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Posted on: March 24, 2020

Orange County Government transitions into Phase 1 of reopening plan

Image of historic Orange County Courthouse

As Orange County transitions into Phase 1 of Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to reopen North Carolina, most county buildings remain closed to the public, but many county departments are increasing access to services or accepting appointments. The county continues to urge residents to remain at home if possible during this COVID-19 outbreak. Any residents who need to transact business with Orange County Government are asked to use our available online services or the telephone.

Below is a list of which departments are offering limited functionality during this time, either over the phone or via the website. If it is an urgent or emergency situation, staff will respond appropriately. Some offices offer in-person appointments, but residents must call before visiting the office to arrange an appointment.

This page will be updated as more departments expand services.

Aging

Aging has implemented COVID-19 Resources for Seniors page for new or modified Programs, Services and Resources designed to support older adults during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. New activities, classes and community support services are continually added. Department on Aging staff are available to meet by phone, email or “virtual” appointment. For more information or assistance, please contact the Passmore Center: 919-245-2015, Seymour Center: 919-968-2070, or the Aging Helpline at 919-968-2087.

Animal Services

The Animal Shelter is closed to the public, but some services, including adoptions, are available via appointments. Call 919-942-7387, and follow the prompts that best fit your needs. Please note the following changes:

  • In shelter operations, Meet and Greets will be available by appointment only for a single pet identified online at: https://www.orangecountync.gov/287/Available-Pets.
  • Animal Control field services will limit response to public nuisance complaints. Specifically, we will respond only if: 1) we can do so by phone; 2) the complaint is about a chronic issue; and 3) there is a dog at large.
  • Spay and neuter operations will be suspended in order to conserve personal protective equipment and medical resources. Adopters will be provided a spay and neuter voucher to be used when we resume operations.
  • Owner surrenders or bringing stray animals to shelter: We are currently asking that public delay surrenders if at all possible. Please call to make an appointment for bringing any animal to the shelter: 919-942-7387, option 2. After-hours night drop is open and being checked daily.
  • Reporting lost & found pets: Visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/295/Lost-Found or call 919-942-7387, option 2, if you need help filing a report.
  • Licensing: Visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/343/Licensing for details and instructions.
  • Donations: Visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/364/Donations for details and instructions.

Child Support Services

Staff will be available by phone (919-245-2175) or email. The State’s automated system can be reached at 800-992-9457. Additionally, the echildsupport portal (https://www.ncchildsupport.com/ecoa/) can be used for the following:

  • Apply Online for Child Support Services
  • Case Information
  • Payment Information
  • Pay Child Support

Criminal Justice Resources Department

  • Referral forms and information available on the CJRD website: www.orangecountync.gov/432/Criminal-Justice-Resource-Department
  • Pretrial Services – Will continue to complete intakes at Jail and provide recommendations for release for stakeholders for daily first appearances or bond motions. Call Ted Dorsi (919-245-2970) or Cait Fenhagen (919-245-2303) or cell (919-423-4272).
  • Treatment Courts – Will not have court sessions currently, but Coordinator and Case Manager still working with participants and ensuring support and accountability. Call Sean O’Hare (919-886-8855) or Andrea McSwain (910-918-8597).
  • Adult and Youth Behavioral Health Services – Allison Zirkel (919-245-2304) and Nancy Lappenbusch (919-245-2311) will continue to coordinate mental health and substance use services and referrals for in-custody population primarily and will continue to provide case management and therapeutic support for court-involved individuals who have been released. They will work remotely and only in court, office or Jail as needed.
  • Pre-Arrest Diversion – Desmond Frierson (919-245-2312) will be working remotely but still accepting referrals and completing intakes by phone.
  • Local Reentry Council – Our Coordinator and Case Manager will be working primarily remotely but still accepting referrals and supporting and providing case management and resources for LRC clients. Keith Patterson (919-245-2064) or Tiffany Bullard (984-439-5998).
  • Restoration Legal Counsel – Emma Ferriola-Bruckenstein (919-451-0281) will work remotely and will still accept referrals and complete intakes and prepare motions and orders remotely.

