Wake County and Partners Preserve Zebulon Sheep Farm as Open Space

Wake County commissioners Monday agreed to use funds from the 2018 Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond to help preserve a 200-year-old working sheep farm in Zebulon.

“Wake County is growing rapidly, and that’s why protecting farmland and open space is so very important to this board,” said Commissioner Vickie Adamson. “Not only does this decision conserve this special property, but it will help protect wildlife habitat and water quality.”

The 86-acre Lazy J Ranch contains more than 3,500 feet of streams, including frontage on Little Creek and multiple tributaries. The property is mostly pasture with some wooded areas of oak-hickory forest.

The Wake Soil and Water Conservation District has certified that 99.7% of Lazy J Ranch’s soils are considered prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance.

Open Space Preservation
One goal of the 2018 Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond was to continue the county’s efforts toward open space preservation. To this end, staff put forward a Request for Proposals, asking to hear from people who were interested in preserving their property.

The owner of Lazy J Ranch through the Triangle Land Conservancy was one of the 40 landowners to answer that call, expressing interest in selling a conservation easement on the property. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values.

Wake County will partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to acquire the easement. Wake County’s contribution is $350,000, with $281,500 coming from bond funds and $68,500 from NCDOT 540 settlement funding.

Triangle Land Conservancy will hold and monitor the easement. The property is not open to the public.

Press Release