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Land Use Plan

Simpson Land Use Plan 2008

Adopted by the Village of Simpson Council October 20, 2008

Introduction and Overview of the Plan


Planning allows a community to determine its own future by setting forth policies that allow or discourage certain kinds of development. A plan answers three basic questions: What are we like today? What do we want to be like twenty years from now? What steps can we take to move in that direction?

A land development plan is a goal-setting guide. It can outline for elected officials, private land market interests, and citizens the direction the Village is moving in terms of growth, density, land uses, and expected places where growth will be placed. This plan, a 20-year horizon guide, is not a detailed study of Simpson’s land use needs; rather, it is an examination of the most relevant land use issues which will affect the future of the Village. The plan takes into account the health, safety, convenience, efficiency of movement, and desires of the people while positively planning for the best all-around future use of the land. The plan, which may be amended, will serve as a general guide to assist officials and citizens in making future decisions affecting the use of land in Simpson and its extraterritorial jurisdiction surrounding the Village. North Carolina municipalities have at their disposal, through the North Carolina General Statutes, many tools to guide growth and make the land development plan a reality. These tools include subdivision regulations, zoning regulations, downtown districts, historical districts, floodplain ordinances, and transportation plans.

A good local land use plan is an important component in a community’s strategy to control its own destiny. The Simpson Land Use Plan is a goal-setting guide - it will outline for elected officials, business leaders and citizens where the Village is moving in terms of growth, density, land uses, and expected places where growth will occur.

Simpson is experiencing the same pressures that many small towns face. The placement of infrastructure will facilitate or encourage growth directly. Making residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural land uses occur where you want them to occur is good town management. The adopted Land Use Plan states generally where it should occur, but the Land Use Plan is not a land use control in any way - more, the Land Use Plan serves as a guide for land use.

Vision Statement


Over the last decade, communities across the nation increasingly have found it useful to initiate their plan making with a public participatory process that combines taking stock of current issues with a future visioning process. This component in the plan is designed to identify broadly held public values among its citizens, matters of concern widely agreed-upon, major assets of the community, and trends potentially impacting the future of the community. The participants in this process formulate a vision of what the community wants to become, including a vision of the future physical appearance and form of the community.

The Simpson Village Council, in December 2007, adopted a resolution requesting the assistance of the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance (DCA), Washington Regional Office, with the development of a land use plan. The Simpson Planning Board was tasked with the development of the plan. DCA met with the Simpson Planning Board in January 2008 and a public land use forum was scheduled for April 2008.

The Village of Simpson held a public forum on land use planning at the Town Hall on April 14, 2008. Many interested citizens attended and participated in a visioning exercise. From the input of participants, the following vision statement was created:

Simpson is experiencing the same pressures that many small towns face. The placement of infrastructure will facilitate or encourage growth directly. Making residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural land uses occur where you want them to occur is good town management. The adopted Land Use Plan states generally where it should occur, but the Land Use Plan is not a land use control in any way - more, the Land Use Plan serves as a guide for land use.

The Village of Simpson is a small, safe, attractive community which offers all the necessary services and amenities along with a slow-paced lifestyle, plentiful recreational opportunities and a family-oriented atmosphere that deters crime.

Information Base

Regional Setting and History

Simpson is located in the Grimesland Township, Pitt County. The Village is approximately one mile south of NC 33, at the intersection of SR 1755 and 1759 and the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.

Simpson covers 0.4 square miles (235 acres, or 10,256,198 square feet) and is located in the eastern side of Pitt County at 35°34′31″ North, 77°16′43″ West (35.575205, -77.278515).

This area is characterized by broad and flat to gently rolling uplands, dissected by swampy stream valleys. For more than 200 years, the uplands have been cultivated. Current cash crops are tobacco, corn, and soybeans. The Tar River lies two miles north of the Village of Simpson


The Village is named for John Simpson, an early settler and general in the Revolutionary War. The community grew up around the Norfolk and Southern Railroad, which was built through the area in 1911. In 1916, a post office opened and in 1918, the community was incorporated. During its early years, the town was known as Chicod. During the 1960’s, Simpson lost its municipal status. In 1975, the Village of Simpson was incorporated again by the NC General Assembly.

Population and Economy

The 2000 Census noted a population of 464 people – an increase of 6.9% from the 1990 Census. There were 189 households, 207 housing units, and 132 families residing in the Village. The population density is 186 persons per square mile.

