Town Of Smithfield Will Seek Legal Action Against Johnston County

UPDATE September 14, 2023
– This story has been updated. Click here for the latest article.

SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield Town Council voted Tuesday night to file legal action against the County of Johnston.  The issue involves sewer allocation from the County to the Town.

Town Manager Mike Scott said the town board held the special meeting to discuss Johnston County’s failure to approve sewer allocation to a new economic development project, Home2Suites Hotel, scheduled to be built on Towne Centre Place in Smithfield.

Mr. Scott said a sewer extension is available at the project site and sewer capacity exists in the current wastewater treatment plant operated by Johnston County.

The Town of Smithfield and Johnston County currently operate under a contract that reads in part: The County of Johnston agrees as follows:

To receive and transport wastewater from the Town of Smithfield; and from adjacent areas and environs which may be developed in the future, but which would not be served directly by the Smithfield or the West Smithfield Sanitary District wastewater systems.

Smithfield officials contend Johnston County is withholding available sewer allocation from the Smithfield Home2Suites project for the sole purpose of influencing Smithfield’s decision whether to enter into a more restrictive contract with Johnston County for sewer allocation for future development.

Tuesday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to direct Town Attorney Bob Spence Jr. to file legal action to seek relief for the Home2Suites project, and to demand that sewer allocation be approved, in accordance with the current Smithfield and Johnston County contract governing sewer allocation.

We have reached out to Johnston County Manager Rick Hester for a comment. We will update this story when we have more information.