Properties rezoned for farming

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, July 25, 2012

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday agreed to rezone two Franklin-area properties so owner Lawrence Brown can take advantage of a discount real estate tax program.

The parcels include 25 acres on Brook Road west of Pretlow Road and 36 acres south of Schoolhouse Road and west of Smith’s Ferry Road.

The Brook Road property some time back had been rezoned to commercial for a warehouse that never materialized. The land is next to Cypress Cove Industrial Park.

The property off Schoolhouse Road had been rezoned for industrial use for operating a sandpit. The sandpit closed 20 years ago and the land is now being used for farming. Brown also built a home on the property and the sandpit is a lake.

Southampton is one of 74 counties among the state’s 95 that offers the discounted land-use tax. Farmland of more than five acres and forestland of more than 20 acres qualify.

More than 2,300 properties are enrolled. A property qualifies as either farmland, open space or timberlands.

Under the program, the owner of a 249-acre farm with cropland pays $1,167. Without the program, that same farmer would pay $4,669.