Raleigh church plans to tear down historic homes and put up a parking lot

Hayes Barton Baptist Church wants to level a half-dozen homes in a National Register historic district in Raleigh to build a parking lot, but critics say the plan doesn’t show much love for the church’s neighbors.

“It sort of makes you think about the Golden Rule,” said Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina. “I would ask the minister if he wants a parking lot across the street from his home, and we know what the answer to that is.”

Pastor David Hailey said a committee has been working on a long-range capital improvement plan for about a year that includes the addition of more than 70 parking spaces for the church, which towers over the Five Points intersection. The church sits between White Oak and Whitaker Mill roads, and currently has parking for about 170 cars.

During the week, Hailey said, people who live, work, dine or shop in tightly-packed Five Points often park in the church’s lot. On Sundays, businesses return the favor, allowing some of the 500 to 600 regular worshipers who attend the 11 a.m. service to park in their lots. Others park on side streets.

The church has wanted to add parking for a long while, Hailey said, to make it easier for the parents of children at the church preschool to drop off and pick up their children, and to shorten the distance that less-mobile church members have to walk to reach the sanctuary. The lot also would benefit the neighborhood, Hailey said, because when services are not being held, the church would continue to allow others to park there.

But to build it, the church plans to demolish a row of six houses that stand along White Oak Road. Five of the houses — 1810, 1812, 1814, 1816 and 1818 White Oak Road — have belonged to the church since 1960, according to Wake County property tax records. The sixth house, at 1806 White Oak Road, directly behind the church, Hayes Barton just closed on on Monday.

All the houses were built between 1920 and 1925 and together occupy less than three-quarters of an acre of land. Their total appraised value is more than $3 million.

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News and Observer, 3/7/18