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UPDATE: Pitt County property owners sue over Highway 33 rezoning

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - Property owners from three subdivisions in Pitt County want a court to take action after Bill Clark Homes bought more than 60 acres of land from Umberto Fontana with plans to build a 145-lot development there.

That land is near the Moss Bend, Holly Ridge and River Crest neighborhoods.

Property owners in the three neighborhoods are seeking a court appeal for rezoning off Highway 33.

The defendants are listed as Pitt County, Bill Clark Homes and Umberto Fontana. 

Neighbors said the influx of homes will cause overcrowding, dangerous traffic and have a negative impact the nearby Tar River.

However, Lance Clark a partner at Bill Clark Homes, disagreed.

"I am not sure why there would be a negative impact to the Tar River," Clark said. "We are meeting federal, state and local storm water requirements to mitigate storm water. It has also been discussed by the plaintiffs that since the community will have a private boat ramp, that this would cause unsafe conditions due to the increase of people on the river. The river is a public resource and everyone has the right to enjoy it."

Michael Bowman, one of 19 plaintiffs, lives on Farmington Road near the Fontana property.

"If he puts that many homes in that small of space, what is that going to do to our property value?" Bowman asked. "We don't want things like that, even some of our colleagues in Mossbend, they feel the same way."

However, Clark said that the homes being built will not have any negative impact on the property values of the existing neighborhoods.

Clark also addressed the traffic concern.

He told 9 On Your Side that when the project is complete, Highway 33 would still fall within the acceptable levels of DOT traffic count standards.

"In addition, we are complying with the DOT's entire request, including widening the road for a center turn lane," Clark said.

Pitt County commissioners voted 5-2 in May to approve the request to rezone the area from rural residential to suburban.

Bowman said in seeking an appeal, he and his neighbors are hoping to block the development of the area.

"We want to keep the race track, the horse track, all the horsing operations," Bowman said.

However, Clark said that the property Bill Clark Homes is purchasing will not affect the horse track or any horses in the area.

Clark also said that the project was recommended by county staff and is in compliance with the future land use plan.

The county “respectfully declined” to comment on the matter.


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