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New commission wants to update city’s minimum housing standards

SALISBURY — City Council will hear recommendations this week from Salisbury’s new Housing Advocacy Commission about amendments to the city code governing minimum housing standards.
Council members will consider setting a public hearing for Feb. 18 to take comments on 16 pages of proposed code amendments.
The minimum housing section of the city code was last updated in 1977. The recommended amendments would help the city maintain housing conditions that protect the public health, safety and welfare, according to Chris Branham, the city’s Code Services Division manager.
The Housing Advocacy Commission’s committee on code enforcement presented the suggested changes to the full commission. Members unanimously agreed to recommend that City Council adopt the amendments.
The City Council meeting is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 217 S. Main St. Also on the agenda:
• City Council is scheduled to go into closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss buying the property where Grimes Mill once stood on North Church Street.
The city has the right of first negotiation on the property. Historic Salisbury Foundation is offering roughly two acres of land at the corner of West Franklin and North Church streets to the city for $247,000.
The foundation is selling the four parcels as one unit, including the roughly one-acre site of the former mill and three smaller lots across Church Street where houses once stood. All the property is now vacant.
• The consent agenda includes appropriating a $74,450 insurance payment for damage caused by a fire at the Grant Creek wastewater treatment plant.
On June 7, a blower at Grant Creek caught fire. A bearing failure caused the equipment to overheat and resulted in the fire that was contained to this unit.
The blower was replaced using funds from the Grant Creek maintenance budget, and this budget amendment will replace those funds and ensure that necessary maintenance can be carried out for the remainder of the fiscal year, according to Jim Behmer, director of Salisbury Rowan Utilities.
• The consent agenda also includes a $33,800 contract with Martin Starnes & Associates for the city’s fiscal year 2014 annual audit. That amount represents an increase of $1,000, or three percent.
• City Council will consider an application from Robert Moore for a permit to operate a pool hall located at 2141 Statesville Boulevard at the Carriage Room and set a public hearing for Feb. 18.
Moore owns the Carriage Room and wants to operate a second pool table.
• City Council will hear highlights from the past year and goals for 2014-2015 from the Alternate Methods of Design Commission, Housing Advocacy Commission, Planning Board, Transportation Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment.
• City Council will hold a public hearing and consider recommending the Napoleon B. McCanless House at 619 S. Main St. for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
Livingstone College, which owns the house, has initiated the nomination. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has recommended the nomination.
The property was identified in the 2001 Architectural Survey of properties that are eligible for this designation.
The process for nominations generally begins with the property owner, in consultation with the state Historic Preservation Office. The local preservation commission and City Council are given 60 days to comment and are required to provide an opportunity for public comment.
City Council’s recommendation is then forwarded to the state and ultimately makes its way to the National Park Service for the final determination.
• City Council will consider a request from Central Piedmont Builders to use four parking spaces in the public right-of-way at 120 N. Church St. from Thursday to May 5. The company is renovating the building and will use the parking spaces for work trucks.
• City Manager Doug Paris’s comments.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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