth and preservation of open space and farmland, said Commissioner Joe Bryan.

"I think there is clearly a major concern," said Bryan. "We desperately need to protect as much and make sure we have that balance to go along with the good quality growth."

Property owners get a tax break for land designated as farmland.

Wake County ranks among the top 15 tobacco-producing counties in the state, but Thompson said he worries that significant amount of agriculture will come close to disappearing.

"Ten years down the road, there is probably going to be very little agriculture in Wake County," said Thompson.


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  • Steve Crisp Jul 23, 2007

    But having said that, government should only have the broadest say in what goes where. For instance, residential areas should be designated as such with some wide variance in the eventual use as far as density is concerned. Existing businesses should dictate the surrounding use as well. I think of the quarry on Duraleigh Road. They were there first and the area around it shouls have been designated industrial with a commercial buffer around it prior to residential encroachment. As it is, you have homes next to a working quarry. Not very bright. Our sewage treatment plant should have gone well farther out into the county to be surrounded again by industrial use or designated farmland. As it is, it is in the middle of a residential section. Dumb planning. Why did our "leaders" allow all that high density development along Tryon Road before they widened it? And they will have to widen it again because they do not think more than 10 minutes into the future (or the next election cycle.)

  • Steve Crisp Jul 23, 2007

    Government SHOULD have some hand in planning how land is used. They should dictate what is to be R4, R10, R20, I/O, commercial, heavy industry, and so forth. Otherwise we would have a hodgepodge of varied densities and uses intermingled. It is of no particularly good to have a hazardous waste facility within a residential area as Apex recently found out. And without residential density planning, there is no way of determining primary, secondary, and feeder roads to adequately serve the population.

    The problem in Wake County is that all those use overlays were put in place, and the entire infrastructure needed to support those densities were ignored. No planning for roads and their eventual expansion. No planning for school sites. No planning for water and sewer capacity. And the lack of planning has led to other problems as wel. Progress Energy, PSNG, and AT&T pretty much play it by ear when it comes to providing utilities since they can not count on any standard model of growth.

  • Hardrock757 Jul 22, 2007

    I think you need to take a step back and reconsider your opinion. Are you really saying the government should decide what is built and where??!!! Do you not feel that is communist!!!! The private marketplace should be the exclusive determinate of how land is used. It is highly illogical to think the government should determine the outcome of land as they do not have anyway of measuring how land is to best be used. You need to think about your position! What you and others on this board are advocating is saying that you have an inherent right to determine what someone else does with their land. Do the developers tell you what kind of couch you should buy or who it should be used? I am a firm believer in property rights and it pains me to see you and other people so freely demanding say in property that you have not paid for. My farm is MY LAND, not YOURS! If you or anyone else wants a say in the outcome of MY LAND then pay me for the restrictions you put on it!

  • joco cruiser Jul 22, 2007

    If this is such a problem, there are federal laws that can protect farmland. Oops, just remembered....that only applies to federal projects.

  • ncguy Jul 22, 2007

    Leave your heritage with your land- they bought that too!
    Go on and buy a big house in a ritzy country club..

  • Nancy Jul 22, 2007

    Hardrock, I don't think anyone is saying you don't have the right to sell your farmland if that is what you wish to do.

    I believe what we're all concerned with is the unmitigated growth rate and of course, that is in part due to farmland being gobbled up by developers. There is plenty of land that is being used that is not farmland in this build out of Wake and surrounding counties.

    What my greater concern is the timing and purpose of that growth. I have yet to see a comprehensive Master Plan for Wake County that shows they have any sense of the outcome of their "on the spot" decisions to allow more development simply by builders requesting permits. Growth should be controlled and have a long range vision or plan to it. I don't see that happening at all.

  • richard2 Jul 22, 2007

    Farmland threatened by development? Really? How long has this been going on?

  • weasleyes Jul 21, 2007

    There is a Food Lion planned for Youngsville.

  • weasleyes Jul 21, 2007

    Amen, Nancy! If term limits are even going to be a reality, we will have to force it, at all levels of government.

  • Hardrock757 Jul 21, 2007

    I am VERY concerned about the government determining what is or is not "quality development". As a farmer, I can tell you we do what is best for our families. So, YES, that does mean selling our land to the highest bidder. If you environmentalist want to "protect" land then pay me a higher price than a developer. Otherwise, you should have NO say in what I do with my land!!!! If you want it then pay for it!!!!!