On Johnston County GIS maps, parcels within towns are filled in with color, and those outside town limits are empty. Clayton filled in an important part of its map earlier this month with its annexation of the Jim and Robert Hunt property on N.C. 42 East.
Nearly one year ago, Clayton approved a mixed-use development on the 45-acre Hunt tract, where a developer plans a few hundred apartments, tens of thousands of square feet of retail space and a four-acre self-storage facility. The conditions of that approval included annexation to the town once the developer bought the land from the Hunts. That deal closed in late September, and now Clayton has a lucrative addition to its tax base – and an important connecting link to any future growth to the east.
The Hunt tract, which lies at the corner of N.C. 42 East and Glen Laurel Road, will one day be known as a grocery store-anchored shopping center. For town hall, though, it offers the connection between downtown and one of Clayton’s largest subdivisions in the Glen Laurel neighborhood. This makes Glen Laurel part of the contiguous town limits for the first time, instead of a satellite, and allows a farther reach for any annexation requests from future developments bordering Glen Laurel.
The Gordon tract at Glen Laurel and Powhatan Road is one of those properties now eligible to extend Clayton’s town limits, if its developers choose to join the town. Last year, Clayton and Wilson’s Mills wrestled over the 177-home subdivision, each claiming it as part of their extraterritorial jurisdiction. All that is a wash now, as there’s a clear path from Clayton’s town hall to Powhatan Road.
While the annexation of the Hunt land makes future annexations easier, town planner Jay McLeod said it doesn’t immediately extend Clayton’s ETJ. “That would require action from the General Assembly,” he said.
State lawmakers last extended Clayton’s ETJ in the spring of 2015 through a bill sponsored by now retired legislator Leo Daughtry. That extension gave Clayton planning authority over Novo Nordisk’s operation on U.S. 70 Business.