Welcome the Town of Clayton, North Carolina

Wastewater Capacity, Recognition of Butch Lawter, 150th Anniversary Coordinator, Main Street Speed Limit and More on Monday's Town Council Agenda


We hope you will join us 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 for the Clayton Town Council meeting at The Clayton Center/Town Hall, 111 East Second Street in Downtown Clayton.

You can view the full agenda packet online here, or click here to download a PDF copy. Here are the highlights:

Water & Sewer Rates / Capacity Study Public Hearing

The Town of Clayton continues to plan for the replacement of the Town’s wastewater treatment plant, which serves our residential, commercial and industrial customers. The plant is 54 years old and lies in a flood hazard area. Plans to replace the plant date back decades. In the mid-90’s, Town leaders purchased land to build a new wastewater treatment plant near the Neuse River.  In the mid-2000s, Town leaders began planning for the cost and construction of a new plant, but those plans were shelved when the country hit the Great Recession, the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Unclear on the timeline for economic recovery and growth, Town leaders began to explore intermediary methods of accommodating our sewer needs.  We reached agreements to connect and send wastewater flow to the City of Raleigh and Johnston County – and those increased capacities have served Clayton to this day. The City of Raleigh flow agreement, however, is not permanent.

This critical topic is on many municipal and county agendas, as Johnston County, Smithfield and Selma are also in the processes of wastewater capacity and water/sewer rate studies and analyses. On Oct. 22, the Town Council invited the utility consultants to present their study findings, which included slides on water and sewer rates and wastewater capacity. That analysis shows options on how to build and meet the town’s wastewater capacity needs and how to pay for it through the water & sewer rates. The baseline recommendation calls 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. The Council, recognizing the size of these proposed increases, directed staff to continue exploring options.

The current Wooten & Company study, as well as one the consultants conducted for Clayton in 2005-2006, show a need for more wastewater capacity. Now, the Town Council must examine the options for how to provide capacity for the next 20 years. On Monday, Wooten engineers will be reviewing possible options to meet those capacity needs, to include: expanding the current wastewater treatment plant; building a new plant, building a new plant over time in phases; entering a public-private partnership (P3); or collaborating with regional partners. How each of those options might alter the proposed rate increases is still being calculated, and the Council plans to further discuss those changes at the Dec. 3 Town Council meeting, where this public hearing is expected to be continued.

Recognition of Butch Lawter – Longtime Councilman Elected to County Board of Commissioners

Following his successful bid for a Johnston County Commissioner’s seat earlier this month, long-time Councilman Butch Lawter will step down from his seat on Clayton Town Council on Monday. He is the second longest serving Councilman, only the Mayor has served longer. Lawter will be sworn in as a county commissioner on December 3rd in Smithfield, filling the seat of Commissioner Allen Mims of Clayton. 

Soon after moving to Clayton more than 25 years, Lawter, a native of Batcave, N.C., began volunteering in Clayton , including immediately involving himself in the recreation advisory board for the Town of Clayton. He was first elected to Council in 1999 and served 4 years. He ran again in 2009 and has been serving for the past 14 years. Lawter is known his friendly persona, active social media presence, and active participation in community events. He worked to champion recreation expansion, downtown improvement and transportation funding partnerships. He represented Clayton on state-wide planning organizations and government councils, and never hesitated roll up his sleeves to help set up tents for free movie nights or don a red suit to serve as Santa at the Community Center.

In his time in office, Lawter saw Clayton grow from a population of 6,000 to more than 20,000. He says he now wants to take the lessons he’s learned from the challenges of growth to the county level, as Johnston County is set to become one of the fastest growing counties in NC. Lawter lives in Downtown Clayton and says he and his wife will continue to be active in the Clayton community. On Monday night, the Mayor and Council will recognize his years of service to the Town.

Introduction of 150th Celebration Event Coordinator

On April 12, 1869, the Town of Clayton officially incorporated.

