WTSB News has learned that Johnston County Commissioners will discuss the purchase of a new jail site as early as Monday.
Over the last several months, Johnston County officials located and have been studying a 25.3 acre tract of land on the north side of US 70 Business east of Smithfield at Yelverton Grove Road and adjacent to East Coast Equipment, a John Deere dealership. The site is also near the Central Office for Johnston County Public Schools.
The L-shaped parcel which connects US 70 with Yelverton Grove Road behind the equipment dealership is reportedly under contract with the landowner. According to GIS records the owner is Jane P Smith Trust of Goldsboro. There are two adjacent parcels, totaling 10 acres, owned by the Trust included with the purchase.
WTSB News has learned the larger 17 acre parcel is where a new Public Safety Center could be built, which would accommodate a new Johnston County Jail and possibly the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.
County Commissioners reportedly have the three tracts of land – combined that total 25.3 acres – under contract.
A portion of the property is within the ETJ of the Town of Smithfield, meaning the Smithfield Town Council will have to approve the rezoning of the property within their jurisdiction for a public safety complex.
In November 2016, Johnston County Commissioners voted 4-to-3 to purchase 68 acres at 1680 Buffalo Road, north of Booker Dairy Road, for a new jail complex. The location was immediately met with opposition from Smithfield and Selma town leaders, the Smithfield Selma Chamber and nearby residents, in part because of the proximity to three schools. The county never exercised their option on the Buffalo Road land.
A price per acre for the proposed US 70 site has not been publicly disclosed.