Church, Five Points residents meet over plan to raze houses for parking lot

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Some Raleigh residents are learning they may not be kicked out of their homes.

The Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Five Points plans to demolish houses to put up a parking lot, but the church insisted this is still in the concept phase.

On Monday, residents and the church got to voice their concerns and present their sides.

"To destroy them would forever be a stain on the legacy of Hayes Barton," said Matthew Brown, a Raleigh resident.

Each side had 20 minutes to present findings at the Citizens Advisory Council or CAC meeting.

"The leaders of the church are good, neighborly people but they're good neighborly people stuck on a bad idea," said Adam Mitchell, who presented for the Save Six Group, which is against razing six homes on White Oak Road.

Jennifer Williams, who lives across the street from the proposed parking lot, also presented.

"It is about being connected to something bigger," said Williams, who insisted throughout this process she wants to work side-by-side with the church. "It's about changing a landscape and history - the difference between moving into a neighborhood where you think you're going to have people living across the street from you but instead those homes will be gone and you'll have a parking lot."

The church is insistent it has had a parking problem for years. It also said it needs to improve access for handicapped members as well as for parents who are dropping off toddlers for Pre-K.

"It is about our congregation's future as an active and committed neighbor in the Five Points community," said David Hailey, pastor at Hayes Barton Baptist Church.

Leigha Sink rents one of the homes that could be demolished -she just moved here from Charlotte in January with her husband and two toddlers.

Sink said they enquired about buying the home because they love it so much but learned the day after they asked that the church had plans to demolish the house.

"In one sense you're kind of like, it's their property," she said. "I'm thankful the church is growing and on the other, I'm sad for the neighbors across the street who've owned here for years and years."
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