Welcome the Town of Clayton, North Carolina

Regular Town Council Meeting - Monday, Feb. 18

02/15/2019

We hope you'll join us Monday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. for the the regularly-scheduled Clayton Town Council meeting inside The Clayton Center/Town Hall, 111 East Second Street in Downtown Clayton. There are several public hearings, numerous citizen recognitions and an update on town's wastewater capacity. Remember, there is always a public comment session at the end of each meeting to address the Council.

You can view the full agenda packet online here, or click here to download a PDF copy

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Thank you to those who joined us at the Feb. 4th Town Council meeting. Below are summary highlights. 

Click here to listen to audio from the entire meeting. You can view the full agenda packet online here, or click here to download a PDF copy

Public Input on Next Fiscal Year's Budget Priorities

As Town staff begins work on the 2019-20 budget, Town Manager Adam Lindsay invited the public to share its thoughts on how Clayton should prioritize spending. The Town has always given the public a chance to weigh-in before approving the budget, but two years ago, Lindsay asked the Council to open the floor for comments at both the beginning AND the end of the process. The new budget will outline spending for the upcoming fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. One resident, Mike Konold, shared his desire to have the next budget address safety concerns in the downtown. He walks frequently and would like to see more "WALK" / "DON'T WALK" traffic-control signals along Main Street and throughout the downtown core to help pedestrians. The public will have another chance to comment once the proposed budget draft is available, usually in late May or early April. 

Assessing the Clayton Library, Designing the Library of the Future

For decades the Town of Clayton municipal library was a single room in Town Hall.  But then Mrs. B. A. Hocutt decided to deed over her home to the Town in honor of her late husband Dr. B. A. Hocutt and father J.T. Ellington, and in 1981, Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library opened its doors for the first time. Since then, the building has undergone three expansions, but with a population now topping 20,000, is bursting at the seams. When Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library succeeded in being officially recognized by the State Library in 2015, it enabled the library to apply for grants for the first time. Library Director Joy Garretson applied and was awarded a competitive federal Library Services and Technology grant to be used to complete a professional and comprehensive assessment of our library’s service and space needs. This assessment is aimed at helping envision the future of the library in the growing community of Clayton while balancing the town’s strong ties to local history. This assessment is the first step in the process to rebuild and renovate the current library facility. 

The $34,015 grant was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-00-18-0034-18). The Clayton Friends of the Library group provided a 25% match with a donation of $8,500. These funds are investments that will help our library deliver relevant and up-to-date services to the community. Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library received one of the 48 competitive grants for fiscal year 2018-2019 awarded to North Carolina libraries from this year’s federal allotment of $4,579,356.00.  The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds library projects across the state that advance excellence and promote equity by strengthening capacity, expanding access, and community engagement in North Carolina’s libraries.  

The grant enabled the library to hire Margaret Sullivan, the founder and lead architect at Margaret Sullivan Studio, a full-service design firm with a focus on civic and cultural institutions, programming, and designing the library of the 21st century. Margaret specializes in educating the public about possibilities for 21st century library spaces and in incorporating the needs of the community into the design of the library’s space. She conducted several focus groups to help the Town build the foundation for the future of the Clayton Library.

At the Council meeting, Sullivan presented an overview of her assessment of the current library, recommendations and vision of how to transform our current space into a first-class library that enhances Clayton and meets our needs.

"Designing a library is about revealing the dreams and aspirations of a community and it's about how the facility functions to support those aspirational dreams and goals," Sullivan told the Council. 'It's about providing a variety of spaces and places. A library can be a catalyst to advance the goals of increased quality of life."

