Clayton News-Star

Planning Board backs Hocutt Baptist parking

Hocutt Baptist Church plans to pave three lots along Robertson Street to make way for more parking for its congregation. A rendering shows trees lining the lot and a six-foot fence separating the parking lot from the residential neighborhood to the west.
Hocutt Baptist Church plans to pave three lots along Robertson Street to make way for more parking for its congregation. A rendering shows trees lining the lot and a six-foot fence separating the parking lot from the residential neighborhood to the west. GREEN ENGINEERING

It’s hard for a church to add parishioners if they can’t find a place to park. That will soon be less of a concern for Clayton’s Hocutt Baptist Church.

At last week’s Clayton Planning Board meeting, Hocutt unveiled plans for the parking lot it wants to build along Robertson Street. Nearly 60 spaces would make up the length of a city block across the street from the church’s original sanctuary.

Over the years, Hocutt has bought up properties surrounding the church on Horne Street, slowly building a campus that now covers a full block. Through a rezoning request earlier this year, the church made its parking needs known to the Clayton Town Council.

Last month, as a training exercise, the Clayton Fire Department burned down a church-owned house at Second and Robertson streets. The charred rubble will soon be cleared to make way for the parking lot.

As far as parking lots go, Hocutt has designed something beyond a simple patch of asphalt. Its plans call for a number of trees and shrubs and a six-foot-tall fence between the lot and the residential neighborhood to the west.

“If this materializes to look anything like this, it will certainly be an asset of a parking lot in Clayton,” planning board chairman Frank Price said.

The fence would separate the lot from a house the church owns, but it acknowledges Town Council worries about the church encroaching too far into residential areas.

“The council was very concerned about growing into the neighborhood and wanted to put a stop to it,” Clayton Planning Director David DeYoung said.

The planning board unanimously supported the parking lot plan.

Over the past few months, Clayton’s housing development has largely been higher density, with more than one house per acre. The subdivision proposal bucks that trend, calling for 41 homes on 51.32 acres.

Greywolf Development plans Rhodes Farm subdivision off of Little Creek Church Road, just north of U.S. 70 in Clayton’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ.

Dan Simmons, representing Greywolf Development, told the planning board said the subdivision might have fewer homes but certainly no more.

“It cannot be more than we’ve applied for, but it could be less because of soils needed for Johnston County’s Department of Environmental Health,” Simmons said.

The planning board unanimously supported the subdivision. The Town Council will review the plans Dec. 21 and hold a public hearing Jan. 4, 2016.

Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson

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