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East Spencer approves overdue zoning error for Shady Grove Baptist Church

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — To right a zoning error that’s been in place for years, the town of East Spencer approved a change Monday night to rezone Shady Grove Baptist Church from industrial to office/institutional.

A church representative spoke during a Monday public hearing about the matter.

Town planner Joe Morris told the board he found a 1967 zoning map that showed some of the boundaries of the church. In that period, he said, the area around and including the church received a general zoning status. But sometime between 2014 and 2016, it was determined that churches could exist within any zoning status. Morris said the determination was made in part by then Town Administrator F.E. Isenhour.

“But what they didn’t anticipate was that we would be making a change to the signage ordinance,” Morris said.

The board also addressed and later approved text changes to an amendment that would allow electronic signs in the office/institutional zoning district.

Linda McCullough, who is with Shady Grove Baptist Church, said at some point the church would like to purchase an electronic message board. Once the church, located at 600 S. Long St., received its new designation, it can then erect an electronic sign.

In other business:

• During public comments, resident Travis Carter, who also serves on the planning board, said he felt that the town should make Boundary Street a priority for repaving. The town has a list of roads that need to be paved, but Carter said there have been roads that were at the top of the list that were never paved.

Carter, who has a degree in civil engineering, noted that Boundary Street has a lot of bus traffic and made suggestions for efficient paving.

Town Administrator James Bennett said his best guess was that Boundary Stree paving could start in March. Bennett added that the project was delayed, in part, because of funding, the weather and issues with the postal service.

• The board heard from Brandon Emory, owner of Alliance Code Enforcement LLC. The board entered into a six-month contract with Emory’s company at its January meeting. Emory and his team will be available to the town Mondays and Wednesdays to provide code enforcement for the town.

Emory has been on the job for three weeks and already has 13 open cases, of which 12 are located along North Long Street.

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