Council votes in favor of annexation leading to 181 new homes 

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

Washington City Council voted 3-1 in favor of annexing farm land that could be the new location of a subdivision consisting of 181 homes called Maple Branch.

(Council members Bobby Roberson, William Pitt and Lou Hodges voted in favor, but Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Brooks voted against. Councilman Mike Renn was absent from the meeting.)

The property is 74.89 acres that is north of Highway 264, north of Leggett Road and west of Page Road Industrial Park. The property was under county jurisdiction until council’s vote during their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 12. The property will need to be rezoned to meet standards for residential developments.

Of the total 74.89 acres, 30 acres will be dedicated to common open space, but 4.7 acres will be reserved for green space and a recreation area.

On June 28, the planning board made a recommendation to council to approve an annexation, rezoning and site plans.

Jennifer Leggett Whitehurst spoke on behalf of her brother, and the widow of her late, second brother. They decided to sell their portion (74,89 acres) of total land once owned by her father and uncle who farmed the land starting in the 1950’s.

“We did not make this decision without considering how this sale would affect the joining property owners of which we are as well,” Whitehurst said.

Whitehurst, her brother and sister-in-law wrote restrictions that can be enforced by family members and those who inherit the land. Those restrictions are: no mobile or modular home can be built on the land; no commercial poultry, cow or pig operations can be built on the land; no mining operations can be built on the land; the land cannot be used a dumping site for trash, rubbish and debris; no noxious or offensive trade activity can be done on the land.

The land was sold to Alpha13, LLC. Whitehurst asked if the annex would affect surrounding property owners. She said she was assured by the City of Washington they would not be affected.

“I feel my family has done all that we can to protect our neighbors,” Whitehurst said.

It is her understanding that homes in Maple Branch will be comparable to or more in value to surrounding property owners’ homes. She believes the subdivision will bring much needed homes for citizens of Beaufort County and will increase the tax base for the city and county.

Bonnie Leggett Cratch is a cousin to Whitehurst. She is disappointed the land was sold so that a subdivision could possibly be built. She said in the council meeting she would have liked to have seen the land sold to a farmer so “the landscape could remain the same.”

Cratch has lived on the land since she was 11 years old. She has lived there for 67 years.

She said she has “no hard feelings” toward her family members selling their portion of the land.

She has other concerns relative to the subdivision like a lack of privacy, heavy and speeding traffic on Leggett Road, possible trespassers, and fire safety if homes are built close to each other.