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Developer compensation repealed

AHOSKIE – Following a recommendation from the town’s Planning Board, a portion of Ahoskie’s Town Code with regard to financial compensation, or reimbursement, for developers of subdivisions within the town limits was repealed by the Ahoskie Town Council at their regular monthly meeting on Oct. 9.

The ordinance, Subsection 501.1 of Appendix A, provided that the town would assist a developer should that developer encounter huge costs with regards to water, sewer, and street construction.

“This is the portion of the town’s zoning ordinance about economic development that’s been there (since 2004) and has never been used,” Town Manager Kerry McDuffie told the Council during a public hearing. “We were just concerned about the cost that might come back to the town, so we wanted to get that out of the ordinance so that we’re not locked into the cost if that cost has not been productive for economic development.”

McDuffie said it might be possible that the code repeal could change at some future time, but due to the state of the town’s finances it wasn’t prudent and practical at this time.

Town Attorney W.H. ‘Buddy’ Jones reminded Council of the ordinance’s history – from Feb. 2004 – and its intent.

The regulation was created with the intent of the town to financially assist with the improvements required for the development of housing or business subdivisions of land within the town limits. The hope was that it would encourage developers to come into the town’s limits and build, thus increasing the town’s growth, as well as its tax base.

The provision provided the town to reimburse a developer 15 percent of the actual cost of utilities and street construction costs, along with engineering fees for improvements required by these subdivision regulations. Any copies of invoices the developer kept were then required to be submitted to the town for reimbursement; and the reimbursement will be provided only after the parcel of land had been improved with the construction of a primary structure.

There would have also been no limit or cap on the amount of reimbursement the town would provide under the regulations.

A developer would also have a five-year time limit for reimbursement of these costs with the time beginning with the date of approval of the final plat, or detailed map, of the subdivision.

Should the developer have desired an extension of time for submitting the invoices, it could’ve been requested simply by writing and submitting it to the Town Council.

The regulation applied to any nonresidential subdivision and to any residential subdivision with no less than five lots to be developed.

Originally, the idea to repeal the ordinance came before the Ahoskie Planning Board at their Aug. 6 meeting when it was discussed by their members. The Planning Board then voted to recommend the repeal to the full Ahoskie Town Council.

With no further discussion during the public hearing, it was motioned closed and Councilman Matt Bradley made the motion to adopt the recommendation that the compensation language be struck from the Subdivision ordinance. New Council member Roy Sharpe seconded the motion and it was passed by a unanimous vote.