The racial composition of the Village is 56% white and 42.5% African American. Nearly 2.8% of the Village’s population is Hispanic or Latino.

Simpson’s population is spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who are 65 years old or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females, there are 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.5 males.

Table 1. General Characters



Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

Figure 1. Population Pyramid


Source: US Census 2000

Since the Village of Simpson was not incorporated until 1975, it was not formally designated by the 1970 Census as an enumeration district, but was included in the western portion of the Grimesland Township. Estimates based on the 1970 Census gave the community a population of 383.

The model used to make the population projections is based on population trend data over the past 40 years. This model indicates Simpson’s population will increase over the next 20 years, possibly reaching 554 persons by 2030.

Figure 2. Population Trends

Source: Population projection model, NC DCA 2008

Table 2. Housing Units




Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

There are 189 households out of which 26.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% are married couples living together, 14.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% are non-families. 28.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.46 and the average family size is 3.01.


Table 3. Average Household Size

Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

The average household size in Simpson is 2.46 persons per household, a little larger than the average household size in Pitt County (2.21 persons per household). Owner-occupied households average 2.40 persons per household, compared to 2.45 persons per household for owner occupants in Pitt County. Renter-occupied households in Simpson (2.81) are substantially larger than Pitt County (1.90).

Table 4. Educational Attainment


Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

In the Village, the population's education level ranges from less than 9th grade to graduate and professional degrees. Almost 77% of the Village's population is at least a high school graduate, followed by 11% that have at least a bachelor's degree. 7% of the Village's population has a degree higher than a bachelor's degree.

Table 5. Employment Industry


Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

Almost a third of the Village's working age population is employed in educational, health, and social services, while 18.1% is employed in manufacturing. Retail trade employs 10.5% of working age people.

Table 6. Household Income


Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)

The median income for a household in the Village is $37,188, and the median income for a family is $47,500. Males have a median income of $34,464 versus $25,313 for females. The per capita income for the Village is $18,541. Over 13% of the population and 14.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 7.4% of those under the age of 18 and 32.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Table 7. Type of Housing Units

Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)


Table 8. Year Structure Built


Source: US Census 2000 (American Fact Finder)




As of April 2008, the Simpson land use planning area consisted of 3,050 acres (4.77 square miles), including the town limits and the area contained within the extraterritorial jurisdiction. The town limits contain 280 acres (.44 square miles).

An existing land use survey, conducted in January 2008, identified 2,150 parcels within the town limits and the extraterritorial jurisdiction, of which 1,825 are developed.

Current land uses in Simpson can be categorized as commercial, governmental, institutional, residential, or agricultural (undeveloped).

The following tables depict land use within Simpson's jurisdiction:


Table 9. Land Use – Properties Within Town Limits

Table 10. Land Use – Properties Within Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)

Table 11. Land Use – Properties Within Town Limits and ETJ

An analysis of properties within the town limits shows that 66% of the total area is developed and 33% of the total area is undeveloped. Outside the town limits, 45% of the total area of the planning area is undeveloped.

Map 1.  Existing Land Use

Community facilities & infrastructure


Water Service


The Village of Simpson's water supply is provided by Eastern Pines Water Corporation. In the Village, the system maintains a 200 gallon per minute well and a 100,000 gallon elevated storage tank. The entire planning jurisdiction of Simpson is located within the Eastern Pines Water Corporation's service area.


Wastewater Treatment


The Village of Simpson and the entire planning area are dependent on on-site sewage disposal systems. As development increases, the risk of septic tank failure increases, as well as the possible contamination of ground and surface waters. Also the lack of a sewage treatment plant restricts the development of multi-family housing in the Simpson area.


Electrical Service


Simpson's corporate limits and planning area are provided electrical service by Greenville Utilities Commission.




Primarily NC 33 and SR 1755 (Black Jack-Simpson Road / McDonald Street) serve transportation needs in and around the Village. There are several secondary roads that branch off of these highways that serve adjacent properties. Both major arteries are two lane roads, although NC 33 has recently undergone a widening project.

NC 33 serves 13,000 trips per day; SR 1755 (Black Jack-Simpson Road / McDonald Street) serves 5,300 trips per day. SR 1759 (Tucker Road) serves 870 trips per day.




Simpson has one park within its jurisdiction. Simpson Park is located on Telfair Street and has a baseball field, basketball court, and playground equipment.


