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Nashville says no to Ag Districts
The Town of Nashville has opted not to participate in the county’s Voluntary Agricultural District program.

Charlie Tyson, Nash County Extension Director, has made rounds to each municipality in the county asking that they establish voluntary agricultural districts within their town limits. Nash County voted last year to establish Voluntary Agricultural Districts. The purpose of the Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance is to promote agricultural values and the general welfare of the county. Having the ordinance also increases protection from non-farm development and other negative impacts on properly managed farms.

Tyson made a presentation on Ag Districts to Nashville’s Town Council in February. However, the board said they wanted study the issue further before making a decision.

At the board’s meeting on April 6, council members unanimously voted not to participate. Planning Director Gene Foxworth said staff felt there would be no benefit from the town in participating.

“It is staff’s recommendation that we do not participate in this,” Foxworth said. “We don’t see a lot of benefit from a municipal standpoint. We do see from an agricultural, rural standpoint how it would be beneficial.”

Foxworth said the town currently has an agriculture district in its zoning ordinance where agriculture is the primary use. Foxworth said he wouldn’t want to recommend anything that would hinder the town’s development.

“So in effect we got whatever a farmer needs to protect its land plus protect the Town of Nashville,” Councilman Charles Taylor said.

So far, Nashville is the only town that has voted not to participate. Tyson said the only other towns still considering the issue are Spring Hope, Whitakers and the City of Rocky Mount.

“At this point Bailey, Castalia, Dortches, Middlesex, Momeyer and Red Oak have all chosen to honor Agriculture District status for owners of farm land and forest land within their present and future town limits,” Tyson said. “Municipalities do this by simply signing an “Agriculture District Memorandum of Understanding” with Nash County.”

Tyson said he has already visited with Spring Hope and Whitakers Town Boards as well as Spring Hope’s Planning Board and hopes to be able to formally present the item to the Rocky Mount City Council soon.

Tyson said he was disappointed Nashville decided not to participate. He continued to say he was told by Mayor Donald Street the board made its decision because they felt Nashville was already protecting agricultural interests.

“I am disappointed the Town of Nashville has chosen not to recognize agriculture district status for landowners,” Tyson said.

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