LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to waive several building, septic tank, and zoning permits to clear the path to build a retreat for severely wounded military veterans, firefighters, police officers and their caregivers.
The retreat is being constructed by the nonprofit Camp4Heroes Inc. on an 80-acre tract on Zimp Road in Fairmont. According to Capt. John A. “Woody” Woodall, president and co-founder of the nonprofit, the mission of the retreat is to “create a place of tranquility, relaxation, learning and rebuilding for life, love and respect to promote healing of visible and invisible wounds.”
“This place will serve as a refuge where our fallen warriors can get together, relax and talk about the things they have in common,” Woodall, a Raleigh firefighter for more than 28 years and chief of operations for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation, told the commissioners. “This will be a place where they can heal.”
According to Woodall, more than $500,000 has been spent to purchase the land and start constructing the retreat. All of the construction is being funded through donations, he said. Waiving the permits saves the nonprofit time and money.
Plans for the retreat include a wellness center, outdoor kitchen, combined bathroom and shower house, five cabins and five RV hookups. Activities and training at the site will include archery, skeet shooting, fishing, hunting, woodworking, culinary arts, welding, art, music and more. Eventually, Woodall hopes the retreat will be able to accommodate up to 50 people who could stay for three days to two weeks at a time depending on the type of programs and activities in which they choose to participate.
Work on the property, which includes a lake and already houses a hunting lodge, began about four months ago. Woodall said the first phase of the proposed three-phase construction project includes building a 60-foot-long pier with a gazebo over the lake, and to build a picnic shelter with picnic tables near the lake.
In other business, the commissioners on Tuesday:
— Approved a conditional-use permit request from Iron Farm Solar LLC for the establishment of a solar farm on 37.66 acres of a 108.52-acre tract in a Residential-Agricultural District of Wisharts.
— Approved a request from Sharon Buchanan that three acres in a Residential-Agricultural District in Union be rezoned Neighborhood Commercial to allow for the operation of a flea market with the eventual establishment of a coffee and sandwich shop.
— Approved a conditional-use permit request from Michael Hernandez that allows for the sale of used cars on 2.56 acres in a Residential-Agricultural District of Lumber Bridge.
— Passed a resolution honoring Dr. David Brooks, a Pembroke veterinarian.
— Passed a resolution expressing the county’s support of all law enforcement officers.
— Passed a resolution authorizing two retiring officers from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office to receive their handguns.
— Recognized Commissioner Noah Woods for being named a member of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Hall of Fame.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.