5-To-1 Vote: Johnston Commissioners Reject Proposed Business Park

CLEVELAND – In a 5-to-1 vote, Johnston County Commissioners rejected plans for a proposed business park in the rapidly growing Cleveland community.

RFH Holdings, LLC of Charlotte, NC requested one large and two smaller parcels totaling approximately 52 acres in the 2900 block of Cornwallis Road be rezoning from Agricultural Residential (AR) to General Business (GB).

The applicant, Gene Singleton of Wilmington, NC said he planned to develop a Business Park, saying it would be a good fit at the location.

Johnston County GIS Screenshot

The Johnston County Planning Board had previously voted to approve the rezoning. No one spoke with any concerns.

At the March 6, 2023 County Commission meeting, Samuel Harris, an adjacent property owner spoke in favor of the Business Park, saying he thought it would be an asset.

Another neighbor, Patricia Godin, said the price of growth is development. She was concerned about the environmental impact of additional impervious surfaces that could create flooding on adjacent lands. She questioned if a business park was needed in the area and listed a number of current businesses in operation in a two-mile radius. Godin said those businesses included 38 restaurants, coffee shops, and taverns; 20 auto repair and detailing shops, 23 hair stylists and barbering shops, 12 gas stations, five grocery stores, two dollar stores, four pharmacies, two tattoo parlors, four dentist, six veteranarians, one attorney, and 19 places to do banking or use an ATM.

Commissioner Chairman Butch Lawter expressed concern the rezoning was not submitted as Conditional Rezoning. He said he was unsure about the traffic impact and wastewater request. Lawter said he thought the project would be fine but it lacked detail and all the information.

Commissioner Ted Godwin made a motion to deny the rezoning. Chairman Butch Lawter seconded. It was denied in a 5-to-1 vote. Commissioner Richard D. Braswell cast the sole vote in opposition. Commissioner April Stephens recused herself from the vote due to a potential conflict of interest.


  1. Dicky Braswell is thinking as we all should be thinking about doing what ever you want to with the property that you own? The land owner shouldn’t be weighed down with the problem of growth in this county by a case by case decision method, it should be a across the board decision that would effect every developer the same way. This developer should take the same path as the RV Park owner in Smithfield did and have the courts to clear his rightful path of doing what ever he wants to do with his property. What has caused our so-called conservative commissioners to forget thier conservative roots, it’s probably because they are so busy giving the progressive liberal WRAL thier precious time for interviews? Doc I know your still out there, agree or disagree what do you think?


  2. A landowner, in general should be able to do what they want BUT, within reason. Would I want a Planned Parenthood Headquarters or any PP office for that matter in Johnston County? If you are going to develop property, it MAY require a SUP or a rezoning that could adapt for that project being developed. Then there is the public comment period and the neighborhood meetings. People actually have a say in what comes to their neighborhoods and communities.

Comments are closed.