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Local historical landmarks applications may be paused to alter city ordinance

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — After concerns about the local landmark ordinance from the city council, members will consider a moratorium to pause approvals.

The council will also hold a public hearing on the matter at its 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

The city has four local historic landmarks: Grubb-Sigmon-Weisiger House, at 213 S. McCoy Road; Temple House, at 1604 Statesville Blvd.; Empire Hotel, at 212-228 S. Main St.; and Salisbury Southern Railroad Passenger Depot, at 214 Depot St.

If adopted, the proposed moratorium would remain in effect for six months.

The home of Jon Planovsky and Bob Lambrecht, at 124 Ellis St., has started the landmark designation application, with the Historic Preservation Commission approving the pre-application process at its Feb. 13 meeting. The next step is the State Historic Preservation Office, which will give its feedback on the application.

For the Grubb-Sigmon-Weisiger house, Karen Lilly-Bowyer began the application process in April 2018. After much back-and-forth with the state, the State Historic Preservation Office returned comments in January. At the Feb. 18 and March 3 city council meetings, several council members spoke about needing a policy that spells out what makes a property significant enough for designation.

Mayor Karen Alexander said at the March 3 meeting the policy for landmark designation is “woefully inadequate.”

Staff liaison Catherine Garner made the Historic Preservation Commission aware of the proposed moratorium at its meeting Thursday and recommended members attend the city council meeting.

Garner said she is working with the state to schedule a training session on local historic landmarks for the commission.

Designated local historic landmarks receive a 50% tax credit.

Other agenda items:

• The council will consider a rezoning six parcels on South Ellis and South Fulton streets.

Silverio Confesor requested a rezoning from general residential to urban residential to bring the 506 W. Marsh St. property in compliance.

City planning staff looked at his parcel and surrounding parcels at 524 and 526 S. Ellis St., which are duplexes, and decided the properties should also be rezoned because of density.

Staff recommended that the entire block be rezoned to urban residential — including 512 S. Ellis St., 516 S. Ellis St. and 520 S. Ellis St. Staff recommended rezoning 508 S. Fulton St. and 528 S. Fulton St. from general residential to historic residential.

Planning Board unanimously recommended the rezoning at its Feb. 25 meeting.

• The city council will receive a presentation led by Downtown Salisbury Inc. Director Larissa Harper and board Vice Chair Diane Young on the economic impact of the downtown residential apartment rental market.

There are 88 one-bedroom units, 25 two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom units in downtown Salisbury.

The average rental rate in Downtown Salisbury is $1.21 per square foot per month.  

More than 75,000 square feet of existing, vacant, upper-floor space in the Salisbury Municipal Service District has the potential to be redeveloped into rental residential.

• The council will consider a budget ordinance for $150,000 to complete City Park Lake renovations. The project is ahead of schedule and the amendment will allow the city to finish the project in the current fiscal year.

• Due to COVID-19, Alexander recommended residents to watch the council meetings live online at salisburync.gov/Webcast or on Access16 available on Hotwire channel 394 or Spectrum channel 16. She also said citizens can reach out to her or other council members with direct questions by visiting salisburync.gov/council for their contact information.


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