Ahoskie hints at landing Super Wal Mart

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2006

AHOSKIE – After several recent voluntary annexation requests, the town limits of Ahoskie continues to grow.

During the regular monthly meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council on Tuesday morning, two annexation requests were presented for the council’s consideration. This comes on the heels of requests of annexation of five tracts of land that the council heard during the July meeting.

The first request is for a tract of 20.5 acres on the south end of town, adjacent to Wal-Mart. Indications are that this land will be the site of a newly constructed Super Wal-Mart store, with the possibility of out-parcel tenants.

The Super Wal-Mart will be a much larger version, typically around 200,000 square feet, of the existing Ahoskie Wal-Mart. The new store will also sell grocery items in addition to the general merchandise typically offered.

A tract of almost 51 acres of land is included in the second annexation request. This land is located in the southern part of the town behind Creekwood Court apartments. The initial plan for this tract of land is for the construction of a subdivision, but nothing can commence until wastewater capacity is available, which is likely at least two years from now.

Both matters were directed to Town Clerk Evelyn Howard to study the sufficiency of the requests. Once the sufficiency is verified, a public hearing will be established and will be held during the October meeting to receive public input.

The five tracts of land included in the annexation requests during the July meeting were all validated as sufficient and a hearing has been scheduled for September 5 for public input.

Those five tracts include the State Employees Credit Union, whose property borders both Academy Street and Hertford County High School Road, along with Roanoke-Chowan Hospital (Northside Behavioral Health Services and the ViQuest Center, both on the High School Road), property belonging to Joe Spicer (an industrial building located on the High School Road between ViQuest and Bearfield Primary School) and two parcels of Hertford County Public Schools property on both sides of the High School Road (Bearfield Primary School and a wooded area across the road).

Voluntary annexation by petition is allowed under North Carolina General Statute 160A-31. According to the wording of that Statute, the governing board of any municipality may annex by ordinance any area contiguous to its boundaries upon presentation to the governing board of a petition signed by the owners of all the real property located within such area.

Upon a finding that the petition meets certain requirements, the governing board shall have authority to pass an ordinance annexing the territory described in the petition.

The governing board shall have authority to make the annexing ordinance effective immediately or on any specified date within six months from the date of passage of the ordinance.

In other business from Tuesday’s meeting, the council passed a resolution establishing an occupancy tax for the town. The Ahoskie Occupancy Tax Bill (SL 2006-164) was passed by the General Assembly in Raleigh on July 25. This bill allows the town to levy a 3 percent tax on the room rentals at hotels, motels and inns in the town limits. The tax becomes effective September 5.

Concurrently, the town must establish a six-person Tourism Development Authority. Three members of the Authority will come from businesses that collect the tax and three members will individuals who promote travel and tourism in Ahoskie. All members of the Authority will be appointed by the Ahoskie Town Council.

Revenue generated from this tax will be used for the promotion of travel, tourism, and sponsor-related events and activities in the town.