DEAPR

  • Park staff are working at the currently-open “low-impact” County park sites. These include Little River Park, Hollow Rock Nature Park, Blackwood Farm Park (Thurs-Sun), River Park and Seven Mile Creek Natural Area.
  • Environment and Agricultural Center staff is available by phone (919-245-2510) or email.
  • Central Recreation Center recreation staff are available by phone (919-245-2660) or email.
  • Registration for summer recreation programs is available by phone (919-245-2660) or online: server4.orangecountync.gov/wbwsc/Webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR
  • Picnic shelter or park facility reservations (after May 24, subject to future changes) are available via phone (919-245-2660) or online server4.orangecountync.gov/wbwsc/Webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=FR

DSS

Although DSS offices are open in both Hillsborough and Chapel Hill, individuals can receive most services online or by telephone. Please call (919) 245-2800 before coming to the offices to see if there are other ways to apply for services.

Applications for Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services can be completed online at epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do.

For assistance with completing applications for DSS programs, call 919-245-2800. Orange Works employment center is accepting appointments only. Please call 919-245-2800 and ask for employment services. Access to the computer resource rooms is limited and available by appointment by calling 919-245-2871.

Economic Development

Orange County Economic Development staff is available by phone and e-mail to assist with all economic development inquiries. Call (919) 245-2325 to leave a message, or send an e-mail to edcmail@orangecountync.gov with questions. The department’s main web site is www.growinorangenc.com and information about the County’s Agriculture Economic Development Grant Program and the Small Business Investment Grant Program, to include all applications and guidelines, can be found at http://growinorangenc.com/news/financial-services-and-resources/.

Elections

Effective immediately, the Orange County Board of Elections will suspend in-person services offered to the public. Staff continues to work and can be reached by telephone at 919-245-2350 and email at vote@orangecountync.gov, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – Noon and 1-5 p.m.

The public is encouraged to utilize our website to access voter registration forms and information at https://www.orangecountync.gov/1102/Voter-Registration and absentee ballot request information and forms at https://www.orangecountync.gov/1104/Absentee-Voting-By-Mail. These forms can be mailed to PO Box 220, Hillsborough, 27278 or dropped off at our office at 208 S. Cameron St, Hillsborough, 27278. Our foyer is open during business hours and forms may be obtained and/or placed in a secure drop box.

Erosion Control/Stormwater Functions & Services

Staff will primarily work in the field with social distancing protocol. They may stop in the office if non-digital plans are not available. The division will be closed to walk in traffic. If a meeting or a question is requested or posed, please email or call.

  • Plan Review: By electronic submittal at our drop off site (131 West Margaret Lane, Hillsborough West Campus Office Building 1st floor lobby)
  • Check Submittal: Secure Drop Box; Same location as above. Provide email so a scanned receipt can be sent via email. If personal and physical receipt is necessary, please make an appointment.
  • Permits: After plan review is complete, permit acknowledgement will be received via email and permit received at Preconstruction meeting.
  • Preconstruction Meeting: The Preconstruction Meeting will be held in the field employing social distancing precautions.
  • Inspections: Inspections will be conducted as needed. Instructions regarding field conditions or activities will be sent via email, as well as, any required reports from 3rd party inspectors.
  • Communications: Please use the numbers or emails listed below.

Office Numbers

*These numbers will be forwarded to their mobile numbers.

Health

In order to protect everyone’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange County Health Department is no longer accepting walk-in appointments. However we are offering telehealth appointments to meet your immediate medical needs. If you need medical attention please call 919-245-2400 to schedule a telehealth appointment. Please do not walk into the clinic to request an appointment. If you are having a medical emergency, as always, call 911.

Below are the hours for the Health Clinic at Whitted Human Services Center in Hillsborough.

