Orange County is moving forward to acquire 21 acres of land for a new site with a detention center and agricultural center.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at Tuesday night’s meeting to acquire 21 acres of land located in the Hillsborough Highway 70/Cornelius Street corridor for the Orange County Northern Campus site. The county is paying $394,050 for the land, according to county documents.
According to director of Asset Management Services for the county Jeff Thompson, the multi-purpose county campus will include a new detention center as well as a new environmental and agricultural center.
“This property has several advantages,” Thompson told the commissioners. “It’s of adequate size for expansion; it has available water, gravity, sewer and water accessibility; it has great proximity to the justice facility as well as transportation nodes; it has staff support amongst the tenants for these facilities, as well as Hillsborough staff support as our regulator in this development and is a single site for multiple facilities.”
Thompson said that several other sites were considered and explored but deemed unfeasible due to several issues. The news of the site location has drawn concern from neighbors in the area, including Billy Holloway who lives within 100 feet of the proposed site.
“I know during all this construction there’s going to be a lot of noise; there’s going to be vibrations,” Holloway said at the meeting.
“The vibrations, it can affect the foundation of your houses, your walls inside your houses, your wells and, I mean, all the way around it’s a big concern.”
Commissioner Mark Marcoplos said it occurred to him that construction will be the most obtrusive part of the project for neighbors.
“Seems to me our challenge moving forward is to make sure that we impact the neighborhood minimally.”
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood commented on the need for a new detention facility in Hillsborough and said the current center is aging and has structural and infrastructural issues.
The Hillsborough Planning Board unanimously voted against a recommendation to rezone the property to allow for the future county development. But the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the rezoning.
Now that the county has moved forward with the acquisition and completed evaluating the land, Thompson said they can move forward with the design phase this fall.
A press release by the county said construction is anticipated to begin early next year with a target completion date of late 2020 or early 2021.