BOCC moves forward with Hillsborough location for county campus

ORANGE COUNTY (Jan. 24, 2018) -- The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved staff to continue working with the Town of Hillsborough to develop 21 acres located within the Hillsborough Highway 70/Cornelius Street corridor for a county campus. The campus would include a new Detention Center to replace the existing facility in downtown Hillsborough and a new Environment and Agricultural Center. Future additional uses for the site could include recreation areas, a park-and-ride lot and multi-use facilities.

countycampusThe site was one of four sites under consideration for the new Detention Center by the Board of County Commissioners. Staff had examined rebuilding on the existing site or locating the site adjacent to the courthouse, but neither were deemed feasible. Another site on Highway 86 North near Coleman Loop Road was considered, but the cost to extend sewer infrastructure to the site would add an estimated $700,000-$800,000 to the cost.

Staff recommended the Highway 70 site for the following reasons:

  • The location is operationally more desirable and has excellent access to the Courts campus and Interstate 85;
  • Financially feasible within the current appropriated Capital Investment Plan; Adequate water and sewer services immediately adjacent to the site (to be fully analyzed by County staff and consultants);
  • Supported by the Town of Hillsborough, although the parcels will need a future land-use and zoning amendment through a reasonable legislative process to secure the designations that will support the government services campus plan
  • More efficient detainee transportation routes;
  • No existing structures, so the site is more versatile;
  • If a campus model is adopted to include other uses, infrastructure (and related mobilization costs) could be more efficient than constructing individual projects on different timeframes and locations.

The parcels are within the Town of Hillsborough Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) and are governed by the Hillsborough Unified Development Ordinance. The lots are currently zoned residential. The county has applied for a "Suburban Office" Future Land-Use Amendment and an Economic Development District Zoning Amendment.

These designations will allow all of the contemplated uses within this government services campus to include an Orange County Detention Center, the Environment and Agriculture Center, potential recreation areas, a potential park & ride facility, and multi-use facilities and infrastructure (meeting facilities, parking, utilities, storage).

The county will notify residents within a 1,000-foot radius of the property and will host a public information session prior to the Feb. 6 BOCC Meeting.

The Town of Hillsborough will conduct a public hearing on Feb. 15, and the Planning Board will consider the application at its March 15 meeting. The Hillsborough Town Commission, which will have to approve the request, is expected to consider the proposal in either March or April.

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