Town Board Approves 110-Lot Subdivision But Denies Water Service

Subdivision Residents Will Benefit With More Affordable County Water Rates

In a surprise move, members of the Smithfield Town Council have approved a 110-lot subdivision but stipulated the developer could not connect onto Town of Smithfield water service.

The new subdivision will be located at the intersection of Cleveland Road and Swift Creek Road outside the Smithfield city limits but within the ETJ and town planning jurisdiction.

Last Investments LLC was scheduled to appear before the council in November for a preliminary subdivision plat approval but postponed the request until December to work out an 18 foot access easement to an old private cemetery that is situated near the rear property line of the proposed development.

Developer Scott Lee said he was concerned about maintenance on the required 18 foot easement to the cemetery. He asked council members if someone damages the easement who will pay for repairs.  “Who is going to maintain it?”   Lee added it was unlikely the Homeowners Association would want the burden or liability of maintaining the easement.

Attention then turned to utility services for the 97.5 acre parcel, with lots ranging from 0.46 to 1.72 acres.  The minimum lot in Smithfield’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is 0.46 acres.

Duke Energy will provide electricity and each home will have on-site septic systems.

The applicant had requested Town of Smithfield water service but after learning the developer would not be requesting annexation into the town limits Councilman David Barbour said, “I’m not in favor of giving our riches to someone else.”   Barbour said he was in favor of approving the application but since they didn’t want to be a part of Smithfield they should request their water from the County of Johnston.  Barbour said the town should save water for people who live in town.

“We have the right of first refusal,” Mayor Andy Moore told Lee.  “You are not required to be annexed,” Moore added.  Lee did not respond to Councilman Barbour or Mayor Moore’s statements.

The council unanimously approved the 110-lot subdivision after placing 9 stipulations on the preliminary plat request including on-site septic systems, the elimination of two lots less than 0.46 acres, submit HOA documents for review by the town attorney, submit a lighting plan,  phasing plan, obtain NC DOT permits or access to Swift Creek Road, provide legal proof of the 18 foot cemetery easement access, provide an emergency entrance onto Swift Creek Road with a crash gate for emergency vehicles, and no town water.

Afterwards, Lee told the council he had no problems obtaining water from the County.

In fact, residents in the new subdivision should benefit from the Town of Smithfield’s denial of water service. Johnston County charges a base water rate of $16 per month plus $3.45 per 1,000 gallons. The Town of Smithfield’s out-of-town rate would have been higher at a base rate of $18.23 per month and $8.31 per 1,000 gallons, a 63 percent cost savings for an average housing using 3,000 gallons of water per month ($43.16 versus $26.35).