As population grows, some Hampstead residents push to become real town

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A rapidly growing Pender County community could become a real town if some of its residents have their way. But having more control could mean spending more money.

“As you turn around, every place you look, there’s a new development going up. New homes being built, new apartments being built.”

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Hampstead is growing.  It only takes up four percent of Pender County’s land, but makes up 27 percent of its population.

A US census report lists Pender County as North Carolina’s fourth-fastest growing county.

Now some residents think it’s time the community takes control of itself.



“This was attempted before in 2007 and it was voted down,” said Pender County State Representative Bob Muller.

In order to incorporate, 15 percent of registered voters in Hampstead would have to sign a petition. From there, a bill would be drafted, and it would be voted on by the public in 2019 or 2020.

Rep. Muller, who is working as an unbiased adviser to the committee that’s trying to incorporate Hampstead, says the town would have to provide at least four out of eight services.

“Police protection, fire protection, solid waste collection, water distribution, street maintenance, street construction, street lighting, and zoning,” listed Muller.

Residents would then pay an additional tax based on which services are provided.

“Generally, people are really for it or really against it,” said Hampstead resident Hugh Harrison.

Harrison has lived in Hampstead for eight years. He says although some services could be beneficial, he doesn’t like the idea of paying more taxes.

He just wants voters to be informed before they make a decision.

“If there’s a petition going around that ends up being in the election, people should find out what it’s all about and what the benefits and cost is going to be to them before they cast a vote for it,” said Harrison.

Rep. Muller says if incorporated, the town could decide which government positions it deems necessary.