HILLSBOROUGH-- Orange County commissioners are facing backlash after proposing a site for the new Orange County Detention Center.
Several residents have started and signed an online petition. Resident Robert Hall opposes the site.
“We really don't care for the inmates to be here because there is a factor of safety with our young children here,” he said.
Commissioners want to build the new jail along U.S. Highway 70 outside Hillsborough. It's a few steps away from a done deal, but commissioners say it's the best option so far.
“It was close enough to the courthouse to still make the transport of inmates not a problem, and it will be close enough to Interstate 85,” said Community Relations Director Todd McGee.
The proposed $28 million facility would also include the county's environment and agricultural center. County leaders say the current jail is aging.
"And right now, we're being told by state officials that it's lacking the necessary medical, laundry and dining equipment,” said McGee.
But opponents believe the new jail could hurt the nearby farmlands.
“The parking lots will have a lot of artificial lighting and with the animals and livestocks, the artificial lighting affects their grazing habits, and it's detrimental to the health of the animals,” said Hall.
Commissioners expect to make their final decision as early as April taking into account the opposition. Hillsborough will also hold a public hearing on Thursday at the Town Barn at 7 p.m.
“We've done what we can. We brought it to their attention that there's a lot of people against it,” said Hall.