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Classic Ford, county strike deal on road access

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SMITHFIELD — Classic Ford of Smithfield built a new dealership 1324 N. Brightleaf Blvd. The Smithfield Town Council approved the construction permit in March 2017. Classic Ford is currently located on Booker Dairy Road. The new location is where the old Jones Brother Furniture Store once stood.

The building was finished earlier this year but, due to a conflict with Johnston County government, it’s stood empty for months.

“Over the past few weeks, the county has been working collaboratively with Classic Ford on an agreement so they will have access off of Shelter Way, which is a county-owned road,” said County Manager Rick Hester. “Shelter Way currently serves Johnston County Animal Services, the sheriff’s office fleet services facility, Johnston County 911 sign/maintenance facility and the Johnston County solid waste convenience center.”

The proposal was discussed and approved at the county Board of Commissioners’ June 3 meeting during the agenda item for county manager comment.

“We look forward to being next-door neighbors with Classic Ford, and we wish them the very best,” said Hester.

Under the terms of the agreement, Johnston County will provide Classic Ford employees and patrons permission to use Shelter Way as a secondary access point.

Classic Ford is now allowed to enlarge and make improvements to the road subject to N.C. Department of Transportation specifications and standards.

Johnston County can’t be held liable for the cost of existing or future improvements to the road, including attorney fees for any liens or nonpayment, Hester said. All future maintenance of Shelter Way is Classic Ford’s responsibility.

Classic Ford has agreed to allow “periodic parking” for the Johnston County Animal Shelter as long as it doesn’t interfere with Classic Ford inventory or business.

The animal shelter conducts mobile spay and neuter services that create traffic congestion on Shelter Way. Classic Ford agreed not to interfere with the county providing this service and to limit or reduce its use of the road during clinic hours.

Access to Classic Ford from Shelter Way is secondary and no advertisements or promotions that have the road as the car dealership’s primary access road are permitted.

The county is prohibiting car carriers, transfer trucks and delivery trucks from parking in Shelter Way’s right-of-way area for any reason.

According to the agreement, any violation of the rules will result in Classic Ford losing its license to use Shelter Way.

Classic Ford hasn’t announced a date when the dealership will relocate to its new building.