Thursday, 09 August 2018 12:09

Crestview owner buys land targeted for cemetery expansion

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Sandy Showalter has opted to buy the 8 acres of land she envisioned would serve as the location for expansion of Crestview Cemetery.

Paperwork which documents the sale of the land to Showalter was expected to be filed in the Halifax County Register of Deeds Office today, she confirmed Thursday evening.

Roanoke Rapids City Council last month rejected rezoning the land and ended the opportunity for a conditional use permit hearing on the matter.

An attorney had advised Showalter it would cost around $20,000 to go through an appeals process and it would have probably taken a year before the matter was heard in court.

She said she didn’t ask the attorney whether she might have had a case against the city. “It never crossed my mind to sue the city. My mind doesn’t work that way.”

Showalter eyed the land for expansion because the main grounds of Crestview are expected to run out of lots in five years.

The purchase of the land, she said, “Gives me five years to clean up.”

It also gives her the right to put up fencing.

She also plans to put in a road like she proposed to city council the evening her rezoning request was rejected. She had learned the state Department of Transportation indicated there could be access to the site of the proposed expansion directly from Smith Church Road instead of funeral traffic having to access the site through Anna Louise Lane.

Showalter said she financed $140,000 for the purchase on a 15-year term.

“The purchase will give me the time I need to get the land cleared and fence up so that people could see there will be a pretty cemetery across the street,” she said. “I have a vision for it, maybe this will help. I still have to wait for planning board and city council approval. If I still can’t get the approval for the cemetery expansion I could close the existing cemetery and no more plots would be sold to people who want to bury their children there and I can sell the property I just purchased and the land will already be cleared and developed for something else for whatever the city deems appropriate.”

She said she would still have to go back to the city once she is ready to begin the expansion for the rezoning of the land as well as a conditional use permit.

Roanoke Rapids Planning and Development Director Kelly Lasky confirmed Showalter would have to go through the rezoning and conditional use permit process again once she decides she is ready to start expansion.

For the meantime, Showalter said, “I can start cleaning up and put up a fence.”

At the time of the July 10 council meeting where the rezoning was rejected the property had been listed for 2,335 days with no offers made.

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