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Planning Board OKs downzoning for start-up village

By Liz Moomey
liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board on Tuesday gave its approval to a rezoning that allows for a “modular unit village” on the corner of N. Long and E. 11th streets.

Grace Village is a proposed development to be used to provide home to start-up businesses. The site, which is three parcels, is zoned as heavy industrial. The owner, France McCray, on Tuesday requested the parcels be combined and rezoned to corridor mixed use. Known as a downzoning, the change would allow for retail uses.

McCray has currently leased one of the modular units to an insurance office and a beauty salon.

Developer and City Councilwoman Karen Alexander, of KKA Architecture, spoke about plans for Grace Village. Alexander is working on the project.

“We first needed to know how Planning Board and council would feel about a development such as this being zoned in this way, because it is a downzoning to other property that’s near,” Alexander said. “However, there is residential there that could use these kind of services and obviously she’s been successful with the one that has been there.”

Alexander explained to the board that McCray is a former teacher and has acquired several modular units that are no longer used by the school system. Her goal is to provide opportunities for smaller business people who are starting up.

Planning Board Chair Bill Wagoner commended the idea of creating a start-up village ahead of the unanimous vote.

“I think we can all, on the positive side, we can all applaud the intent,” Wagoner said. “Under our vision 2020, this certainly is kind of like one of those ‘Wow this is great idea.’”

The proposal will now go before City Council for approval.

Also on Tuesday, The Planning Board considered a text amendment that addressed where internet/electronic gaming businesses should be allowed and other use standards.

Barringer recommended to the board the arcades offering “monetary winnings” only be located in the highway business zoning. The board agreed.

“We’re not regulating them out of our city,” Barringer said. “There are tremendous opportunities throughout our highway business district.”

Barringer also suggested adding that gaming businesses with “monetary winnings” not be 300 feet from a school, church, residential area or another internet/electronic gaming business.

Member Dennis Lundsford said he was willing to increase it to 500 feet, adding he does not like the businesses because the large amount of cash onsite attracts crime. Board member P.J. Ricks agreed.

Other members said they agreed with keeping the gaming businesses 500 feet from churches, residences and schools, but were OK with the businesses being close to one other. That became the consensus.

The text amendment will not affect coin or ticket arcades, only cash merchandise arcades. It would also not affect existing internet/electronic gaming businesses.

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