Red and white signs planted in yards around Creedmoor send a message to city leaders: "Something Stinks in Creedmoor."
Neighbors in the Granville County city are protesting a proposal to build a waste water treatment plant on Hester Road near Tar River Road. Once treated, the water would empty into the Tar River.
The city purchased the 45 acres on Hester Road about two months ago, spending about $280,000.
"People's lived here for all their lives. Got old people, young people. Some people can't even get out of their homes and I don't feel like they need this when they got somewhere else they can go with it," said Joseph White, whose property joins the site.
Right now, city commissioners are just considering the plant as an option. They could instead extend their existing waste water contract with South Granville Water and Sewer Authority (SGWSA). Water currently is treated and sent into Ledge Creek, which empties into Falls Lake.
"I don't think it will be good to nobody because anytime I've been around these places, you're going to have a little smell to it," White said.
Mayor Darryl Moss said the city is looking at the proposed new plant as an alternative because there are questions about the long-term capacity that the current setup can offer. He said from 2000 to 2010 the city's population grew by 84 percent and commissioners want to be ready for more growth in the coming years.
"We're doing our best to do our due diligence and make sure that the numbers we are looking at are correct and that we are going to do everything in our power to protect the environment. That's job number one," said Mayor Moss, who also serves on the NC Environmental Management Commission.
He said the city has not yet pursued a permit through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and there is not a timeline for a decision.
"We are taking our time. We recognize that it is a huge decision that will not only affect Creedmoor citizens, but our neighbors that are in the county as well," Mayor Moss said.
"We are working very hard to do the right thing the first time so that we don't make any mistakes."
The plant would cost $27 million to build.
Mayor Moss originally supported that idea, but has since been leaning toward sticking with the current contract.
He said the SGWSA has offered guaranteed capacity to sustain future growth and development. Mayor Moss said SGWSA has also offered to buy the city's current water and sewer infrastructure for $13.5 million. He said that could lead to a rate reduction for water and sewer customers of $20 to $25 a month.
Creedmoor has some of the highest utility rates in the state, Mayor Moss said.
As commissioners decide what to do, neighbors like White are watching closely.
"I hope they'll see where the people's expressed their opinions enough that they don't want it and we're going to fight for it not to have it here. Whatever it takes."