Sullivan evaluated the structure of Clayton's existing library building and discovered limits in its infrastructure and layout that "hindered the welcoming experience" many seek at a library. She identified numerous issues: no study space, large meeting rooms, youth room is on opposite side of building from storytime, limited computer space, the shape of the building limits sight lines, a number of outlets and power are deficient, there is no true handicap entrance, 8 thermostats control building comfort, parking is a problem, 8 staff are needed just to man the spaces safely. The current building is 8,999 square feet, but based on the property and the town's population, Sullivan estimated the optimal size for a functioning, vibrant library would be 25,000 sq. ft. She laid out option to build an 11,000 and 20,000 sq. ft. building and two options to build the 25,000 sq. ft. library. While she said her firm does not recommend demolition lightly, her recommended option was Option D, which would require taking down the existing building and building a newly constructed 25,000 sq. ft. building with a possible price tag of more than $11 million dollars.  Her recommendation are only the beginning as the community and town consider renovating/adding to/reconfiguring the existing library. Library Director Joy Garretson said that community, patron and stakeholder feedback will be key and preserving the spirit of Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library and all of those who help make the Clayton Library what it is today will be at the heart of any future plans! 

Bringing East Clayton Elementary into Town Limits

East Clayton Elementary School is a school that lies just outside the Town of Clayton town limits along the banks of the Neuse River. Many families who live in the Town of Clayton are districted to attend this school and Clayton Police have collaborated with the school on numerous programs, including Read Across America, in which our officers have enjoyed reading with students. East Clayton Elementary is in the jurisdiction of the Johnston County Sheriff's Department. To facilitate response and assistance to Johnston County Public Schools, the Town Clerk has been instructed to investigate the sufficiency of a request to annex East Clayton Elementary in order to provide law enforcement services. Due to geography, Clayton Police might be first to arrive at the school so this annexation, in partnership with Johnston County Schools, is intended to further enhance the safety of the school and students. Annexations are, by law, voluntary and the land owned by Johnston County would not be taxable should this annexation be approved. A public hearing is being considered for the March 4 Town Council meeting. 

Resolution to Begin Advertising to Abandon a Portion of Horne Street for Town Hall Parking Lot 

Council had voted to approve the staff request to rezonhttps://gallery.mailchimp.com/cf7f2195498e19ab24ddf6fb9/images/e3a08aaf-1ce1-4cbf-aac8-301173943bf8.pnge three parcels located at Town Hall/The Clayton Center, 111 East Second Street, as well as two smaller parcels at 117-121 Horne Street at a January Council meeting. The parcels currently include two historic schoolhouses which were renovated into a municipal/performing arts/conference center complex, green space and two vacant single-family homes. The request is to change these properties from Residential-6 (R-6) and Office-Institutional (O-I) to Public Facilities (PF). The Town hopes to redevelop the existing parking lot at Town Hall, incorporate the two new parcels, permanently close off a portion of Horne Street, and incorporate all of that land into a new, larger parking lot.

At the Feb. 4 meeting, Council took the next step and adopted a resolution required to begin advertising the proposal to permanently close off a portion of Horne Street. Councilman Jason Thompson voted against. Staff has hired a consultant to study traffic and the possible impact of this project and hope to continue to work with resident shareholders hosting a future Town Hall/Clayton Center Parking Lot Expansion Community Meeting at a date yet to be determined.

Ultimately, the proposed new lot would more than double the number of parking spaces available for employees and visitors of the Town Hall/Clayton Center, from 41 spaces to 110. The additional parking would also be available for use by Horne Memorial Methodist Church, the Clayton Library and Town Square events during peak times of need. At a meeting with adjacent property owners, residents shared concerns about lighting, buffers and additional traffic. A public hearing and vote on the abandonment is set for the March 18 Town Council meeting at 6 p.m. The Major Site Plan public hearing and vote are scheduled for march 25 Planning Board meeting at 6 p.m. For additional questions, please call the Planning Department at 919-359-9399

Public Hearings

  • Special Use Permit for a Family Cemetery - CONTINUED
    This public hearing was opened and continued at the applicant's request until the Feb. 18 Council meeting. John Francis and his family are requesting a Special Use Permit to develop a private family cemetery on a portion of their land at 875 Bobbit Road, near Kentucky Derby Road. The property is 53 acres and has one home. The cemetery will be limited to 32 plots. This special use permit first went to the Planning Board. Staff is recommending approval, with the condition that this be developed as a private family cemetery only and the cemetery shall not be open to the general public.
  • Geiger Subdivision - APPROVED
    This request to develop 8 single-family homes on 32.02 acres of land zoned Residential-Estate (R-E) off Ranch Road was approved by the Council. The property is north of the Ranch Road and US Hwy 70 W. (70 Bypass) interchange and is located in the Exterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of Clayton. The proposed density is 1 lot per 3.987 acres.  The proposed lots will be served by public water (Johnston County) and on-site septic. Electrical provider is Duke Energy Progress. 

