City sets public hearing on Okey Dokey storage
Also on Tuesday, City Council did the following:
• Set a public hearing for Dec. 18 to determine whether debris and material behind the Okey Dokey General Store at 126 E. Innes St. constitute a nuisance and should be abated by the city.
Code Services Division Manager Chris Branham said the property owner and tenant have been cited 18 times since June 2010 by his division and the Fire Department for conditions that present a public health danger and downtown fire hazard.
While outdoor storage is allowed downtown, Okey Dokey regularly stores combustible materials next to the building, Branham said.
“Violations are not being corrected in a timely manner or at all,” he said.
As of Tuesday, $100 daily fines have reached $21,100, Branham said.
Councilwoman Maggie Blackwell said she has heard complaints about the nuisance for years and thanked city staff for taking action.
Councilman Brian Miller said the area is visible from the city’s new public parking lot, which makes a poor impression on visitors.
“You don’t put trash at the front doorstep at your house, and this is essentially what this is for downtown,” Miller said.
• Approved closing a portion of Brawley Avenue and an alley behind 304 W. Corriher Ave.
• Agreed to seek Community Transportation Program funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation for the Salisbury public bus system for the next fiscal year. The city’s share will be about $332,000, and the grant will provide about $498,000.
• Agreed to update the Salisbury Historic District design guidelines and create a citizen advisory committee.
City Planner Janet Gapen said guideline changes could include encouraging sustainability practices like solar panels, making the rules more user-friendly, including sections specific to each neighborhood and allowing alternative materials.
The city won a $12,000 state grant to hire a consultant to lead the process, which will run from January to August and include public forums. The city will chip in $10,000.
• Approved a $102,500 contract with RedZone Robotics Inc. for the sole-source purchase of a sanitary sewer inspection system. The purchase was included in the Salisbury-Rowan Utilities annual budget and will cost less than expected, staff said.
• Set a public hearing for Dec. 18 to consider establishing progress zones downtown, along Jake Alexander Boulevard and North Long Street.
• Asked residents to serve on city boards and commissions. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Nuisance Animals Committee and now historic district guidelines advisory committee all need members. Call 704-638-5224 to apply.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.