BURGAW, NC (WWAY) -- Pender County is looking for a new location for a jail after Burgaw commissioners last night voted down the county's request to rezone some land.
The county was under contract to purchase 34 acres along US 117 in Burgaw. Now it's back to the drawing board.
"It's not exactly too comforting knowing that while we're trying to play around with my two-year-old in the backyard, trying to raise a family that there is a jail right next to us," Burgaw resident Jake Jones.
Jones, his wife and daughter moved into Creekside subdivision just two months ago. If Burgaw commissioners had approved rezoning land for a new jail, Jones and the rest of the neighborhood under development would have had a jail right in their backyard.
Now he says he can sleep easier knowing the plans have fallen through.
"I'm excited, because I really was not looking forward to looking outside and seeing a big jail," Jones said.
Burgaw commissioner Red Robbins says to his knowledge this is the first time the town has refused Pender County anything it needed. But he says there are good reasons for this.
"Between here and St. Helena, where this particular tract lies, it is prime industrial land or residential, and it's the last tract of land between here and the Village of St. Helena that could be developed for the Town of Burgaw," Robbins said.
He says this would be a big loss for the town's tax base if they let these 34 acres go. But Pender County Planning Director Kyle Breuer says they need a new jail and fast.
"The current jail is overcrowded, and we are also currently sending inmates to other counties because we are overcrowded," Breuer said.
That, he says, is costing tax-payer dollars.
Breuer says the county is looking in to new locations for the jail, but he could not tell us where.
Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith says he does not care where the jail goes. He says he just needs a new one soon.