Local News

Military contractor could set up Middle Eastern town in Fayetteville

Posted August 7, 2009 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated August 8, 2009 6:53 a.m. EDT

— A military contractor wants to build an imitation Middle Eastern town in Hoke County.

Reservoir International, of Fayetteville, wants to build the village for intelligence training at a site just off Highway 21 near the McCain community.

Hoke County Commissioner Jean Powell said the present zoning for the land, which is residential agricultural, must be changed before the village can legally be built.

Reservoir International, which provides advanced training and simulations for Army personnel, has asked for a highway commercial classification.

County officials are opposed to rezoning the 10-acre tract to highway commercial, saying such a zone is not conducive to plans for the area. “It’s simply not an appropriate zoning classification for that area,” Powell said.

“If you look at our zoning ordinances, anything that’s allowed in highway commercial could be put there as long as that zoning was there,” County Manager Tim Johnson said.

The commercial designation would mean any business could set up along the highway.

The Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base Regional Land Use Advisory Commission is opposed to rezoning it commercial because it wants to keep land adjoining the post undeveloped. “It is concerned that the permitted uses allowed in the Highway Commercial District could pose a potential threat to the Fort Bragg training mission,” according to a statement from RLUAC.

“The elected officials want to help Fort Bragg with their mission, but they want to do it in a way that makes sense,” Johnson said.

He said commissioners could consider a conditional use permit for the site and keep it zoned residential agricultural.

The site is located on Boundary Line Road, named because it forms the boundary of the sprawling Fort Bragg reservation.

D.J. Beal, operations manager for Reservoir, said the company wanted a site as close to the post as possible. He said as a civilian company, it could not build the training village on Army property, even though soldiers will be using the facility. Beal said the company has provided training to soldiers at sites run by the Army on Fort Bragg.

Evelyn Ellington, who lives near the site, said she has no problem with the activities that would go on there. “As long as it wasn’t a lot of noise and didn’t infringe on anything else,” she said.

County commissioners tabled a vote this week and will look at the matter again during a public hearing Sept. 7. Commissioners are looking into a conditional use permit for the site.