A proposed budget amendment to enlarge the scope of a downtown parking project is among actions to be considered by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners during a meeting today.
The proposal relates to plans that first surfaced last year to provide additional parking in an area on Virginia Street behind Leon’s Burger Express, which officials say is needed. Fifty spaces would be created if the budget action is approved during the 2 p.m. meeting in the Municipal Building.
In May of 2011, the city commissioners approved the spending of public funds for the acquisition of the Shelton Plumbing site by Downtown Mount Airy Inc. (DMI). DMI is an arm of city government that oversees infrastructure improvements in Mount Airy’s central business district using funds from an additional tax levied on property owners there.
At the time, the purchase price for the property targeted for the lot was not disclosed, but a source who spoke on condition of anonymity mentioned an $85,000 figure. The expense of razing a building on the site, which recently occurred, plus clean-up and seeding portions of it, was to require another $20,000.
Today’s action stems from a desire to expand the scope of the new parking lot from what was first planned. Before the Shelton Plumbing property was bought, an analysis by municipal staff members showed that the acquisition of an additional parcel of land would significantly increase that lot.
This involves a 30-foot strip owned by Marianne Pruitt on the west side of the Shelton property. Having it means 50 spaces could be realized rather than an initial 32, officials say.
An agreement was reached with its ownership to acquire the extra parcel at the present assessed tax value per square-foot, which amounts to $16,500.
DMI is seeking a total budget amendment of $36,500 today, to cover both the costs of the land acquisition and the economic and physical development of the site.
Another issue that city officials have discussed multiple times, including during a commissioners meeting last month, will be revisited again this afternoon.
A PowerPoint presentation on minimum housing rules by Richard Smith, an official in the municipal planning department, is expected as part of today’s addressing of the topic.
In August, concerns were expressed by various commissioners about the need for dilapidated properties in Mount Airy to be improved. There was support for addressing only cases in which safety and health are at risk rather than problems that are simply aesthetic in nature.
However, discussion indicated officials might face difficulty separating the two, given a public expectation that rules now on the books should be enforced fairly and consistently without a perception of the city picking and choosing which violations to pursue.
Officials agreed in August that more study was needed so that the city administration could supply a clear direction to planning department personnel as to its priorities in minimum-housing codes matters. It was noted then than revisions in existing regulations were possible.
Also today, the Mount Airy commissioners are expected to:
• OK the appointments of members to two city advisory groups, the Appearance Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.
• Give special recognition to Bray’s Recapping Services Inc. as part of an ongoing program to highlight longtime local businesses.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.