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Johnston Residents Opposed To Turning Neighboring Farmland Into Festival Grounds

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — A quiet corner of Johnston County could become home to large bluegrass music festivals and crowds of campers.

Despite protests, county commissioners approved rezoning 30 acres off Sanders Road, north of Benson, in February.

The rezoning would allow the landowner to hold bluegrass music festivals -- two three-day events each year. The land sits between two subdivisions.

The farm field would be set aside for parking. Beyond it, camping space for 3,000 to 5,000 visitors at any event.

People living near the farmland said the festivals will not start without a fight.

"That's a lot of people and that's going to be some noise. You can't control that many people and keep it down, no matter how hard you try," homeowner Connie Gwinn said.

"It's too close to each of these properties," homeowner Cindy Davis said. "I've lived here for four years. I don't want to move."

Landowner Larry Langdon is also part owner of the promotion company that would produce the music festivals.

The planning board originally denied his rezoning request, but county commissioners voted in February month to override that recommendation.

"The zoning is a done deal. The permit is not a done deal," homeowner David Lentz said.

A special use permit would require proper access to the landlocked 30 acres, meaning the narrow dirt road leading to the land would have to be widened.

The adjacent land owners told commissioners they do not want the road improved for more traffic. Those complaints could spell the end of the project at a zoning meeting scheduled for Monday.


Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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