SALISBURY — City Council likely will approve a rezoning request from Victor Wallace for the new Salisbury Power Equipment but place a moratorium on any other South Main Street rezoning changes.
Only three council members were present Tuesday, so the rezoning they approved that would change the Wallace property at 520 S. Main St. from downtown mixed use to corridor mixed use — and save the sign at the former Salvation Army Thrift Store — requires a second reading next month.
If three council members vote yes again on April 2, the rezoning will pass.
The city needs to study the South Main corridor and determine if there should be an additional zoning category that would ease the transition from downtown mixed use, which requires a building to be 10 feet from the street and bans outdoor displays, and corridor mixed use, which allows a 75-foot setback, parking and outdoor displays.
Downtown Salisbury Inc. is asking for money to fund a small area study of South Main Street, and Councilman Brian Miller said he doesn’t want any rezoning requests in the area to come before council until the study is complete.
Councilwoman Karen Alexander seemed to agree.
“I am just such proponent of planning in context of the broader” picture, rather than stop-gap measures, she said.
Last month, City Council approved a similar rezoning request for Brent Lyerly, who wants to rebuild Lyerly Funeral Home across from Salisbury Power Equipment.
Both the Lyerly and Wallace rezonings are not entirely consistent with the Downtown Master Plan, proving the need for a small area study, officials said.
While Downtown Salisbury Inc. did not object to the Wallace rezoning request, President Mark Lewis expressed concerns.
“The second domino has fallen in the departure of our downtown master plan,” Lewis said.
“Once the dominoes start falling, it’s difficult to get them back up in the manner we have in mind,” Miller said. “We’ve already let the domino trend start going.”
Miller said he has no intention of preventing Salisbury Power Equipment from operating and thanked owner Chris Biesecker for improving the property and making it “look 100 percent better.” The business is up and running.
Preston Mitchell, the city’s Planning and Development Services manager, agreed that Salisbury needs a moratorium on rezoning requests until the corridor study is complete.
“I don’t want to stop any development,” Mayor Paul Woodson said.
Mitchell said a study of South Main Street from the Square to Five Points at Klumac Road and Fulton Street should take less than one year.