Wedding venue back before City Council

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 6, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council may finally make a decision on whether the former Sacred Heart campus can be turned into a wedding venue.

The council will meet on Tuesday at 217 S. Main St. at 5 p.m.

Petitioners Lori and Michael Dienfenbach have requested to rezone 1.5 acres of land from an urban residential district to a residential mixed-use district with a conditional district overlay in order to convert Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s property at 128 N. Fulton St. into a wedding venue called The Abbey.

If the petition is approved, Lori Dienfenbach has said that she would work with the Refuge, the church that rents the property now, to move the church off the property.

Dienfenbach said the wedding venue has the potential to bring visitors from out of town and bring more revenue into the town, but nearby neighbors have said they are worried about the noise, drinking and smoking that may occur at the weddings.

One of the proposed changes is to turn one of the buildings on the property into a support services building, which the Dienfenbach’s plan to rent out to retail businesses related to wedding functions, like a bakery or bridal boutique.

Neighbors have said they are concerned about what retail businesses may move in to those spaces if the venue fails and how that may impact the integrity of the neighborhood.

At the city council meeting on May 3, the council decided to have a small committee meet with the petitioners and community members.

After two committee meetings, attended by councilmen David Post and Brian Miller, the petitioners have decided to remove the rooftop terrace from the wedding venue plans, according to meeting documents. The Dienfenbachs still have the right to request the terrace in the future.

They also set aside a space in the support services building for The Refuge to use for its youth services temporarily. Retail space was reduced from 3,500 square feet to 1,800 square feet or less.

The hours for the support services building are proposed to be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Another thing added do the plans during the meeting was that outdoor music will be kept down to the sound level of normal conversation at the property line.

After the report from Miller and Post, the council will hold a second public hearing, issue a Statement of Consistency and a Statement of Reasonableness and decide on adopting an ordinance to allow the venue.

In other business, the council will:

  • Consider approving the consent agenda, which includes:
    • Adopting a $10,900 budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget to use Asset Forfeiture funds for the Salisbury Police Department. The funds will be used to replenish funds used to help bring Game Plan for Life assembly programs to 12 local schools.
    • Adopting a $2,000 budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget to use grant funds for Hurley Park. Half of the money will go towards plant purchases for the park and the other half will pay for the Hurley Park Spring Celebration advertisement in the Salisbury Post.
    • Adopting a $20,343 budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget to use 2015 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds. The grant can only be used by the Salisbury Police Department. The department plans to use the money to buy a MorphoTrak LiveScan Station and two ballistic shields.
    • Adopting a resolution to allow the city manager to complete a grant application from the state for Asset Inventory and Assessment grants for water and sewer.
  • Consider amending a conditional district overlay that will allow DaVita Medical Center to build two additions to its facility, totaling 2,619 square feet.
  • Hear public comment about the proposed fiscal year 2016-2017 city budget.
  • Hold a public hearing about a possible contract with Downtown Salisbury, Inc. to provide services for the Municipal Service District for fiscal year 2016-2017.
  • Receive a presentation about the donations received for the Dog Paws Park.
  • Consider approving a right-of-way use permit at 113 East Fisher Street.
  • Make appointments to boards and commissions.
  • Hear public comment.

The mayor will proclaim June 18-20 National Sports Media Association Days.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.