The City of Rocky Mount is going to have two community and stakeholder meetings — one this week and the other the next week — about a proposed community land trust.

Jim Johnson and Jeanne Milliken Bonds are going to provide an overview and take questions from the audiences. Johnson and Bonds are professors at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The first meeting is going to be at 6 p.m. Thursday in the City Council chamber at City Hall. The second meeting is going to be at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Booker T. Theater along East Thomas Street.

Generally, a community land trust is a nonprofit organization that owns and manages land that homes are built on, with an individual allowed to purchase a home on one of those properties. Subsequent structural improvements to the home would belong to that respective homeowner.

The process of getting a community land trust organized locally is in the early stages.

City Policy Analyst Jayson Dawkins said in a video posted Thursday on the City of Rocky Mount’s TV 19 YouTube channel that after the community and stakeholder meetings the plan is to present organizational documents to the City Council for approval.

And Dawkins said the next step would probably be to look at developing a steering committee and pushing forward an action group to establish the foundation for the community land trust.


The City Council already has been hearing details from Johnson and Bonds and students at UNC-Chapel Hill about community land trusts, with a three-year timeline proposed to develop clusters of properties for a community land trust in Rocky Mount and to subsequently build momentum.

During the municipality’s 2021 annual retreat, which was held from April 7-9 in Asheville, online viewers learned that City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney and her team had created a draft strategic plan for affordable housing in Rocky Mount that would include a community land trust.

As part of the retreat, the council also heard a presentation from Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust Executive Director Anna Zuevskaya.

Small-Toney has since made clear she wants to allocate $3 million of more than $11.52 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the City of Rocky Mount to help launch the affordable housing strategic plan in Rocky Mount.

Small-Toney also has since made clear that of the $3 million for the proposed affordable housing strategic plan, she would suggest reserving $1 million of that amount for a community land trust.

Dawkins has told the council that the community land trust would cost approximately $261,000 the first year and would be followed by costs of roughly $1 million over a three-year period.