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Marion City Council approves zoning for new apartments on U.S. 70 West
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Marion City Council approves zoning for new apartments on U.S. 70 West

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Marion City Council approves zoning for new apartments on U.S. 70 West

Anna Branam with McDowell Arts Council gives a report to the Marion City Council at the regular Tuesday meeting. As they done over the past few months, council members sat a safe distance away from each other and everyone at the meeting wore face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the regular meeting on Tuesday, the Marion City Council approved the zoning for the former Gibbs Motel property on U.S. 70 West, which will be turned into a place for new apartments.

Last month, the Marion City Council annexed the former Gibbs Motel property on U.S. 70 West in the Pleasant Gardens community. The old motel was recently demolished and the 2.25-acre property will soon become the site for an apartment complex with around 30 to 36 units, according to Planning Director Heather Cotton.

C&W Investments LLC is the company behind the new housing complex.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council held a public hearing about the zoning for this property, It is currently vacant and surrounded by the R-3 Mixed Use Residential Zoning District. It is also at the intersection of U.S. 70 West and N.C. 80 North.

After hearing no comments from the public, council voted to assign the R-3 Mixed Use Residential Zoning to the old Gibbs Motel site.

In addition, city of Marion officials held another public hearing about the zoning for a property on N.C. 226 South.

This property totals .9 of an acre and it is located next to the Waffle House on N.C. 226 South. The property is owned by Malloy Leasing LLC. The current site is vacant and is surrounded by the C-2 General Business District. Cotton said this property is planned for a commercial development but it is on indefinite hold for now.

After hearing no comments from the public, council voted to assign the C-2 General Business zoning to the site.

In other business, the Marion City Council:

» Heard a request from Beau Norman about a drainage issue on Euclid Avenue. After hearing from Norman, City Council authorized staff to clarify a previous approval regarding that drainage on the street. As has been done in the past, the city will provide labor and the property owner will provide materials. The authorization by City Council allows staff to work with the adjacent property owner on the materials needed for the project.

» Heard a report from Susan Pyatt-Baker and Anna Branam about how McDowell Arts Council continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The arts council traditionally relies on programming, grants, funding from the city of Marion and McDowell County. But with the loss of programs, this has made operations more difficult. The Micropolitan Film Festival will be held on Aug. 15 but it will be presented online. The gift shop should reopen but it is more of a service for the artists and didn’t generate as much revenue for the arts council. Branam said she keeps in touch with the Children’s Theater during this difficult time.

» Heard a report from Finance Director Julie Scherer about the 2019-2020 property tax settlement, which comes to a total of $2,624,170 in total property taxes. The collection rate was 98.85%. Council also approved the order of collection for the 2020 property taxes.

» Heard a report from City Clerk/Public Information Officer Landdis Hollifield about the work she’s done to promote Marion on social media and the news media. She’s also made improvements to the city’s television channel.

» Talked about the negotiation of the leases regarding television towers on city property on Mount Ida. These towers are used by WLOS and UNC-TV. Council agreed to start the new leases at $500 a month and negotiate a final price with both TV stations.

» Voted to donate the old playground equipment from the Community Building Park to the Marion East Community Forum, which plans to build a playground along Baldwin Avenue.

» Approved the naming of two new roads near the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center. These new roads will be named Solutions Drive and Innovations Drive.

» Agreed to ask the N.C. Department of Transportation for the prohibition of large trucks on Finley Road, a state-maintained road in Marion. Large trucks, including tractor trailers, occasionally attempt to go up the steep hill on Finley Road toward Reservoir Road and Tate Street and get stuck. Under the proposal, truck traffic could still access Machine Shop Road and Marion Machine, as well as Maple Leaf Drive.

» Approved a recommendation from the Street Committee to add street lights in various locations in Marion, including on Morgan Terrace, Highland Drive, Turner Street, Robert Street, North McDowell Avenue and South McDowell Avenue.

» Agreed to postpone the City Council meetings with the West Marion Community Forum and the Marion East Community Forum due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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