New Church Opening In West Smithfield

Church Will Not Be Required To Have ‘Traffic Attendant’ 

A new church will be opening in an existing storefront in West Smithfield.  Tuesday night, Down the Road Ministries received approval from the Smithfield Town Council to operate a place of worship at 1304-E West Market Street (US 70 West) at the intersection of Whitley Drive.

Will Roland of Angier said the 1,800 square foot space would seat about 30 members.  He plans to hold one worship service every Sunday with services beginning around 10AM and ending no later than 12:30PM.

The planning department expressed concerns about cars leaving the parking lot at the intersection and directly entering onto West Market Street (US 70).  Planning Director Stephen Wensman had recommended approval of a special use permit for the church but suggested the church be required to have a ‘traffic attendant’ on duty after each worship service to prohibit cars from leaving on West Market. He proposed having the attendant direct cars onto Whitley Drive for egress from the site.

Councilman David Barbour, who represents the West Smithfield area and also lives nearby, said he didn’t see a need for a traffic attendant. Barbour said the town doesn’t require any other church to have one.  “They should be responsible people.”

Roland said he did not anticipate traffic being an issue with the church only being able to accommodate about 30 members.  He told the town council he would remind churchgoers after each service to use Whitley Drive when leaving.

Councilman Emery Ashley asked if any other tenants in the building had any opposition to the church. Roland said there was no opposition.

Ashley then made a motion to approve the special use permit for Down the Road Ministries, without the proposed traffic attendant. The motion was unanimously approved.