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Historic Preservation Commission gives OK for future yoga studio facade changes

SALISBURY — The Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday gave the go-ahead for exterior changes for a future yoga studio and retail space at the rear of 123 N. Main St.

The building, at 120-A E. Innes St., is in the public alley of a parking lot off East Innes Street.

According to the real estate agent who spoke on behalf of applicant Elizabeth Trick, who is also a commission member but recused herself from the decision, the building has been through changes over the years. Some of the features are not original. During a public hearing, Salisbury resident Clyde agreed the building has seen a lot of uses.

Commission member Acey Worthy called the building utilitarian.

“I don’t think it’s going to deter from the historical values of the buildings,” Worthy said. “Clyde had mentioned there were several owners and several businesses and operations going into that building through its history. The historical value is muted with the basic construction of the building.”

Commission member William James said because of the history of the building, there would be no impact to neighboring properties from the proposed changes.

“Frankly, I think it would add to the character and appearance of the building,” James said.

One part of the application was for installing metal stairs in the rear for an entrance. The back entrance would be in an alley that is privately owned but used publicly to allow drivers to park for business access.

Acting commission Chairman Steve Cobb said according to guidelines, stairs should be at the back of the building.

The application listed Syad Ahmad as the owner of the top floor of 120 E. Innes St. Next door is Gary Baker’s building at 121 E. Innes St. Together, they own the alleyway.

Trick explained that through an easement, the owner of the future yoga studio, Wivinnay DeHass, would own the back alleyway.

Catherine Clifton, the city staff liaison to the commission, said ownership of the alley should not be considered by the Historic Preservation Commission since it is a civil matter between the owners. She said erecting a front canopy would have to get City Council approval since it would encroach on the front alleyway, which is public property.

Clifton also said the city had notified property owners in a 500-foot radius of the two buildings, including Ahmad and Baker, but none contacted the city or asked to speak at the hearing.

The staircase would go to the first floor and match neighboring buildings.

James said he could argue about the appropriateness of the stairs in the district.

“I would say I could make a finding that it’s appropriate given the existence of the stairs that are already there, but I must say they do nothing to contribute positively to the comparative,” Williams said. “I understand you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but good heavens.”

Cobb asked if the stairs should be more attractive

“Given that this set of stairs and landing is already there, I would say, go ahead, but if this set of stairs wasn’t there already, I would have a problem with it,” James said.

Trick also advocated for lighting at the front of the new business. She said the building is dark and the parking lot has only two lights. One set of lights would go under a canopy, and one would light the canopy and sign.

Worthy said he sees the lights as adding safety.

The request was unanimously approved.

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