In 1969, the community came together to celebrate in incredible solidarity to mark the 100th anniversary. The men grew beards. Families dressed in pioneer clothing. There were parades, concerts, special tours, three grand balls, class reunions, old-fashioned bargain days with merchants, fireworks, a Miss Centennial coronation, a time capsule burial, an anniversary seal design contest, T-shirts, commemorative coins and an elaborate 90-minute stage production about Clayton’s history with a cast of hundreds!

Now, 50 years later, it’s time for the community to come together again to celebrate the Town of Clayton’s 150th Anniversary! In August, the Town Council passed a resolution to establish a Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee appointed by the Mayor to include 11 community members: Jessica Lloyd, Princess Hester, Ruth Anderson, Laine Horton, Marty Bizzell, Jean Barnes, Gwen Canady, Mike Marvel, Frances Mercer, Stewart McLeod, and Porter Casey. This committee brainstormed ideas, vision and vetted candidates to serve as a temporary event coordinator who would lead planning and community efforts to produce a year-long celebration commencing on April 12, 2019.

Michelle Bonham, a Clayton resident and experienced event planner, has been working with the advisory committee and town staff to cement a theme and brand for celebration, as well as formulate ideas for an April 12-13 kick-off event.  Bonham has helped coordinate a variety of corporate and community events and now runs her own event planning firm handling design, logistics, and community outreach and engagement.

They will share the progress of the committee and outline the steps ahead as the community and town work to together to Commemorate, Celebrate and Collaborate in the name of Clayton’s past, present and future. Bonham has stressed the urgency of formulating plans as Clayton’s 150th birthday party will be here before we know it!

Stormwater Program Presentation

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) oversees the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) permit program for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States (streams, rivers, lakes, etc.), including stormwater runoff from developing areas.  The Town of Clayton is designated as a NDPES “Phase 2” community, which requires the administration of a Stormwater program including six minimum measures: Public Education & Outreach, Public Involvement & Participation, Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE), Construction Site Runoff Controls, Post-Construction Site Runoff Controls, and Good Housekeeping. 

The Town received its first permit in 2012 and a renewal permit in early 2018, which details expectations of the Program that the Town is responsible for implementing. Currently, the Town utilizes outside partners including Johnston County to implement portions of the program; however, the growth in our region and variation in the regulated requirements between the two entities has created challenges in fulfilling the requirements due to workload. The Town has hired a consultant to identify the programmatic needs and gaps in current implementation, and provide a recommendation for meeting the program requirements moving forward.

On Monday, Engineering Director Rich Cappola will introduce the basic requirements of the Stormwater Program, and he will ask the Town Council guidance on the program's development.

Recognition of Former Councilman Nathaniel Sanders Jr.

The Town Council will recognize one of its former members, Nathaniel Sanders Jr., on the 35th anniversary of his election. Here's the official recognition:

Mr. Sanders, elected to the Clayton Town Council in 1983 and 1987, served a total of eight years and received the highest amount of votes in both elections.   He was the first African American to serve on the Clayton Town Council.

Mr. Sanders has lived in Clayton since 1977.  He is married to his beautiful wife Velvaline of 43 years! They are the proud parents of two daughters, Natalie and Crystal.

Mr. Sanders retired from the North Carolina Department of Transportation where he worked in the Civil Rights and Business Development Section.  During his tenure, he was able to assist many minority-owned businesses.

In 2005, Governor Easley awarded Mr. Sanders with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his proven record of extraordinary service to the state of North Carolina.  Also included in his list of many honors is being selected as one of the Outstanding Personalities of the South.

Mr. Sanders is an active member of First Missionary Baptist Church and currently serves as an auditor for the Johnston District Missionary Baptist Association. 

On behalf of the citizens of Clayton, we thank and honor Nathaniel L. Sanders, Jr. for his love, dedication and service to others.

