Opposition to a proposed site for a new Johnston County Jail continues to grow. Following a public hearing last week, members of the Selma Town Council are expected to vote next month to formally adopt a resolution opposed to the proposed location on Buffalo Road near Booker Dairy Road in Smithfield.
During a public hearing Tuesday night, four residents spoke in opposition of the jail. They included Ken Langston who lives about 1,000 feet from the site. Jason Bullock from Narron Road said he was opposed to the location. Two students from Smithfield Selma High School, Linda Rivera and Mariah Godwin, also spoke again the jail.
While the site is not in Selma, it is located between the city limits of Selma and Smithfield and officials believe it could have an indirect impact on their city.
In November, in a 4-to-3 vote, County Commissioners agreed to an option on the 68 acre site at 1860 Buffalo Road at a price of $23,000 per acre or $1,564,000 for the tract.
After hearing the comments, Mayor Cheryl Oliver asked each board member to give their thoughts on the site. All the board members spoke in opposition. Mayor Oliver questioned why the county was looking to pay a premium for the land they need to buy when they already own land it could be built on. “That’s a question they need to answer for the taxpayers.”
At the request of Councilman Mark Petersen, town staff will draft a resolution opposed to the jail site. The resolution is expected to be adopted during the February 14th meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Lacy was not present for last week’s meeting.
On Jan. 3rd, members of the Smithfield Town Council met in closed session with their attorney to discuss all the legal options they have should a rezoning request for the property come before them. As of Friday, no paperwork had been submitted to Smithfield from Johnston County Commissioners seeking the rezoning.