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Housing Advocacy Commission looks forward to senior housing study, awareness

SALISBURY — The city’s Housing Advocacy Commission met Thursday to discuss ways to increase understanding of its work and look ahead to concentrating on residents’ concerns about fair housing, particularly for seniors, and large amounts of litter on Salisbury streets.

At a previous commission meeting, Bradley Moore, executive director of the Salisbury Housing Authority, spoke about the lack of affordable housing projects, including those targeted for seniors.

“They have no plans in the near future to build senior or any kind of housing,” said Barbara Perry, the commission’s chairwoman.

Member Victor Wallace, president of Wallace Realty, said the city’s land development ordinance discourages developers from building apartment complexes or condos. He said he was working with Preston Mitchell, the city’s former development and code services manager, to update the housing ordinance before Mitchell left. 

Interim Planning Director Brian Hiatt said the planning staff and Planning Board have started to look at the land development ordinance to make it more developer-friendly.

Perry said at the commission’s next meeting, it will hear from Sara Potts, executive director of the Rowan County Housing Authority, about Section 8 housing, which will help the board have a better understanding of affordable housing in the community.

Perry spoke about the first meeting of the Fair Housing Committee. Representatives of the commission and the Human Relations Council and a member of the Community Development Corp. are working toward solutions to fair housing in Salisbury. Perry said it was obvious the work the commission has done is not known.

“Apparently, very few people know what Housing Advocacy is doing because nothing we have done in the past was acknowledged and we were told there were some things to be done that we’ve already done,” Perry said.

Hiatt also gave an update about the Fair Housing Committee and said it has requested an extension from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to complete the city’s fair housing analysis of impediment.

Council Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield and Hiatt recommended that they highlight the commission’s accomplishments at the next City Council meeting.

On the trash issue, Perry said she has received a good number of calls in the past month about trash in multiple neighborhoods around the city. Sheffield agreed there is a litter problem nationwide but said she thinks it’s the city’s responsibility to find a solution.

“It’s not just here, but we can only control here,” Sheffield said. “I care about the world, but I care about us not being complacent.”

In the code enforcement report for February, there were 94 new cases of nuisances involving trash.

“Our code enforcement officer is working on 94 new cases. I’d really rather our code enforcement to be working with housing conditions and unsafe things for people instead of trash,” Sheffield said.

Perry said she would reach out to the Community Appearance Commission to partner for a trash pickup and also think about long-term solutions, such as educating youth about littering.



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