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Planning workshop considers proposed bar on South Main

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board conducted a workshop on Tuesday for a special use permit application to allow a bar and billiards business at 612 S. Main St.

At the meeting on April 12, Preston Mitchell, Planning Services and Development manager, announced that the board would no longer be holding quasi-judicial hearings for special use permits.

The board will now hold workshops for applicants and share advice on how to present a strong case before the Salisbury City Council.

The change only applied to special use permit requests.

The board held its first special use permit workshop during the April 12 meeting with an applicant who wanted to start serving alcohol at Barbers & Billiards at 115 Mooresville Road.

The business being proposed at 612 S. Main St. was on the agenda for the April 12 meeting, but there was no one present to speak on behalf of the request so it was postponed for Tuesday’s meeting.

Janet NekooasL, the applicant, is planning to start a bar and put in three billiard tables at the property. Her husband owns the property and the house beside of it.

The bar will host pool leagues and has a capacity of 110 guests. A restaurant will eventually be included in the bar.

NekooasL plans to have the bar open from Tuesday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Board member Shaun Brixey said he remembers the property previously housing three other businesses, including a bar, in the eight years he has lived in Salisbury.

He said the council and others who know of the history of the property might be concerned with the reasons behind why the other businesses were shut down.

“It seemed like there was a lot of violence,” he said.

NekooasL said she was not involved in the previous businesses.

“What I do know is, it won’t be like that in the future,” she said.

One of the requirements for approval of a special use permit is that the public health, safety and welfare is assured on the property. Brixey said while the other requirements are generally easier to get through, the safety aspect is something applicants have to work harder to prove.

“With an address that’s got a history, you’re going to have to really narrow down why it’s safe,” he said.

Phillip Denton, who will be the manager of the bar, said they have installed 12 cameras inside and outside of the bar.

“Everything is going to be recorded from every point of view,” he said.

Board member Josh Canup said people bring in police reports to show the council what has happened at the property. He said telling the council about the cameras, which were not at the property for previous businesses, would help the case.

“That’s going to be a very important thing to stick to,” he said.

Mitchell later suggested that NekooasL ask for incident reports from the Salisbury Police Department to prepare for any neighbors who might use the reports as evidence that the special use permit should not be approved.

Many of the board members advised that NekooasL be more specific during her presentation to the council.

Board member Patricia Ricks said that she needed to be specific about the lighting, which was explained as “adequate” on the application.

“What’s adequate for you might not be adequate to me,” she said.

Board member John Schaffer asked whether the security cameras would be recording at all times and how long the recordings will be maintained.

NekooasL said the cameras would be recording 24/7.

“I would mention that when you get to what’s the plan for the cameras,” Schaffer said.

He also mentioned that the special use permit application for the bar at 115 Mooresville Road presented at the last meeting was less than a mile away from this bar, both of which feature billiards. He told NekooasL that she should have an answer if the council asks about the economic feasibility of two similar establishments opening so close to one another.

Board member Randy Reamer suggested that NekooasL be more specific when it comes to explaining what is at the site, since there is also a body shop near by.

Mitchell scheduled a meeting with NekooasL to develop a site plan to present the council with a clear plan of what she wanted to do with the property.

At the end of the workshop, Mitchell reiterated that NekooasL had to be prepared for anything that might come up at the City Council meeting.

“It’s just important to know that you’ve got to be on your toes at City Council,” he said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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