Clayton wants more planning authority over land owned by one of the county’s largest employers.
The town is the driving force behind state legislation that would place a large tract owned by Novo Nordisk in Clayton’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ.
The change, if ultimately approved, would give Clayton leaders, not county commissioners, authority over future land uses on the undeveloped site.
N.C. Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Smithfield Republican, introduced the bill in late March at Clayton’s request. The House approved the measure April 27; it will now go to the Senate for consideration.
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Novo, an insulin maker, owns most of the 218 acres cited in the legislation.
Clayton already has planning authority over the existing Novo plant, located on the west side of Powhatan Road. The additional land Novo owns is on the other side of Powhatan.
Town Manager Steve Biggs said the legislation is more of a housekeeping item. By ensuring the land will be in the town’s ETJ, Clayton can continue to plan for future infrastructure needs near Novo’s plant.
The Novo Nordisk campus is inside the county’s Research and Training Zone, a special tax district where most of the county’s biomanufacturers reside.
While Novo’s inclusion in the tax district prevents the town from annexing the company’s land, Clayton can, and does, provide utilities in the area.
Biggs said the town already works with Novo and other companies to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place. The extension of the town’s ETJ to the undeveloped site will make sure that continues, he said.
“When we can count on them being a part of our system, we can do some joint planning,” Biggs said.
Representatives from Novo Nordisk did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The growth of companies in the Research and Training Zone adds jobs to Johnston’s economy and dollars to the county’s tax base. However, the no-annexation rules limits Clayton’s ability to expand its borders.
The research zone takes up much land to the east of Clayton, as does the sprawling Flowers Plantation community, which has no interest in annexation. Space is limited also to the north and south, where residential developments are either planned or built out. Clayton has long had an aversion to forcibly annexing land, preferring instead to offer town services in exchange for voluntary annexation.
This past week, the House approved a bill that would allow Clayton to create more room for itself to the west.
The legislation says Clayton can annex the state-owned Central Crops Research Station, a roughly 450-acre research farm that abuts undeveloped land.
Because the state owns the research farm, annexing it would not boost Clayton’s tax base. However, the annexation would move the town limits closer to private lands that developers might one day turn into homes and businesses. Biggs, the town manager, has said the town can’t plan for infrastructure improvements as long as the research farm stands in the way.
If Clayton wins approval to annex the land, some of its ordinances wouldn’t apply to the research farm. For instance, the farm would be exempt from a town code that regulates keeping swine, according to the bill.
Wilson’s Mills bill
The House also approved a local bill allowing Wilson’s Mills to annex more satellite areas.
The town is interested in annexing about 60 acres near the corner of Powhatan and Glen Laurel roads. The land, where a developer plans a subdivision, is not contiguous to Wilson’s Mills town boundaries.
Without the legislation, annexation would put Wilson’s Mills over the limit the state allows for satellite annexations.
The local bill, filed in March, would add Wilson’s Mills to a long list of towns whose satellite annexations can exceed 10 percent of the land within their primary corporate limits.
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104
Local bills on the table
Clayton ETJ extension: House Bill 343 would extend the Town of Clayton’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, to a large undeveloped tract owned by the biomanufacturer Novo Nordisk. The change would mean Clayton leaders, not county commissioners, would consider future land changes there.
Research farm annexation: House Bill 218 would allow the Town of Clayton to annex the roughly 450-acre Central Crops Research Station, a state-owned research farm on the west side of town.
Wilson’s Mills satellite annexation: House Bill 353 would add Wilson’s Mills to a long list of towns whose satellite annexations can exceed 10 percent of the land within their primary corporate limits.