Meeting to discuss Livingstone’s urban farm plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SALISBURY — A committee of the Salisbury Planning Board will meet at 4 p.m. today to discuss Livingstone College’s request to farm land in the city.
Committee One, made up of Thomasina Paige, Bill Burgin, Josh Canup and David Post, will meet in the One Stop Shop at 132 N. Main St. in the first floor conference room. The college has asked the Planning Board to recommend amending the city’s Land Development Ordinance to allow agriculture in areas zoned institutional campus. The college wants to resurrect an urban farm on Locke Street near Brenner Avenue and Milford Hills Road that was active in the 1950s and 1960s.
Livingstone has clear-cut about 30 acres of forest to fund the project and prepare the 5-acre farm site. City Council would have to approve the text amendment for the project to move forward.
Changing the ordinance would allow agriculture in all areas zoned institutional campus across the city.
The college asked the Planning Board May 16 to add the use of agriculture to institutional campus zoning. Salisbury Planning Board sent the request to a committee with no recommendation from city staff.
Preston Mitchell, the city’s Planning and Development Services manager, said he had encouraged Livingstone to request a rezoning instead of a text amendment. Rezoning just the parcel to open space preservation would still allow farming and move more quickly through the city’s approval process, Mitchell said.
But Livingstone’s consultant, Joe Fowler, said the college wants the property to remain as currently zoned to accommodate future buildings and educational uses the college plans for the parcel.
Because the request is unusual and has far-reaching implications, Mitchell said a committee should work through the text amendment request with Livingstone.
The committee meeting is open to the public.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.