The Orange County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday for the first time since July 14, and they had plenty to talk about.
The commissioners convened for nearly four and a half hours, with the main items up for discussion being a proposal for an office park in Hillsborough and an update on the county’s response to COVID-19.
The meeting kicked off with over 25 residents speaking in opposition to the development of the Research Triangle Logistics Park, a large office park and distribution center proposed to be built on the intersection between I-40 and Old N.C. 86 in Hillsborough. The public comment section is typically limited to 20 speakers, but the Board made an exception on Tuesday due to high public interest.
The BOCC first began reviewing the application from Barrister Commercial Group, the RTLP's developer, on Aug. 5. The group referred to the project as “a coordinated, cohesive development that meets the demand and guidance for economic development at this location” in a PowerPoint presentation to the Board.
Jo Massey was one of many residents who expressed concerns that the project would have detrimental impacts on the environment, resulting in decreased water quality and noise and emissions pollution. She and others said they worried about the inability of surrounding roads to handle the increased traffic flow, particularly of large trucks, that would result from its construction.
“Build on the charm of our town, don’t kill it,” Massey said.
The next step of the review process for this project will be a public hearing, which the BOCC will hold on Sept. 15.
After the public comments, the board moved on to unanimously pass a resolution in which they commemorated the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and encouraged the U.S. Congress to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020.
They also discussed sending a letter to N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, encouraging him to support the US Postal Service and, as Chairperson Penny Rich put it, “stop the shenanigans” going on at the federal level.