NASHVILLE – Nash County commissioners voted 5-2 Monday to approve the appropriation and expenditure of funds for a 145-acre piece of land the county bought nearly two years ago.
The land in question, which is located at N.C. 97, has been identified as the site for a future Sanderson Farms chicken processing plant.
Commissioner J. Wayne Outlaw and Chairman Billy Morgan voted against the motion.
Before voting, the board held a public hearing to discuss the matter. Fifteen people spoke, and all but one of them spoke against using the land for the proposed poultry processing plant. Residents who spoke during the hearing also expressed confusion about why the board was holding a public hearing nearly two years after the purchase.
Commissioners called for the public hearing earlier this month after several Nash County residents sued the county over the purchase of the land. The plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit that the county violated state law by failing to hold a public hearing or give public notice before approving the land purchase in December 2010.
Also on Monday, the board voted 4-3 to extend until Dec. 31 the amount of time the county has to convey the land in question to Sanderson Farms. The board approved an inducement agreement for Sanderson Farms last month in which the county agreed to convey the land to the company within 30 days of the effective date of the agreement. Because of the recent litigation, the county has agreed to wait to transfer the land until after a court hearing that is scheduled for Nov. 5.