Local News

New York Realtor, Edgecombe Residents At Odds Over Farmland

Posted July 15, 2005 8:48 a.m. EDT

— There is a heated debate over farmland in Edgecombe County.

New York realtor Leo Smith, who grew up in Rocky Mount, plans to buy a farm. He wants to build a small landing strip, helicopter landing pad and a small horse track in the area.

Smith said he wants to help make Edgecombe County more marketable for people looking to move from the north.

"I'm just trying to bring something back to this area," Smith said.

Many neighbors oppose the idea, saying they do not want the noise or congestion.

"We totally disagree with that coming into our community," said Barbara Horne, who lives across from the land Smith wants to buy.

The Board of Adjustment recently denied Smith's request because they said the plans could interfere with a nearby industrial park. Members also cited zoning restrictions and safety concerns.

Smith said he wants to meet with neighbors to discuss his plan and try to reach a compromise. The county may consider a small horse track if Smith removes the landing strip.