Two Public Hearings Set for Feb. 18

  • Johnston Health Rezoning 
    Johnston Health is requesting to rezone 74.61 acres of land from Planned Development Mixed Use (PDMU) to Office Institutional (OI). The applicant is requesting this rezoning in order to prepare the parcel on the corner of Amelia Church Road/Hwy 42 W for future development of medical offices and an expansion of hospital services. All properties within the hospital campus are included in the rezoning request to achieve a consistent zoning designation throughout its campus. A master plan was originally approved for these parcels in 2007 at which time it was zoned to PD-MU. Staff is recommending approval.
  • Downtown Overlay Ordinance Amendment 
    The Planning Department is requesting an ordinance amendment to Section 155.204 of the Unified Development Code in order to update the Downtown Overlay District standards, which was adopted in August of 2017. With more than a year working with the overlay district, staff said it became evident that the requirements were too stringent and prevented quality development in downtown. The planning department worked with a local architect, planning staff, and economic development staff to amend the existing ordinance and "make it easier for developers to build in downtown." The ordinance amendment changes also include the addition of graphics for clarification and to better depict the requirements of this section to the public.

North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) Notice of Wholesale Electric Rates Increase

Council learned at the Feb. 4 meeting that the Town of Clayton received notice of a wholesale rate increase from the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA), the agency which represents the 32 cities and towns in eastern North Carolina (including the Town of Clayton) that own and operate their electric systems. The NCEMPA Board of Directors adopted, at its meeting on January 25, 2019, a 1.2% increase to wholesale rates effective April 1, 2019.  The Town of Clayton anticipated this increase thanks to the strong analysis and research provided by the recent Black & Veatch electric rate study.  That study allowed the town to project and plan accordingly for this increase. So, while the Town of Clayton will be now have to pay 1.2% more to buy electricity, thanks to the diligence of the recent electric rate study rate study, we do not anticipate we do not need to pass this rate increase on to Clayton Public Power customers at this time.Unrelated to this wholesale rate increase, it should be noted that when the Town’s budget was adopted last July, the Council did vote to approve a $2.00 increase to take effect May 2019 to help pay for upgrades to the town’s metering systems.

Continued Discussion & Public Hearing on Wastewater Capacity and Water & Sewer Rates Set for Feb. 18

The public is again invited to attend the Town Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 18 to listen and share comments as consultants continue to study how to best plan and pay for the expansion of our wastewater sewer capacity and possible replacement of the Town’s wastewater treatment plant. The Town has continued to grow and we’re reaching capacity levels that dictate the need to expand. This is a continuation of public hearing/discussion first held on Nov. 19 and continued through December. Original baseline calculations presented in October called for building a new plant within 4 years on that designated piece of land, and to pay for the project by raising sewer fees and rates for most homeowners an average of about $15 a month starting July 1, 2019. The study also calls for annual 30% sewer rate and 2% water rate increases for the following three years. Upon hearing those baseline costs, Town Council requested staff and consultants research options to build a treatment plant in phases, partner with regional and private entities, operate two facilities, and/or operate a single facility. The new scenarios were run and did bring rate increases down. Consultants examined 20 different scenarios and narrowed the options to five, which were presented at the Jan. 7 meeting. On Feb. 18, they will present more information on those models and work to present the most viable option and its possible rate implications. You can find more information at ClaytonNC.org, including audio from these past public hearings.

Need More Info?

If you have any questions about the agenda or any other Town-related issues, please feel free to email Public Information Officer Stacy Beard or call her at 919-358-0348.

If you can't make it to Council meetings, the Town Clerk's office works to publish the audio from the evening Council meeting the following morning. Just check back to the agenda and you'll see an "Audio" button at the top left corner of the Feb. 18 agenda. 

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