Reduction of Speed Limit to 25 MPH on Main Street from 2nd Street to US 70 Business

The Town has received approval from the N.C. Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph from 35 mph on the 0.103-mile stretch of Main Street from Second Street to U.S. 70 Business.

On April 16, James Lipscomb, owner of  Vinson's Pub at 800 E. Main St., asked the Council to lower the speed limit, according to the minutes from that meeting. Speaking during the public comment period, Lipscomb said he felt many drivers exceeded the 35 mph speed limit on that stretch of Main Street. Owner of HomeTowne Realty, Lipscomb is a member of the Planning Board and former Clayton Town Councilman.

On Monday, the Council will consider placing the change on the Dec. 3 Consent Agenda for approval.

Public Hearing

The Council will open the floor for public discussion before voting to approve or deny the following:

Rezoning Eight Properties on East Main Street (517-549 E. Main St.)

James Lipscomb seeks rezoning of eight parcels totaling 1.196 acres of land along Main Street from Office-Institutional (O-I) to Central-Business (B-1). Currently, the land is being used for a mixture of residential and retail, including City Florist of Clayton.

If approved, the residential properties located at 525 and 531 E. Main St. would be grandfathered in until they are redeveloped in conjunction with the adjacent properties. The building at 545 E. Main St. would be used as an office, and 539 E. Main Street would be demolished. City Florist of Clayton would remain at 549 E. Main St. The properties are adjacent to and bordered by offices to the north, and they are generally surrounded by single family houses in all other directions. The other properties in the same block are zoned Office-Institutional (O-I) and adjacent properties to the east and west are zoned Single-Family Residential.

Land zoned Central-Business has no requirements for minimum lot size or width, minimum setbacks, maximum building coverage or maximum impervious surface limits.

On Oct. 22, the Planning Board reviewed the request and recommended its approval.

Introduction of New Employees

The Council will meet the Town's new building inspector III, Michael Cook, and electric line technician, Ian Bowser.

Riverwood & Lionsgate Lighting Agreements

In 2001, the Town entered into a lighting agreement with the Riverwood Home Owners Association and the developer of Riverwood Athletic Club. On Monday, the Council will consider authorizing staff to update that agreement for Riverwood and to formalize a similar agreement for the Lionsgate subdivision.

These agreements allowed the developer to install streetlights that exceed the Town's standards, on the condition that the HOA foot the bill for the extra cost. The Town pays the amount it would have cost if the lights had been installed to Town standards.

These agreements include back payment to the HOAs for prior years’ service that the Town has not paid for, and it establishes a method to stay up to date with future payments.

To cover the first of the payments, the Council will also consider an ordinance to appropriate $73,846 of fund balance.

Sunbelt Rentals: Setting Two Public Hearings for Dec. 3

The Town Council will consider scheduling a Dec. 3 public hearing for the following item. No discussion or action is expected to occur at Monday's meeting.

Sunbelt Rentals: Vehicle Sales & Rental Near Intersection of U.S. 70 & U.S. 70 Business

Moffat Properties, LLC seeks to modify its previously-approved special-use permit and major site plan to add a 1,500-square-foot addition its development of a Sunbelt Rentals at 7635 U.S. 70 Business, which is just north of the U.S. 70 Bypass.

In April, the Planning Board approved plans to build a 10,500-square-foot building with a 34-space parking lot on the site. The site plan showed a majority of the property to be leveled and covered in gravel for outdoor equipment storage, with area lighting surrounding the property and landscaping around the perimeter. In May, the Council approved a special-use permit to allow vehicle sales and rental on the property.

The applicant now seeks to erect a 12,000-square-foot building. That's more than a 5 percent increase in area from the previously-approved special-use permit and major site plan, and therefore each modification requires separate approval from the Town Council.

More info will be included in future agenda packets. For more, call the Planning Department at 919-359-9399.

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. You may also email Assistant Public Information Officer John Hamlin or call him at 919-480-0170.

Have a great weekend, and we hope to see you at the meeting.

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