Raleigh church plans parking lot, forcing upset residents to move

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Homes being torn down for church parking lot
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Residents in Five Points are upset by the church's plans.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Hattie Sage didn't know what to think when she got a knock at her door Monday afternoon. She had been renting a home along White Oak Road for three years and in just a few months, she will have to be out.

"They said by the end of the summer this is going to be a parking lot, so we're going to bulldoze your house," Sage said. "It just doesn't seem like it would be absolutely necessary."

The prime real estate off Glenwood Avenue is owned by Hayes Barton Baptist Church. According to property records, ABC11 found, the church bought Sage's house almost 60 years ago.

Her place and five other homes are being torn down to make way for 78 new parking spaces.

It's infuriating to Sage and several other people.

"It just doesn't seem transparent. It doesn't seem honest. It doesn't seem forthright, especially the entity here is a church," said Five Points resident Bob Crone. "Somebody has dropped the ball here at the church and not keep us in the loop."

Hayes Barton Church.
Elaina Athans

Pastor Dr. David Hailey said the church has been purchasing homes throughout the years solely for expansion and they've been leasing out the space to bring in some income.

"We never bought the houses primarily for the purpose of being a rental agency," said Hailey. "We bought them for future expansion and we feel that future is now coming to fruition now."

He explains the added space will serve the 1,400 member congregation, as well as the daycare center and others who come for weddings, funerals, or meetings.

"We think it's going to be a good thing for the neighborhood and the community, but we understand that change is always unsettling," said Hailey. "If you look at our parking lot most any day, you'll see that it's rather full."

Nearby residents plan on fighting the proposed changes.

"I love this neighborhood. I love the neighbors. We're all very close and it was just very disappointing," said Sage.