Public Safety


Simpson is served by one full-time police officer and one part-time police officer. The Police Department has one police car. Fire protection is provided by the Simpson Rural Fire Department for the village limits and the extraterritorial jurisdiction.




Elementary school-aged children (Grades K-5) attend either Wintergreen Primary/Intermediate or G.R. Whitfield schools. Middle school-aged children (Grades 6-8) attend Hope Middle or G.R. Whitfield Middle schools. All high school-aged children (Grades 9-12) attend D.H. Conley High School.



Environmental Resources


Flood Hazard Areas


A very small portion of the southern end of the town limits is located within of the Flood Hazard area. However, a significant portion of the northern planning area is located in the 100-year floodplain, primarily because of the presence of Tar River. These areas present an obstacle to development and require mitigation techniques to avoid flood damage.

A combination of river basin physiographic, amount of precipitation, past soil moisture conditions and the degree of vegetative clearing determine the severity of a flooding event. Protecting floodplains from inappropriate development will protect lives; reduce losses from future flood hazard events, and save public dollars that would have to be spent on recovery and repair activities.




Wetlands are an essential component of the natural ecosystem of the environment. Wetland areas serve to protect water quality and are also important animal habitats. Wetland areas need to be identified and considered in land use planning to ensure these fragile environments are not destroyed by inappropriate development. Historically, farmers have cleared those areas with the best soils and those areas with less suitable hydric soils have been allowed to remain or return to tree cover.




The Coastal Plain of North Carolina is characterized by broad, flat uplands and broad, sandy drainage ways. The predominant soil associations within Pitt County are Norfolk-Goldsboro, Pocalla-Wagram-Lakeland, Rains-Lynchburg, Johnston-Chewacla-Kinston, Kalmia-Johns-Kenansville, Torhunta-Lumbee, Leon-Murville, and Leaf-Craven-Lenoir.

A soil association is a landscape that has a distinctive proportional pattern of soils normally consisting of one or more major soils and at least one minor soil. These associations are further divided into soil series. Each soil series was placed into one of several categories according to overall suitability for development.

Table 12. Soil Series Development Categories


Source: 1980 Simpson Land Use Plan

Map 2. Water and Sewer Service

Map 3. Transportation

Map 4. Soil Suitability For Septic Tanks

Map 5. Hydrology

Existing local, state, and federal policies and development management capability


Equal Housing Opportunity

It is to Simpson's advantage to promote equal housing opportunity. The Village Council should adopt a Fair Housing Resolution as a matter of policy. It is in the Village's interest to prevent housing discrimination in the suburban developments adjoining Simpson. This moderately priced housing should be available to all people in order to prevent Simpson from being isolated by the larger community.



The Village should consider a program of shared management with another municipality in Pitt County. This part-time administrator would prepare grant applications for the community and act as a liaison between the Village Council and other governmental agencies. Should the Village choose to annex and develop a sewage system, the community should be able, and will probably need, a full-time Village manager.


Citizen Participation

The Simpson community has developed a strong citizen participation as part of its community development program. The Village should continue to support citizen involvement in local affairs. Currently, many of the residents of the adjoining subdivisions do not consider themselves as members of the Simpson community. The Village should expend more effort to include these residents in citizen participation.


Assisted Housing Programs

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to construct assisted housing in the Village of Simpson if a sewage system is not constructed. Multi-family housing development using a septic tank system is virtually impractical because density is limited to around two to three units per acre. Land values are too high to acquire two to three times the land that is normally used in most small town housing developments. One alternative would be to purchase a package wastewater treatment plant for the assisted housing development, but this is also an expensive proposition.

Should a remedy to found to the wastewater disposal problem, the Village of Simpson should enter a formal agreement with the Mid East Regional Housing Authority to construct, operate, and maintain government-assisted housing on Simpson's behalf.


Community Development Block Grants

The Village of Simpson should continue to apply for these grants. The Village should review these applications with the Division of Community Assistance field representatives to determine if any program revisions could be made to improve funding chances. However, from past conversations with the Division of Community Assistance field representatives, it appears that Simpson's reasons for not getting funded include its relatively small population base and other factors concerning public housing performance and growth center designation. All of these factors make it difficult for a small community without assisted housing to have its application funded by the Community Development Block Grant program.


