History and sweet rolls: Farmington property rezoned for business

Published 9:50 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

The historic Johnson house in Farmington is getting a new chance at life.

And members of the community will be able to see that new life as Laura Mathis transforms the property off Farmington Road not far from NC 801 into a space for her growing bakery, gardening and herb business.

County commissioners last week unanimously approved rezoning 2.57 acres along 1832 Farmington Road to neighborhood business quality design overlay. That district was drawn from a more inclusive highway business designation, meant for businesses on a smaller scale and low intensity.

“The Johnson house is linked to the foundation of Farmington, and most of the family lives out of state,” Mathis said, adding that she learned about the property from George Johnson, who died recently at age 103.

Mathis has been operating her in-home bakery next door.

“We’ve outgrown the space and are in need of a retail location,” she said. “I love Farmington. I feel like this house needs to be shared with our community.”

Mathis has already received a lot of positive comments, and has started the Vada Johnson Educational Garden on the site, where she is teaching 4-Hers about history and gardening. Vada Johnson taught school in Farmington for some 50 years.

Commissioner Benita Finney praised Mathis not only for her small business, but for promoting agriculture and helping to preserve history. “We need to help our small businesses prosper.”

Commissioner Terry Renegar called George Johnson “a national treasure … like talking to a history book.”