  • Mondays: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. telehealth and by appointment only
  • Tuesdays: 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. telehealth and by appointment only
  • Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. telehealth and by appointment only
  • Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. telehealth and by appointment only
  • Friday: 8 a.m. -Noon telehealth and by appointment only

Below are the hours for the health clinic at Southern Human Services Building in Chapel Hill:

  • Mondays: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment only
  • Tuesdays: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. telehealth by appointment only
  • Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment only
  • Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. by appointment only
  • Friday: 8 a.m. - Noon telehealth by appointment only

Dental Clinic at Whitted Human Services Center in Hillsborough

The Orange County Health Department Dental Clinic is open for emergency appointments only. Due to current restrictions on patient and staff numbers, we are unable to accept walk-in appointments. Please call to schedule an appointment if you are having a dental emergency. Phones are checked every day and your call will be returned within 24 hours.

We have new protocols in place to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff, but unfortunately we are unable to do many procedures at this time due to a low number of masks, gowns and other protective measures. Please bear with us as we work to get our clinic back to normal operations. The health of our patients and staff is our number one priority and we look forward to reopening for all services as soon as we can.

Orange County Environmental Health is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and closed for lunch from 1-2 p.m. A face covering is required for in-person business in the lobby of the West Campus Office Building. Visitors and community clients may contact Environmental Health during business hours at 919-245-2360. Applications may be submitted in person, by mail, or by email. Payment is accepted as cash, check, or card in person; as check by mail; and with card by phone. Phone and email transactions are preferred.

A list of contacts and access to the customer service portal (NCPIP) are available at www.orangecountync.gov/641.

For free cessation services and nicotine replacement therapy; call the SmokeFreeOC line at 919-245-2480 or email smokefreeoc@orangecountync.gov

Housing and Community Development

All Housing & Community Development programs will remain available via phone and Internet.

Human Resources 

Please call our main number at 919-245-2550 for information before visiting the office. Limited services are available.

Human Rights and Relations

If you experience discrimination in housing because of the COVID-19 pandemic or for other reason, please contact the Orange County Department of Human Rights and Relations at:

Inspections

  • Office Hours: The office is closed to the general public. Staff will be primarily working at home and in the field from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If making your permit payments call (919) 245-2600 to pay with credit card.
  • Meetings: Meeting are avoided. Correspondence and communication will be occurring by phone or email.
  • Plan Review: Residential reviews are performed electronically by reviewer working from home. Commercial projects are reviewed in office by Chief Building Official, one physical set of plan documents are needed for review.
  • Fee Payment: Payment by credit card will be processed by phone only. Cash payments cannot be accepted at this time, Checks are discouraged, please make all payments by credit card.
  • Check Submittal: Payment of cash, credit card and checks are processed in office. Customers are encouraged to pay by credit card over the phone. In person payments are to be scheduled.
  • Permits: Submission and processing of permit documents are through electronic and remote means. Submission of large format plan documents are to be coordinated with plans examiner or property development specialist.
  • Preconstruction Meeting: Not being scheduled until after this crisis abates.
  • Inspections: Request for inspections are taken with call to: (919) 245-2600. Please identify when scheduling if inspection is to be performed in an occupied building. Inspectors are working remotely from home and vehicles. All inspections are scheduled for the next business day. Coordinate any specific inspection need with the inspector himself.

Communications

Please use the numbers or emails listed below.ralcorn@orangecountync.gov

*These numbers are forwarded to their mobile numbers.

**These emails receive application and document submissions

Statutorily required

  • General Statute 143-139 mandates code enforcement inspections be performed within 2 business days of being requested.
  • General Statute 153A-357(a1) requires Residential plans to be initially reviewed within 15 days of submission.

Libraries 

The libraries in Hillsborough and Carrboro and their book drops remain closed. Due dates for all materials have been extended to Monday, June 15. No fines or fees will be accrued. Please make use of the following services while our buildings are closed:

  • Temporary Library Card: Call 919.245.2525, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or use our Online Form to gain access to all of our online services.
  • Virtual Branch:. Visit the virtual branch to find out about our online program offerings, how to check out eBooks and audiobooks, free access to Ancestry.com and more. 
  • Online Catalog: Use our catalog to: create reading lists; keep track of what you’ve already read; and, search Novelist to find your next good read.
  • Reference Questions: 919.245.2525, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Follow us on social media: Twitter. Instagram. Facebook.

