PENDER COUNTY -- Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday night to discuss the future of Hampstead. The packed house debated whether the community should incorporate. The village of Hampstead wants to become an official town. Tuesday night leaders and residents met to get the process rolling. Is Hampstead a rural community or urban sprawl in the making? That's what the incorporation debate comes down to. The members of "Join our Town" say the area has grown rapidly in recent years, especially along Highway 17. And residents say there has been little regulation or input from the people living there. Hampstead resident Allen Warwick said, "My initial thought is we need to do something to saddle that growth." Incorporating to town status would allow locals to control zoning laws and regulate construction in the area. But residents continue to argue, saying unincorporated Pender County is fine just the way it is. Residents spent months collecting signatures for a petition that will be sent to the North Carolina legislative commission on incorporation. You can expect to hear a great deal more as the Hampstead area wrestles with its future.
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