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Granite Quarry considers moratorium on building permits in central business district

By Mark Wineka

mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen wants to institute a moratorium on building permits in Granite Quarry’s central business district until it can come up with construction guidelines fitting in with a new downtown master plan.

The board, which discussed the matter Monday night, is considering a moratorium of at least 61 days. It will have to hold a public hearing on the moratorium before it can start.

Mayor Bill Feather said the town has a downtown master plan but no process to make sure it is carried out.

Board members agreed a moratorium is necessary until the town has some construction and development guidelines “with more teeth,” as Feather said.

Alderman Jim Costantino said the town spent a lot of money developing a downtown master plan. A conceptual drawing of the plan hangs on a meeting room wall close to them.

“There’s a purpose to that plan,” Costantino said. “It was proposed for a reason.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Brinkley agreed he would hate to have “a pretty picture on the wall” with nothing to show for it.

“We’re only going to have one chance at this,” said Brinkley, who pushed for a moratorium of at least 90 days and wasn’t sure 90 days would be enough to “put together the mass of information” related to specific design guidelines.

In another matter Monday, aldermen discussed a proposed text amendment to the town’s unified development (zoning) ordinance, which includes “alcoholic beverage package retail sales” as a permitted use category only in the highway business zoning district.

The planning staff proposed eliminating the description of packaged alcoholic beverage sales altogether and, moving forward, have it allowed in general retail zoning districts.

N.C. general statutes and the Alcoholic Beverage Control board determine where alcohol can be sold, Benchmark planner Kassie Watts said, and Granite Quarry’s UDO only has to designate where retail sales of products of any kind occur.

“We have no choice as to where we sell alcohol in Granite Quarry?” Brinkley asked. “… It looks as though we lose control.”

Brinkley said he could see leaving the category as is and adding the central business district as a zone in which packaged retail sales of alcohol are permitted.

“Right now, we have several businesses that are in violation,” Feather said, but he and others noted that adding the CB district would make them compliant.

In the end, aldermen tabled a motion that would have added the CB district as a category for packaged alcoholic beverage sales. The board decided it needed more information.

“The whole issue is muddy,” Brinkley said.

In other business, aldermen:

• Adopted a new holiday schedule policy for employees that will include Veterans Day as a paid holiday.

• Approved a job description for a new zoning/events coordinator. It would be a part-time position.

• Approved placing a used police car, a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, on the GovDeals website for sale as surplus property. The car was taken out of service because of a broken rear axle. A police vehicle cage also was declared as surplus property and is on the same site.

• Endorsed projects on the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization’s regional priority list.

• Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 3 to hear comments on a street for a new State Employees’ Credit Union branch.

• Set 4 p.m. April 10 as a budget planning session.

• Proclaimed April 3-7 as Public Health Week. It will be kicked off by the third annual “Walk in the Park” at Granite Lake at 10 a.m. April 3.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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