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Planning Board approves new Fire Station 3 construction

 

SALISBURY — After an hour of discussion Tuesday night, a majority of the Salisbury Planning Board voted to approve the plan for a new fire station on Mahaley Avenue.

The proposal for the new Fire Station 3 was first brought to the board at its June 27 meeting. Four residents — three of whom live adjacent to the property where the station would be built — spoke during the comment period about their concerns about noise, light and a potentially negative effect on the nearby green area.

The one board member who voted against the station’s location — Jon Post — was partially influenced by the concerns of those residents.

“I think we’re a little bit of a politically aware, a little bit (of a) privileged group here. And if somebody tried to put that wall in our backyard, we might have a different opinion,” Post said.

Post was referring to a 16-foot retaining wall that would border the residential neighborhood behind the proposed station. The wall was originally supposed to be 12 feet tall, but the Planning Board committee charged with making a recommendation about the station voted to raise the height in order to provide a taller light and sound barrier.

The committee, which met July 10, voted unanimously to recommend the proposed station be built, but only if a number of conditions were met.

Those conditions included making sure that the retaining wall matches the station’s exterior brick; that the station intercom speakers be turned off by 10 p.m.; and that the runoff pond could be accessed from the east, thereby preserving a line of greenery that would border the neighborhood.

Board member Randy Reamer said that, with the conditions that the committee added to the proposal, he thought the board had done everything it could to address residents’ concerns.

Board member Bill Wagoner said that although the board had not been privy to the city’s process of finding a location for the proposed station, he trusted that city officials had gone through an “exhaustive search” to find the best option.

The final vote was 7-1 in favor of the station. A ninth member of the board — Bill Burgin — was present but, because he is the architect of the proposed station, he recused himself from the vote.

The proposed station will now go before the City Council, which will meet at 5 p.m. Aug. 1 in the council chambers at 217 S. Main St.

In other action at Tuesday’s Planning Board and Board of Adjustment meeting:

  • A presentation about a sign ordinance amendment was made.

A committee met at 3 p.m., just before the Planning Board, to discuss minor changes in the city’s sign ordinance.

Some of the changes include allowing all types of temporary banners to be put up in residential areas and creating a provision for a special sign permit.

In the ordinance, a special sign is defined as “a unique sign within a unique setting.”

  • Minor changes to the city’s landmark ordinance were adopted.
  • Tuesday’s meeting marked the first Board of Adjustment meeting since the City Council voted to put Planning Board members in charge of both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The new roles for members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment — now called the Board of Adjustment — were set. Thomasina Paige, Dennis Rogers, Jon Post and Bill Wagoner will serve as the primary members and will be the first ones called when a Board of Adjustment matter is brought forward.

Cress Goodnight, Bill Burgin and Dennis Lunsford will serve as alternates, in case any of the first four cannot make the meeting or have a conflict of interest.

Randy Reamer will serve as the first extraterritorial jurisdiction representative, with Josh Canup serving as his alternate.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

 

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