By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY – City attorney Graham Corriher told council members on Tuesday that staff and Downtown Salisbury Inc. are considering the potential implementation of a downtown “social district” for alcohol consumption.
A social neighborhood would allow consumers to buy alcohol from state-approved businesses and restaurants and walk around the designated neighborhood with specially marked mugs. The ability of municipalities to implement such a district comes from legislation passed by the General Assembly and enacted last month.
Kannapolis was among the first cities in North Carolina to take advantage of the new law. The city began allowing consumers to take alcoholic beverages outside of participating businesses and restaurants over the weekend after permission from city council. The Kannapolis neighborhood includes portions of West Avenue, Oak Avenue, Vance Street, Laureate Way, Cannon Baller Way, West B Street and Main Street.
Corriher said he viewed the Kannapolis plans as a model. Discussions on how it would be implemented in Salisbury are ongoing. He plans to meet with municipal and CIO staff this week.
State legislation authorizing the “social quarter” includes certain requirements for its establishment, including a map, the days and times of alcohol consumption throughout the district, signage indicating its location, and a plan for management and administration. ‘maintenance. All of these are expected to go to the state’s ABC commission, but Corriher said commission approval is not required at this time, according to the law. The commission could implement additional requirements.
In addition, special cups showing the logo of the special district, the name of the company or restaurant that supplied the alcohol, and a statement discouraging the consumption of alcohol by minors are required. Cups couldn’t exceed 16 ounces of alcohol, and customers couldn’t walk into a new participating business with alcohol still in the cup. Drinks should be discarded before leaving the neighborhood.
Businesses and restaurants would need ABC permits to sell, but the city is considering whether an additional permit fee for their participation could help cover the costs of providing the special cups and enforcement. The full tax impact is not yet known, Corriher said. Businesses that do not typically serve alcohol could determine whether they would allow customers who have consumed alcohol to enter.
Corriher said the entire municipal service district – the area officially considered to be the city center – could be designated, but the council can also create more than one. City Councilor David Post asked about Bell Tower Green Park and how many staff and police are needed. He also asked about the city’s responsibility if someone is injured.
Mayor Karen Alexander suggested starting small and determining success and safety before expanding or repealing it.
Council member Tamara Sheffield said the district could “synergize” if that’s what businesses ultimately want. She ruled out any fear that such a neighborhood would “become a Las Vegas”.
Council member Brian Miller said it is important to consider the views of downtown residents as they will be affected. He prefers the city model to be event based and not all the time, and suggested restricting it to areas like Fisher Street, Main Street 100 blocks in either direction, Innes Street 100 block and the Railwalk because these all include companies that already serve alcohol.
Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins asked about the pros and cons of implementing such a neighborhood beyond businesses and customers who can better distance themselves socially. Corriher said he has only looked at the legal parameters for now. Heggins also asked about the composition of the DSI working group studying the matter, but Corriher did not have further details on its composition during the meeting.
Corriher said his intention was to seek feedback from the board. Next steps include more discussions with a DSI working group to flesh out further details and get more feedback before returning to the board with an order.
Senator Carl Ford, a Republican, was the only lawmaker representing Rowan County to vote against the law, Bill 890.
Also at the Tuesday council meeting:
• Council members approved a request from Bill Haymore of Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina to change the zoning of a parcel at 475 Faith Road to a mixed-use corridor with a conditional district overlay to exceed setback requirements for a future Goodwill store. The 11,500 square foot Goodwill retail store would be located near the Innes Street Market mall and Aldi grocery store. Council approval will allow developers to exceed the maximum setback of 75 feet in order to meet other requirements for the store front and drive-through drop area. On August 19, the city’s technical review committee recommended approval of the request to authorize a 100-foot setback to the Faith Road right-of-way and a 110-foot front setback to the avenue right-of-way. Dunham.
• Council members have postponed the next council meeting to November 3 at 3 p.m. instead of November 2, which is election day in Rowan County.
• Council members formally revised the city’s remote meeting policy based on the passage of House Bill 812 by state legislators in June. In 2020, lawmakers passed a law allowing members of the public to submit comments to city leaders up to 24 hours after a public hearing, with action taken at the next meeting. Now, the city’s new policy states that council members must allow the submission of written comments at any time between the notice of the public hearing and 24 hours before the scheduled time for the start of the public hearing.
• Council members authorized a stormwater grant in the amount of $ 22,450 to be used for improvements to 1801 Bellevue Road. The grant would help alleviate the problems of flooding and water accumulation that damaged the foundations of Salisbury Academy, located at 2210 Jake Alexander Blvd. North.
• Council members have set a public hearing for Nov. 3 on a petition to permanently close West 16th Street Block 100, which contains an unimproved 60-foot right-of-way.
• Council members approved several right-of-way permit applications, including two adjacent parking spaces at 115 East Innes Street, four adjacent parking spaces to the Amtrak station at 215 Depot Street and Block 100 of West Council Street.
• Council members amended Chapter 13, Article X of the city ordinances code relating to parking restrictions. The amendment removes the two hour limit in the parking area on the north side of East Council Street near Depot Street.
• Council members authorized the sale of parcel 005-14001, located in Block 300 Grim Street, to TruLand Development, LLC for $ 1,000. City council authorized a reverse tendering process at the September 7 meeting and received no additional bids.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.