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Council to review request for downtown development grants

By David Purtell

david.purtell@salisburypost.com

Incentive grants for renovations to a downtown bar are on the agenda for Salisbury City Council’s meeting Tuesday.

The building, known as the Mowery building, that houses Benchwarmers at 113 East Fisher Street is currently under construction. Todd Littleton owns the building and the bar. The proposed incentives total $69,026 and go toward rehabilitation of the building, $50,000, and a sprinkler system for fire suppression, $19,000.

A public hearing on the request will be held during the meeting, which starts at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

Council adopted an incentives package for downtown development last year in an attempt to lessen the blow from the loss of the state’s historic tax credits.

Benchwarmers is a sports bar now, but in April Littleton told the Post he is making the first floor into a full restaurant and sports bar. On the second floor, which will be used for event space, a 70-foot-long outdoor balcony, with a glass wall separating the inside from the outside, will be built.

An economic impact file on the renovation included in council’s agenda packet says Littleton is putting $600,000 into the building.

Littleton opened another bar, called Firehouse Brew Pit, on Lee Street in the old firehouse in the spring. His plans call for the bar to be a barbecue restaurant when renovations to the firehouse are finished.

Council will hold another public hearing regarding a new conditional district overlay for Richard’s Barb-B-Que on the 500 block of North Main Street next to the new school central office building.

Richard Monroe, who owns the restaurant, received an additional 3/4 of an acre of land adjacent to the restaurant after the Schulenburger home was torn down to make way for the central office. He wants to use the land for parking for the restaurant.

The land is currently zoned downtown mixed use, which doesn’t allow for off-street parking in the front yard. Monroe requested the land be rezoned to highway business, which allows for front-yard parking. The Planning Board took up the request in June, and the board, along with city staff, decided that highway business is not an appropriate zoning for the downtown business area.

To allow for the parking spaces, the board left the land zoned as downtown mixed use and approved a conditional district overlay that removes the front-yard parking restriction for the property. But, if the site is razed and redeveloped, the DMX front-yard parking prohibition remains.

In other business Tuesday, council will:

• Consider a request for a temporary use approval for a carnival to operate as part of the annual Krazy Klearance Sidewalk Sale July 18 from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. on West Fisher Street.

• Consider adopting a concurring ordinance with the North Carolina Department of Transportation reducing the speed limit to 45 mph on Jake Alexander Boulevard north of Woodleaf Lanes to just north of White Farm Road.

• Receive a petition from property owners and consider an ordinance reducing the speed limit to 25 mph within the Gables neighborhood. Streets affected would be Garner Drive, River Birch Drive and Cordova Court.

• Consider a request for temporary use of the public right-of-way for the closure of three parking spaces adjacent to 130 West Council Street between the hours of 6 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. beginning immediately and ending Nov. 1. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is making the request regarding ongoing construction at the church.

• Consider a request from Time Warner Cable to place fiber in the public right of way along Old Concord Road at South Arlington Street and along Lincolnton Road at Mitchell Avenue.

• Go into closed session to consult with an attorney.

Contact the Salisbury Post newsroom at 704-797-4248.

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