Despite opposition from nearby residents, the Clayton Town Council has approved a major development on Highway 42 East at Glen Laurel Road.
Developers of the James B. Hunt Jr. property, on the southeast corner of the intersection, plan to turn 45.75 acres into 240 apartment units, a shopping center with outparcels and a self-storage facility.
The apartment units will be built on 20 acres of land on the eastern portion of the site. The commercial and retail development will cover 21.26 acres space on the western side, and the self-storage facility will be located on 4.49 acres in the southwest corner.
Developers are still working with the NC Department of Transportation on what road improvements need to be made, however the site is projected to have 3 access points off NC42 and up to two more access locations on Glen Laurel Road.
After the project is complete, the property will be annexed into the city limits.
Opponents expressed concerns about traffic, noise, water runoff from the site, and the impact on property values. Jim Dempster, who lives in the nearby Fox Ridge Subdivision on NC42 East, spoke to council members expressing concern about storm water runoff from the site onto his property.
Trish Harrington said she was “devastated” by the decision and its impact on the environment, including the removal of hundreds of trees. “We’re devastating the land,” Harrington said, referring to the removal of trees and in its place planting landscape bushes.
Harrington described the stretch of NC42 near Glen Laurel as being like Interstate 40. While not against growth, she said the Town of Clayton was not going green. “It’s awful what is happening. It’s all about money and greed and not thinking about what is happening to the environment. We don’t want a town of cement. We want a town of beauty.”
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis told those who opposed the project that the owner of the property has the right to develop and it leaves little room for the council to vote against the project if they meet all the requirements. If the council does vote against the project, when the requirements are met, Grannis said it potentially opens the Town up to a lawsuit.
Mayor Jody McLeod said Downtown Clayton business locations are at 98 percent capacity, and people need places like the development on NC42 to find a place to operate.
In a unanimous vote by the Clayton Town Council, the project was approved.