Development Policies

Simpson has the statutory authority to plan for growth and development, including the power to make studies, determine growth goals and objectives, prepare and adopt plans for achieving those goals and objectives, adopt ordinances, and the administrative means to implement plans.

Simpson currently has land use regulations that govern development within the town's corporate limits. Pitt County has a number of policies and regulations that govern development in the planning area around Simpson's town limits, but these county regulations do not apply to properties within the corporate limits of Simpson or its extraterritorial jurisdiction, unless the Village adopts the County's regulations through an interlocal agreement.

Planning Policies

  • Simpson Land Use Plan (1980)

  • Pitt County Hazard Mitigation Plan

  • Pitt County Capital Improvement Plan


Pitt County Subdivision Regulations

Subdivision regulations regulate the creation of new lots or separate parcels of land, usually giving standards on how new lots are laid out and what common improvements, such as roads and utilities, must be provided. The regulations require that subdivision plans be approved prior to the sale of land. Subdivision regulations are a more limited tool than zoning and only indirectly affect the type of use made of land or minimum specifications for structures.


Simpson Zoning Ordinance

The zoning ordinance regulates the types of land uses and the location of land uses inside Simpson's planning jurisdiction. The zoning ordinance is designed to promote the health,

safety, morals and the general welfare by regulating the uses of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence, recreation, public activities or other purposes except farming. An official zoning map, an important component of a zoning ordinance, depicts where certain land uses are allowed in the area inside Simpson's jurisdiction.


Building Code Ordinance

Pitt County adopted a local building code enforcement ordinance that incorporated the North Carolina State Building Code. This ordinance applies to all structures within the planning area and within Simpson's corporate limits. The ordinance provides that any revisions, amendments, or additions to the state code are automatically included in the Pitt County ordinance. In 2001, the State began using the International Building Code in lieu of the old Southern Building Code. The County enforces the building code within the unincorporated areas of the County and also has the authority to enforce the code in any municipality if requested to do so. Pitt County enforces the building code for structures located within the town limits of Simpson.


Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance

North Carolina General Statutes empower towns to regulate designated floodways for the purpose of controlling and minimizing the extent of floods by preventing obstructions which inhibit water flow and increase flood height and damage and other losses (both public and private) in flood hazard areas. The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (FDPO) regulates development within floodplains by providing for issuance of development permits for construction, and for periodic inspections to ensure compliance with the permit. The ordinance also provides the authority to issue stop work orders until problems are resolved or corrective actions have been taken, and for revocation of permits in extreme cases. Pitt County enforces the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance for Simpson's planning area.


Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance

The purpose of the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Ordinance is to regulate land-disturbing activities to control accelerated erosion of soil and loss of sediment. Controlling erosion and sedimentation reduces the loss of valuable topsoil and reduces the likelihood of water pollution and damage to watercourses. Pitt County administers the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance for Simpson.


1. Growth and Development 

Goal: Manage the physical growth and development of Simpson to preserve and protect the Village's physical character and assets. 

Objective 1:

  • Encourage future growth in areas within the town limits and adjacent to the town limits that will allow the Village to grow in a manner that preserves the quality of life and small town charm.


Implementation Strategies:

  • Use the Land Use Plan consistently as a guide in planning for new public facilities and when approving proposed private development.

  • Research annexation of properties adjacent to the current town limits that may be developed for urban purposes.

  • Adopt a Resolution of Consideration for annexation.

  • Provide regular training to the Village Council, Planning Board, and Board of Adjustment on growth management issues.


Objective 2:

  • Improve the transportation network in and around Simpson.

Implementation Strategies:

  • Lobby for the improvement of Black Jack-Simpson Road/McDonald Street to Avon Road in the Transportation Improvement Program through the local Metropolitan Planning Organization.

  • Research traffic control measures at the intersection of McDonald Street and Simpson Street. 

  • Pursue options for a connector through Simpson's western jurisdiction to NC Highway 33.

  • Continue to budget for the regular maintenance of the Village's streets.

  • Strive to make the Village more pedestrian-friendly.


2. ​Land Use

Goal: Promote an orderly and efficient land use development pattern, which allows for a variety of land uses and is sensitive to environmental and social concerns. 

Objective 1:

  • Retain the small town atmosphere and low density residential development, while providing a mix of housing options.

Implementation Strategies:

  • Continue to promote Simpson as a family-oriented community with a small town atmosphere.

  • Identify areas in the Village's jurisdiction where multi-family development may be appropriate.

