SANFORD: Council looks to improve corridors
How aggressive should the city of Sanford be when it comes to improving its commercial properties?
That was the main question raised during a three-hour long retreat Tuesday when Sanford City Council members discussed how to improve its commercial corridors. The retreat was held before the Sanford City Council’s regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting.
New commercial construction within city limits follow guidelines that range from what colors can be used on exterior walls to front facade material requirements, according to Sanford Planning Department Assistant Director Marshall Downey. However, these requirements do not apply to existing buildings unless a building permit is required for construction or a major change occurs when a tenant changes the intended land use, he said.
Marshall presented the following policies that could be considered to make the city’s current Unified Development Ordinance more aggressive:
* Require all non-residential development to meet the same design standards as the non-residential development along the city’s commercial corridors.* Require sidewalks to be installed along adjoining streets for non-residential developments.
* Consider new design standards for large industrial sites.
* Eliminate the the requirement for a building permit for a “change of use,” meaning existing commercial property would have to meet the same requirements as a newly constructed commercial property.
* Reduce the threshold for “defining a change of use from the current broad categories to the specify land use.”
* Consider adopting a Commercial Maintenance Code, which would give the city staff the authority to address “dangerous and injurious to public health” conditions.
* Establish corridor planning to engage the public sector and private sector about how major thoroughfares should be developed.
It will be up to council to determine how stringent it wants its policy to be, said Sanford City Manager Hal Hegwer.
“We can bring you options, if that would be helpful,” he said. “We can tie these suggestions in and gage where you might want to go. And we can bounce it off the public. They might say it’s not enough or it’s too hard.”
The disadvantage to some of these policies, Marshall said, would be landlords and property owners would likely incur “significant costs to update and install site improvements when a building changes tenants” in some of the older businesses.
Sanford City Council members also heard from Downtown Sanford Inc. Executive Director David Montgomery about how to promote an arts district on Carthage Street, surrounding the Temple Theatre. Focusing on wayfinding signage, promoting the installation of public art and art exhibitions and acquiring the San-Lee Parking lot are all immediate strategies.
During the regularly scheduled meeting, Council:
* Held two rezoning public hearings. The first from N.C. Rep Mike Stone, a former Sanford City Councilman, to rezone his commercial property, located at 2643 S. Horner Blvd., from light industrial to general commercial. No one spoke in favor or against the rezoning proposal. The second rezoning request came from David Nestor, of Adcock & Associates Real Estate, for storefronts along 2629-2639 S. Horner Blvd. from light industrial to general commercial. No one spoke in favor or against the rezoning proposal.
* Approved a resolution approving the Sanford Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s travel policy, which is the same as the city’s policy.
* Awarded a $229,400 contract to Garner-based Waste & Water Systems Construction, Inc. for the Gaster’s Creek Lift Station Improvement Project.
* Consider a marketing plan for the upcoming Men’s and Women’s U.S. Golf Opens, scheduled for this summer in Pinehurst. The estimated $10,000 plan – with $5,000 from private donors and $5,000 from government funds — would possibly include a web-based media campaign, advertisement in regional print media, provide gift bags in hotels during the U.S. Opens, provide video content for hotel lobbies and hold entertainment downtown. The Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to hold a planning meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. Council moved to fund the campaign at an initial level of $2,500.
* Heard public comments from Rick Thomas, who represents the West Landing Home Owners Association, who asked for the council to deny a homeowner’s request to exempt his pet pig from city ordinances.