OCPT

OCPT will continue to operate the Hillsborough Circulator from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily effective April 1. Transportation to medical appointments will be provided by appointment only. These services will be provided fare-free until further notice.

For medical appointments, reservations are required. Non-Medicaid Trips: Call Reservation Line 919-245-2004. Medicaid Trips: Call Orange County Department of Social Service Voicemail 919-245-2774 or Fax 919-732-2137.

Orange County/Chapel Hill Visitor’s Center

The building is closed, but staff is available to assist with visitor inquiries. Call 919-245-4320, Monday through Friday, or email at info@visitchapelhill.org with questions. 

Planning

Office hours
Current Planning offices shall be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily for the receipt of applications and handling of previously scheduled appointments.  Until further notice, members of the general public needing to see a planner will need to schedule an appointment to do so.

Planning staff can be reached at the following:

Meetings:  Meeting(s) shall occur by appointment during revised operating hours listed above.  Please note staff will observe appropriate social distancing requirements and maintain six feet separation at all times.

Plan Review:  Applications for development projects shall be accepted:

  • Electronically via e-mail
  • By Mail sent to:
    •  Orange County Planning
    • ATTN: Current Planning Division
    • PO Box 8181
    • Hillsborough, NC 27278
  • Dropped off in person during the revised operating hours listed above.

Submittal of Fees: Fees can be submitted with the application (mail and in person). Those applicant’s needed to pay using a credit card shall be contacted by staff to process a payment over the phone.

PermitsPermits shall be processed as quickly as possible. Please note deficiencies in the application submittal will impact staff’s ability to process the development request.

Inspections: Inspections shall be completed either on a first come basis or via appointment. If staff is required to meet applicants in the field, appropriate social distancing policies shall be adhered to.

Communications:  Current Planning staff can be reached at the e-mail addresses and phone numbers listed above.

Recycling/Solid Waste

Solid Waste Administrative Offices will be closed to the public until further notice. 

Curbside collection of 18 gallon orange recycling bins is suspended until further notice. This is being done to minimize collectors’ contact with household recyclables. Residents who wish to start using a blue roll cart instead of a bin can call 919-968-2788 or send an email to recycling@orangecountync.gov to request a 95 gallon cart.

If you wish to continue using your bins, you may recycle at any of the five Waste and Recycling Centers during operating hours or any of the four unstaffed recycling-only sites open 24/7 (www.orangecountync/recycling  for locations). Residents are encouraged to limit their use of the Waste and Recycling Centers to one time each week to support social distancing and the safety of the staff and other residents using the sites. In addition, residents should remain in their vehicles until the receptacle needed is free so as to allow residents to maintain six feet distance from others.

Curbside Recycling will be collected as usual. AS ALWAYS: Keep out any tissues, paper toweling, bagged materials or other contaminants.

Register of Deeds

Register of Deeds services are available via appointment only. Please see the list below for specific services. If you need something else, please call 919-245-2685.

  • Attorneys are urged to utilize our Electronic Recording System Simplifile.com or call 800-460-5657.
  • Marriage License: Complete the online marriage application then call 919-245-2700 to schedule an appointment. Applicants only allowed in the office.
  • Notaries that need to take their oath: 919-245-2685.
  • Veterans needing to record their discharge papers: 919-245-2700.
  • Attorneys, paralegals, etc., may mail in their documents or use the drop box located at the front of the building, this includes Assumed Business Name filings. Please read instructions located on the drop box before you place your document inside.
  • If you have a Plat or documents requiring a Split, Merge, or multiple PIN sheet please call 919-245-2685.

Soil & Water Board of Supevisors

Call 919-245-2750 to schedule an appointment.

Tax

The doors to the Tax Office will be closed and we will provide services by phone 919-245-2100, email tax@orangecountync.gov or mail Orange County Tax Office, PO Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278-8181. Field appraisers will continue field work on properties where reviews can be done street side.

Residents needing to pay taxes are encouraged to make payments by credit/debit cards: https://web.co.orange.nc.us/PublicWebAccess/ or 1-844-435-3981. Payments may also be made by mail (see address above) or at the outside drop box at the tax office entrance, 228 South Churton Street, Hillsborough.