Salisbury OKs Plans For New Habitat Project

SALISBURY – The City Council covered a list of agenda items during last week’s meeting, including reviewing a Habitat for Humanity project on Church Street, the establishment of a Community Development Project fund, a code change to have new development along the river added to the Riverwalk as part of construction and an increase in fines for various building codes.

Wicomico Habitat Eyes Build On Church Street

A resolution came before the City Council to approve a project to construct or rehabilitate a minimum of four homes in the greater church street neighborhood to be sold to low or very low income families over the next two years.

According to the resolution, the non-profit organization of Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County, Inc., has proposed to undertake the project, and has applied to the Department of Housing and Community Development of the State of Maryland for approval of the project and an allocation of tax credits for business entities and individuals that contribute to the Project, under the Department’s Community Investment Tax Credit Program.

The council voted 3-0 to approve the resolution with Council President Jake Day and Councilman Jack Heath absent.

Community Development Project Fund Established

An ordinance establishing a Community Development Project Fund came before the City Council in its second and final reading.

The ordinance states, “The City of Salisbury is interested in the revitalization of abandoned or troubled properties, and the City has identified that there are properties which have the potential to become a blighting influence on the neighborhood they are in. The City believes that the revitalization of the areas they are in can be facilitated if the city is able to gain control of troubled properties. The City believes that the properties have the potential to be redeveloped for low to moderate income housing and community purposes.”

The establishment of the Community Development Project Fund would account for revenues and expenditures incurred related to purchase and redevelopment of troubled properties, and be a Capital Projects fund for financial reporting purposes.

The ordinance would allocate $200,000 from the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget to the Community Development Project Fund.

The council voted 3-0 to approve the establishment of the Community Development Project fund.

New Development Rules On Riverwalk

An ordinance in first reading amends the City Code titled “Streets, Sidewalks, and Public Places” by adding new sections to establish criteria for river access and standards for constructing to Riverwalk.

According to the ordinance, the city maintains a Riverwalk along the Wicomico River and the South Prong of the Wicomico River from west of the Marina to Route 13 on both sides of the waterway. The Riverwalk allows for public access to the river in the City of Salisbury and is not continuous along the Wicomico River and the South Prong.

In order to provide the public with access to the river, properties developed along the river in the area designated in the Riverfront Redevelopment District, the Central Business District or the General Commercial Zoning District should be required to construct the Riverwalk to the City Standards in conjunction with constructing other improvements on the property.

The ordinance furthers, “the design, permitting and construction, plus all associated costs of developing the Riverwalk will be the responsibility of the property owner, and an easement for the Riverwalk should be provided to the City of Salisbury by the property owner. The City will be responsible for future maintenance and improvements to the Riverwalk once constructed and deeded to the City.”

The council voted 3-0 to approve the ordinance in first reading.

Building Code Fines Increased Significantly

An ordinance in first reading increasing the amount of fines in regards to building codes came before the City Council in first reading.

The current fine amount is $250 for the initial offense and $500 for each repeat offense. Each day the violation continues it will constitute a separate offense.

The newly proposed legislation increased the fine amounts from $250 to $500 for the initial offense, and from $500 to $1,000 for each repeat offense. The increase is consistent with the Annotated Code of Maryland’s fine structure.

In addition, the City of Salisbury’s Charter allows for fines to be written in the amount up to $1,000, and the change will create consistency between the code and charter.

The codes being referred to are the International Building Code (2015) (IBC); International Residential Code (2015) (IRC); International Energy Conservation Code (2015) (IECC); International Mechanical Code (2015) (IMC); International Plumbing Code (2015) (IPC); International Fuel Gas Code (2015) (IFGC); and International Existing Building Code (2015) (IEBC).

The council voted 3-0 to approve the ordinance in first reading.