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City Council set to decide on urban farm

Salisbury City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding Livingstone College’s request for a special use permit to establish an urban farm in the city.

After the hearing, council will vote on whether to issue the permit. Livingstone has plans to start a farm on property the college owns along Locke Street between Brenner Avenue and Grace Street. The city’s planning board voted to recommend approval of the permit last week.

Council meets at 4 p.m. at City Hall at 217 S. Main Street.

The permit covers 32 acres of land, but the farm is planned to be just 400 feet by 400 feet — less than 4 acres.

The farm will have rabbits, chickens and goats, Joe Fowler, a local resident who is consulting the college on the farm, told the planning board last week. The animals will be fenced in, he said, adding the farm should end up providing produce for the college’s culinary school.

The farm, which will serve as an educational resource, is also set to have vineyards, grow vegetables and have “high tunnels,” which Fowler said are similar to greenhouses.

Also during the meeting, council will consider approving incentive grants for the rehabilitation of the Bernhardt Building in the 100 block of North Main Street.

The grants total $148,155 and would go toward renovation of the building, water and sewer infrastructure and fire-suppression utilities.

Calm Holdings LLC is currently renovating the 18,000-square-foot building. When completed, there will be six apartment units in the upper level, according to an economic impact analysis on the project. The first floor of the building will have 10,600 square feet for commercial use.

Sweet Meadow Cafe, currently on West Innes Street, will be moving to the Bernhardt Building.

In other business, council will:

• Adopt a budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget in the amount of $31,893.93 to appropriate insurance proceeds for repairs to a building that was struck by a car in January.

• Adopt a budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year budget in the amount of $48,120 to appropriate water tap fees.

• Receive a presentation on the East Innes and Long Complete Streets Draft Plan and consider setting a public hearing for Dec. 16.

• Consider adopting a concurring ordinance with the North Carolina Department of Transportation reducing the speed limit to 25 mph on the portion of West Innes Street adjacent to Catawba College.

• Receive a presentation from staff regarding Parks and Recreation Department staffing, facility improvements and new events and programs.

• Consider awarding a contract in the amount of $183,820 to HVAC Technologies Inc. for air conditioning at Hall Gym.

• Consider awarding a contract in the amount of $350,000 to Cardno Environmental Services for technical activities and reporting as part of a three-year Environmental Protection Agency Community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant.

• Consider adopting a resolution of support for the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin Association High Rock Lake Nutrient Strategy Development Project.

Contact reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.

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