Parking spaces, sidewalks closed during building renovations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
Major building renovations at 101 S. Main St., known most recently as the location for Strictly Soccer, could take about nine months.
Salisbury City Council gave its OK Tuesday for the contractor to use three parking spaces on East Innes Street for the duration of the project.
Council also will allow the closure of sidewalks on East Innes and South Main streets for approximately a week when Central Piedmont Builders will be doing, among other things, demolition work on the existing facade.
Ted and Cheryl Goins are new owners of the building. They plan to have a pottery studio and store on the basement and first floor and their residence on the second floor.
Chad Vriesema of Central Piedmont Builders said when the sidewalks have to be closed, he’ll try to provide enough room and protection for pedestrians to safely get by the building.
“I’m a little concerned about losing three parking spaces on the Square,” Mayor Susan Kluttz said.
The spaces will be used for construction vehicles that carry equipment. Personal vehicles of workers will park in a different area.
Vriesema said the spaces will be available during the evenings and on weekends, and he promised to keep open any spaces not being used by his equipment during the work week.
Randy Hemann, executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., said he has “a level of trust” with the contractor and confidence he will follow through on the plans outlined.
Hemann said this particular project, which will open up many of the windows now closed along East Innes Street, will have significant demolition associated with it.
In another city matter, council denied an effort by McDonald’s at 1957 Jake Alexander Blvd. to keep a driveway closed between its property and the small retail center beside it.
The original site plan approved by the city showed that the driveway connection would remain open. But it was closed with curbing and landscaping during the recent rebuilding of the McDonald’s restaurant.
W.H. Austin, who owns this particular McDonald’s franchise, asked council Tuesday to keep the connection closed. The small shopping center still gives vehicles two ways to reach Jake Alexander Boulevard, he said.
Keeping the driveway connection closed would eliminate some congestion and traffic conflicts for McDonald’s customers who drive in from Statesville Boulevard and have to circle the building to reach the drive-through lane, Austin said.
At a recent Planning Board meeting, Austin and the McDonald’s construction manager said the adjacent commercial center sometimes used McDonald’s for its overflow parking. They also cited problems from garbage trucks that damaged the restaurant’s asphalt.
But Jay Dees, an attorney representing the Hotel Group of Salisbury, said the curb and landscaping that closes the connection was put in without the Hotel Group’s approval and over its objections.
Hotel Group actually owns the land on which the McDonald’s stands, Dees said.
He added that closing the driveway would not have been approved in the original site plan. He said the N.C. Department of Transportation’s and the city fire marshal’s opinions on the matter also stood out.
The DOT had earlier advised the developer to pursue access across other properties, and a DOT representative told the city it was his opinion the connection should stay open รณ otherwise, it would cause traffic concerns.
The city fire marshal said having connectivity provides better options for firefighters.
Dees said this particular connection “almost makes too much sense.”
Council members unanimously agreed. The Planning Board a week earlier also had voted 10-0 against keeping the driveway closed.
Councilman Bill Burgin said connectivity has it merits, especially this one, and the driveway needs to be reopened.
Zoning Administrator David Phillips said McDonald’s will be given a set number of days to reopen the connection.