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Commission denies request for 20-foot fence along Bank Street

SALISBURY — Although members were sympathetic to the request, the Historic Preservation Commission denied a petition to build a 20-foot tall wooden fence along the property line at 220 E. Bank St. at Monday’s meeting.
The petition was brought by property owner Clyde, who only uses one name.
He said the new fence’s purpose was to screen out light from the adjoining city-owned parking lot, as well as storm water runoff from there.
Clyde presented the commission with photos of standing water on his property, which he said is the result of the adjoining parking lot.
“This is why I want a fence,” Clyde said. He went on to claim that the runoff has caused mold and mildew to form under the houses, floods his patio and makes it impossible to walk across the yard.
“I have been there 30 years and it has not been this way until that parking lot was built,” Clyde said.
The 20-foot fence Clyde proposed would also help block lights from the adjoining parking lot, which he said are disturbing despite the city’s installation of shields around the light housings.
Clyde said he’s asked city staff to come out at night to see the lights, but said none have come by.
“I am proposing a 20-foot high fence, of wood, that extends from my fence now … and it would be the entire back property line” of adjoining 214 E. Bank Street, Clyde said.
Commission member Jim Carli said he sympathized with Clyde’s plight, but feared that a fence would only redirect the water, if it stopped the water at all.
Commission member Acey Worthy quoted guidelines that only allow fences of up to six feet.
The current fence is higher, Worthy said, but it’s grandfathered in.
“You can repair that, according to our guidelines, up to (the height) you have,” Worthy said, “but 20 feet, we have no area to approve that.”
Clyde’s request was denied on a 7-to-2 vote, with commission members Carl Peters and Clara Corry voting no.
Clyde said his next move will be to look into having a painted wall installed as “a work of art,” which would not fall under the Historic Preservation Commission’s purview.
Planning and Development Services Manager Preston Mitchell said he would contact fellow City of Salisbury staff and arrange a meeting with Clyde to try to address his concerns about lighting and storm water runoff.
A request by the new owners of the Fulton-Mock-Blackmer House for permission to remove a tree was unanimously approved by the commission.
The historic home at 112 S. Fulton St. was recently purchased by Beth and Glenn Dixon from the Historic Salisbury Foundation .
The Dixons plan to restore the 1820 home, which was heavily damaged in a 1984 fire.
However, a large tree on the side of the house has caused heavy damage to the foundation and the chimney, contractor Alfred Wilson said.
“The root system of the tree has wrecked the house,” he said.
Wilson said the tree is not in imminent danger of falling, and the city’s arborist found it to be in good health.
But the tree’s proximity to the historic home – 14 feet from the side of the house – and the entangled root system underneath the house mean that efforts to rebuild the foundation may kill the tree.
Brian Davis, executive director of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, testified that the root system does affect the foundation.
Commission member Carl Peters said he felt it was the commission’s duty “to protect a house that may live a thousand years” instead of a tree that may not stand nearly as long.
At the same time, members noted guidelines that require the planting of a replacement tree on the property, though not in the same place.
In other business, the Historic Preservation Commission:
• Voted unanimously to allow Wallace Properties and Jason Wallace to remove metal framed windows and replace them with wood windows, and to install a new awning, at 204 S. Main St.
However, Wallace’s request to pressure-wash and paint the brick facade was tabled, pending discussion of options.
Current historic preservation guidelines do not allow brick surfaces to be painted.
• Voted, in three separate motions, to stay demolition requests for 1600 N. Main St., 1428 N Main St. and 312 S. Long St. for 365 days to allow time for property owners to improve the condition of those homes.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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