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Tuesday May 24th

BOCC considers development opposed by residents and a resolution about marijuana

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Decriminalization of marijuana and a proposed development located south of Interstate 40 and west of Old N.C. 86 were on the agenda during Tuesday’s Board of Orange County Commissioners meeting.

Research Triangle Logistics Park Development

Tuesday's meeting was the first day of public hearing regarding the proposed Research Triangle Logistics Park.

Proposed by Kentucky-based Barrister Commercial Group, RTLP would encompass 161 acres, and consist of more than 2 million square feet of warehouse fulfillment, industrial research and other service space.

Developer Terra Equity Inc. said the $150 million project could generate between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs for Orange County.

The proposed development has faced heavy criticism from Hillsborough residents concerned about the development’s impact on light, noise and air pollution, as well as nearby traffic patterns.

Commissioners Earl McKee and Mark Dorosin both raised concerns about a traffic study showing a large percent of large trucks leaving the facility would exit onto Davis Road, a rural residential street.

“I think what we want to do is find a way to not have all the trucks going out on Davis Road,” Dorosin said.

Developers conducted an environmental assessment, but did not include an environmental impact statement with the proposal.

Michael Birch, a land use and zoning attorney, said RTLP has not yet identified a tenant for the project.

More than 80 Orange County residents signed up to speak during the public hearing regarding the development with the majority of residents opposing the project. 

“It is our neighbors beyond the church and along (Old N.C.) 86 that will share that disruption” Jay Kennett, pastor at Hillsborough United Church of Christ said. “It is a living community.” 

The BOCC voted to recess the meeting after about 40 speakers and will continue the meeting for the RTLP project Sept. 22.

A final vote on the RTLP master plan and conditional zoning request may take place as early as Oct. 6.

Decriminalization of Marijuana Resolution

The resolution supporting the decriminalization of marijuana in Orange County passed 6-1 Tuesday.

“This is not a resolution to encourage people to start smoking marijuana, this is a social justice and racial issue,” Rich said. 

Only McKee voted against the resolution because he said the resolution may lead to legalization and taxation of marijuana as well as mitigation of its effects.

The resolution is a statement of support directed at the N.C. General Assembly for the decriminalization of marijuana at the state and federal level. 

It supports legalizing the distribution, sale and use of marijuana. Additionally, it advises N.C legislators expunge records for individuals previously convicted of crimes for possession, distribution and use of marijuana.

“The current prohibition of marijuana in North Carolina has caused the needless arrest and incarceration of thousands of individuals, predominantly people of color, for nonviolent crimes, at great social and economic cost despite the fact that people of color and whites use marijuana at the same rates,” the resolution states.

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