City rezones Wallace Properties parcel on South Main Street

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

SALISBURY — On a split vote, City Council agreed Tuesday to rezone a parcel on South Main Street at the request of Wallace Properties.
Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell dissented.
The council approved rezoning the former Salvation Army Thrift Store at 520 S. Main St. from downtown mixed use to corridor mixed use, which allows larger signs, some front yard parking and outdoor displays. Salisbury Power Equipment has rented the building and is open for business.
Because it sits 150 feet from the street and has a large parking lot in the front, the building does not conform with either zoning. But any new development on the site would have to conform to corridor mixed use standards, which allow buildings 75 feet from the street.
Blackwell said while she supports Salisbury Power Equipment and believes the current use of the property benefits the city, rezoning the parcel opens up the possibility of any use allowed in corridor mixed use, including fast food restaurants with drive-throughs.
The building backs up to a historic residential neighborhood.
“The usages are too intense for neighbors behind the property,” she said.
Blackwell suggested authorizing city staff to renew Salisbury Power Equipment’s grand opening permit repeatedly while studying the South Main Street corridor to determine the best zoning.
Her motion died for lack of a second.
Councilman Brian Miller said he agreed with Blackwell’s intention and also pushed the city to quickly start a small area plan. But Miller said he did not want to burden Salisbury Power Equipment with having to renew a permit every 15 days indefinitely.
While South Main Street may not fit the downtown character, “it certainly isn’t Jake Alexander Boulevard either,” Miller said. He suggested finding a transitional zoning category that could ease the change from downtown to corridor.
Preston Mitchell, the city’s Planning and Development Services manager, said the small area study would start with a design charrette and should move swiftly because both the City Council and Planning Board want the study completed. Downtown Salisbury Inc. also has the study as a goal.
Mitchell said the city cannot place any conditions on the Wallace rezoning, such as requiring a landscape buffer between the property and neighbors.
Council members did not place a moratorium on additional South Main Street rezoning requests, as previously discussed.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.