Orange County Commissioners had a full agenda Tuesday night. As of about 9:45 they had only just finished with the budget. They were also faced with a decision about the transfer station siting process, and were still supposed to talk about asking voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase.
Several Terry Road-area residents spoke in opposition to a building project proposed by the Montessori Farm School.
Currently the school operates out of a building at Abundant Life Church in Hillsborough, and has 48 students.
But it wants to build on a narrow, 14-acre strip of land on Terry Road in northeastern Orange, and grow to as many as 120 students.
I can't find a picture online of the proposed site, but here's an approximate property line and location.
Director Lisa Wallace Tate said the school planned to have a few goats and maybe some sheep, and other livestock on a temporary basis.
About five area residents expressed concern about changing rural character, the density of the proposed school buildings and traffic. Some said the property was too narrow to support the plan, and that buildings would be too close to their land.
The residents said they supported the concept of the school, but that they didn't want it near them.
"The lot is much too narrow," said Don Bagwell, who said he lived nearby. "This does present a radical departure to this community."
Another neighbor said he was worried he wouldn't be able to safely hunt on his 21-acre parcel to the south.
Commissioner Alice Gordon had questions about the width of the property, septic plans and water supply for firefighting.
Barry Jacobs asked that the planning board consider more than just the projected number of car trips when discussing the project's traffic impact, and factor rural character into account.
The planning board will next discuss the project, and the public hearing will resume in August.
Several women addressed the board about the need for a domestic violence shelter in the county.
Hudson Fuller of the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County told the board her organization had extremely limited capacity to house women fleeing abusive situations. What options there are, she said, required them to leave the county and perhaps take their children out of school. Last year 63 women called the center for help finding somewhere to live and escape abuse.
Commissioner Mike Nelson asked the county staff to do some research and bring back an agenda item for discussion.