North Carolina: Rockingham County Board approves land rezoning, clearing path for potential casino

The Rockingham County Board of Commissioners, North Carolina, has unanimously approved the rezoning of 192 acres of farmland near Madison for highway commercial usage. The move came despite some local residents having expressed apprehension about the rezoning’s potential link to a forthcoming casino near the US 220 area.

Last month, it was reported that a company named “NC Development Holdings” submitted a request to rezone approximately 200 acres of land along U.S. 220 in Rockingham County from residential/agricultural to commercial.

The location is in close proximity to a recently opened casino in Danville, Virginia, situated just a mile from the North Carolina border. Registered with the Secretary of State’s office last month, NC Development Holdings is linked to Maryland-based casino developer The Cordish Companies, according to filings retrieved by WNCN

Opponents of the rezoning, including Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page and Mark Walker, former U.S. Congressman and Republican candidate for North Carolina governor, voiced their dissent. Page expressed concerns about the introduction of casinos to the region and vowed to continue advocating against them.

Camp Carefree, a nearby special needs children’s camp, also objected to the rezoning, as reported by Fox8. Ryan Joyce of Camp Carefree conveyed disappointment, suggesting that the verdict appeared to favor the applicant over the community.

Last month Senator Phil Berger, a prominent casino advocate, said that lawmakers have engaged in substantial discussions regarding the possibility of introducing a casino to Rockingham County.

Commissioner Kevin Berger, son of Phil Berger, defended the move, noting that development has been a long-standing county goal, as per Fox8. Commissioners Berger, Mark Richardson, Donald Powell, Charlie Hall, and Houston Barrow unanimously voted in favor of the property owner.

The meeting witnessed hundreds of discontented attendees, with opposition leader Doug Isley succinctly stating: “It’s not over.” Future development plans for the land will require approval from commissioners, although it’s noteworthy that casinos are not currently legal in North Carolina outside of tribal land.

The discussion around legalizing casinos in the state remains ongoing, with State Republicans evaluating whether the new state budget could facilitate such a move. A vote on the budget is anticipated in the coming month.