Church will talk to neighbors about parking lot plan. But removal of houses still likely

A Raleigh church that angered its neighbors with a plan to destroy a half-dozen historic homes to add parking and improve building access wants to talk with its critics, but says it does not expect to change direction.

David Hailey, pastor of Hayes Barton Baptist, said the church has not canceled its plans to raze the six houses it has acquired over the years facing White Oak Road, but it will talk with neighbors who were upset when they learned of the plan last week. The houses are included in the Bloomsbury National Register Historic District off Glenwood Avenue at Five Points.

“Our neighbors have been good to us, and we want to be good to them,” Hailey said.

He and others from the church will be meeting with neighbors and city officials to discuss the proposal.

The plan was crafted by a church committee that searched for a year for solutions to several issues the church has, including a dearth of parking in a neighborhood with narrow streets. During the week, those who live in the area or work, shop or dine at the nearby businesses often use the church’s parking. On Sunday mornings, worshipers who don’t arrive in time to get a space in the church lot may park on the street or in the lots of nearby businesses that aren’t open during worship hours.

To remedy the parking problem, the church plans to level six homes it has bought over the years, including one it closed on just last week. The houses were built between 1920 and 1925.

The church held its first worship service on its property in 1926.

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(The News & Observer, 3/13/18)