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Land purchase for apartments approved

JACKSON – A plan to provide workforce housing to Northampton County teachers and local government employees is moving forward after a public hearing held here on Monday, Oct. 5.

The purpose of the public hearing, which was held remotely due to pandemic precautions, was to approve the appropriation of funding for economic development. The “economic development” in question is a 10-acre parcel of land which is meant to be used as the site for an upcoming workforce housing project.

The Northampton County Board of Commissioners proposed to purchase the property in order to provide more housing options for people moving to the county for work, particularly schoolteachers and county or state employees.

“This will be an opportunity to bring them to Northampton County instead of across the water in Roanoke Rapids,” explained Board Chair Charles Tyner.

“We have a developer who’s coming to town, who’s interested in developing this. And we plan to work with the developer to do so,” he continued.

The land is located on Highway 305 next to Central Elementary School in Jackson, and is currently owned by the Northampton County Board of Education.

According to a BOE resolution agreeing to the sale, the school board “recognizes the need for additional housing opportunities in the county, which could favorably impact teacher recruitment and retention for Northampton County Schools, and therefore determines that the property may be conveyed to the county for its fair market value.”

The purchase price for the 10-acre parcel will be $33,200.

“The source of the funding will be the county’s General Fund,” reported County Attorney Scott McKellar at the public hearing.

Tyner noted that the money used for this land purchase will be subtracted from the Board of Education’s capital outlay allocation in next year’s budget.

“Our taxpayers will not be losing anything because it’ll be subtracted from capital outlay,” he said.

No citizens submitted comments for or against the use of funds for the proposed property acquisition during the public hearing.

After the public hearing, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the funding appropriation for the land purchase. Commissioner Nicole Boone provided the motion, and Commissioner Joyce Buffaloe followed with a second.

“This is a great step for Northampton County,” said Boone. “This is something that we have been talking about for a while. It’s going to be a blessing.”

McKellar said he anticipated the sale should close within the week.