Board delays decision on horse racing track


Staff Writer

Thursday, August 9, 2018

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners decided to hold off on a decision on a proposed Unified Development Ordinance text amendment to allow a horse race track in the AR-30 zoning district and also tabled a proposed special use permit request from Fern Solar LLC for the construction of a solar energy system.

During a public hearing Monday for the horse race track, Barbara Hendricks voiced her dissatisfaction about the proposed track and urged commissioners to vote down the text amendment. Hendricks said the race track was brought to her attention by a letter because her land is adjacent to the proposed site of the race track.

Hendricks said the group looking to start the race track had one shut down in Nash County because it wasn’t in compliance with the zoning regulations, while she also said from talking to neighbors near that race track that there was some activity such as illegal betting and excessive alcohol and drug use that took place during that time.

David Styles, who is looking to bring the horse track to Edgecombe County, denied those claims when he spoke to the commissioners.

“This county has its share of problems and we don’t need to add anything or be a catalyst to detrimental behavior,” Hendricks said

Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans said the Unified Development Ordinance text amendment had earned a favorable recommendation from the Edgecombe County Planning Board. Evans added since the race track request was something the county hadn’t encountered before, the text amendment was done specifically to address horse racing and reduced the requirement from 40 acres to 10 acres.

County board Chairman Leonard Wiggins said a public hearing on the matter will again take place during the next commissioner’s meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 4.

Also on Monday, resident Calvin Anderson spoke against a proposed solar farm that he said would be adjacent to his property during a public hearing for a special use permit request from Fern Solar LLC for the construction of a solar energy system.

Anderson said he owns 27 acres of land that he bought mainly for his daughter, who is a veterinarian and who currently works in Switzerland. Anderson said the long-term goal is for her to come back to Edgecombe County and raise Arabian horses on the land. He also told commissioners that he also purchased a historical home that was built in 1851 that he spent a considerable amount of money to restore and he is currently leasing out farmland.

Anderson said the solar farm would keep him from having access to some portion of his property. 

“I ask if the commissioners to defer a decision until they get additional information about the advantage of a solar farm versus a multi-property that can provide almost equal kinds of income down the road,” Anderson said.

Because he needed a majority vote and three commissioners were absent from the meeting, a lawyer for Fern Solar asked if he could present the company’s presentation at the next meeting in September, which was granted by the board. The public hearing for the matter will also take place on Sept. 4.