Planning Board rejects Faith Road rezoning request

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
The Salisbury Planning Board voted down a rezoning request along Faith Road Tuesday, opting to wait until a planning study of the whole area is complete.
Ken Harmer and his mother, Mary Arey, operate Arey Realty at 718 Faith Road.The house also serves as Harmer’s residence, and the city considers it a valid home occupation.Home occupations allow one extra person, who does not live at the residence, to work at the home business. In this case, that would be Arey.
Harmer seeks a rezoning from residential to residential mixed-use (RMX).
RMX zoning would allow single- and multi-family residential uses and office-institutional uses that generally don’t generate traffic at night.
It also would allow signs with a maximum height of 5 feet and 32 square feet in size overall.
Harmer said he wants the rezoning because he and his mother would like to add additional agents. The new zoning also would allow them to erect a bigger sign for the real estate business.
The long-range plan is for the location to be an office only, not a residence for him, Harmer said.
During a courtesy hearing, Debbie Miller, who operates out of a real estate business at 501 Faith Road, argued against the rezoning.
She said the area already has available commercial property. She added that she would like to see the Planning Board’s Faith Road Small Area Plan be completed before any rezoning takes place.
The Planning Board has held one meeting ó a “visioning meeting” ó for property owners and residents in the broader Faith Road area.Planning Board member Diane Young, who attended the visioning process, said, “I think the rezoning would be in the spirit of what was discussed that night.””I have concerns,” said Dick Huffman, another Planning Board member, “about picking out one lot and changing the zoning for it, while the (rest) of the neighborhood stays the same.”
He recommended the Planning Board complete the small area plan before rezoning anything.
Planning Board member Mark Beymer agreed with Huffman, though he predicted Faith Road is probably in a transition to the kind of zoning Harmer is requesting.
The city considers Faith Road a major thoroughfare, and the planning staff recommended in favor of a rezoning.
In the end, the board voted 6-1 to deny the rezoning request.Voting to deny were Young, Beymer, Huffman, Karen Alexander, Maggie Blackwell and Bill Wagoner. Albert Stout voted against the motion.The recommendation will go to Salisbury City Council.