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By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Salisbury City Council went against a Planning Board recommendation and approved Tuesday a rezoning for a home occupation at 718 Faith Road.
Ken Harmer sought the rezoning for his residence, which doubles as a real estate office for him and his mother, Mary Arey.
Harmer sought a rezoning from Urban Residential (UR-8) to Residential Mixed-Use (RMX) so he could add employees at the home/office beyond the one extra allowed at a home occupation.
On April 29, the Planning Board voted against his request 6-1, with most members saying any rezoning should wait until a Faith Road Area Study Plan, now in the works, is completed.
Part of the Planning Board argument also was that Faith Road had not become completely unsuitable to residences, but Harmer and Arey showed council photographs of how many of the single-family homes and lots close to them were in “a downward spiral.”
Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy said he looked at the rezoning question differently than the Planning Board.
He said Faith Road in this particular area will change predominantly to offices and businesses and a rezoning actually will help save Harmer’s residence and help the corridor.
Councilman Bill Burgin said RMX is a transition zoning provided by the new Land Development Ordinance. A rezoning now would not be adding to any traffic strain Faith Road already is under, he said.
Councilman Mark Lewis said the traffic count of 10,000 cars a day makes it more unsuitable for residential homes in the future.
Small area study plans are complicated and can take a lot of time, Lewis added, and council shouldn’t ask these businessmen to put everything on hold.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson said Harmer and Arey made “a great presentation,” which swayed him toward approving the rezoning.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said she understood the Planning Board’s wanting to wait for a completed study, but adaptive reuse of the property in question also was important.

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