  • Plan for a new park.


Objective 2:

  • Discourage undesirable or unattractive land uses, especially within high visibility areas.


Implementation Strategies:

  • Improve and maintain the appearance of major gateways (NC Highway 33 and Black Jack-Simpson Road) through appropriate regulations.

  • Research and consider landscaping requirements for new development.

  • Revisit the Village's sign regulations to determine what size and type of signs are appropriate within Simpson's jurisdiction.

  • Research conditional zoning.


3. Economic Development

Goal: Encourage commercial and industrial development that enhances job opportunities while also maintaining the desired quality of life. 

Objective 1:

  • Promote commercial and office/institutional land uses.

Implementation Strategies:

  • Designate land in the Village's jurisdiction that would be appropriate for general business activities.

  • Continue to identify areas within the Village's jurisdiction for office and institutional land uses.


Objective 2:

  • Provide a sewer system to the Village

Implementation Strategies:

  • Explore funding options for the implementation of sewer infrastructure through public contributions and grant opportunities (e.g. CDBG, NC Rural Center, GoldenLEAF Foundation).

  • Work cooperatively with the Greenville Utilities Commission and the Town of Grimesland to explore the expansion of their system in the Village's jurisdiction.


A course of policy and action commitments


Future land use


The purpose of the future land use map is to graphically display a general land use pattern that seeks to implement the land use plan goals and objectives.  The following land use categories comprise the future land use map: 

Suburban Residential (yellow)

  • Residential uses that contribute to a quiet, medium density area composed primarily of single-family and two-family dwellings, limited churches and limited recreational uses.  This category is intended to maintain the strictest control of land use within the corporate limits and in areas of the extraterritorial jurisdiction. 


Rural Residential (light green)

  • Low-density residential; agriculture; forestry; churches; very limited commercial, office, recreational or public/institutional uses.


Commercial (red)

  • Commercial uses, office and public/institutional uses, light industrial uses.


Agricultural/Natural Resources (dark green)

  • Agriculture, forestry, open space, resource conservation or critical natural areas.  Most of the land area placed within this category is classified as being within the 100-year floodplain.


Map 6.  Future Land Use Map 

Use of the land use plan

The Land Use Plan, as adopted by the Simpson Village Council and as may be amended from time to time, should serve as the primary basis upon which to make land use policy decisions.  Every land use policy decision should be measured for consistency with the goals, objectives, policies, and recommendations of the Land Use Plan.  The Village Council and Village Staff should utilize the Land Use Plan as the basic policy guide in the administration of all land development regulatory tools.  Persons involved in the land development business as well as the general public can also utilize the Land Use Plan to guide private decisions regarding land use and land development. 

The policy statements and recommendations of the Land Use Plan can also be of assistance to the Village Council in making long-range decisions regarding such matters as the provision of water and wastewater services, thoroughfare planning, water supply watershed protection planning, implementation of an economic development strategy, recreational facility planning, preparation of annexation feasibility reports, and implementation of housing and community development programs.

Procedures for amending or updating the plan


The goals, policies, and land classifications of the Land Use Plan may be amended from time to time to meet the changing needs of the Village.  The Village Council, the Village Staff, or any other person or agency should initiate an amendment to the Land Use Plan.

Procedure for reviewing and updating the plan


Planning is a continuous process and updating the Land Use Plan should be a part of that process.  The Village of Simpson should annually review the plan and should update the plan every five years. 

Consistency of the land use plan with existing land development regulations and Village policies


Following the adoption of the Land Use Plan, the Village should review its land use regulatory tools to ensure they are implementing the policies, goals, and objectives specified in the Plan. 


To achieve these goals and objectives will require major effort on the part of the Village Council, the Village Staff, and citizens in the planning area.  Existing ordinances and land use control tools and enforcement of these controls are the most efficient method of implementing the Land Use Plan.  These tools, when properly enforced, will assure implementation of the Land Use Plan. 

The issues, policy statements, and implementation strategies identified within this plan should serve as primary decision-making tools to aid the Village of Simpson in the day-to-day operation of the planning program.  Adherence to these policies will minimize arbitrary planning decisions.  Any deviation from the policies contained within this plan should be discouraged.  If deviation is necessary, the Village Council will, for the record, specify the reasons for the nature of such deviation and, if deemed necessary, amend this plan to reflect the new policy direction.